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Topic Sentences

Mrs. Blosch
FROM THE BOOK FOCUS: WRITING SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPHS BY MARTHA E. CAMPBELL And INDIANA UNIVERSITY WRITING TUTORIAL SERVICES

Objectives
Students will be able to: narrow a topic. write a topic sentence. identify topic sentences.

Paragraphs
A paragraph is a group of sentences that

presents a main idea and related details to a reader. A paragraph can stand alone or can be combined with other paragraphs to create a longer paper. The first line of a paragraph is indented. We do this so that readers know that a new idea is being introduced.

Paragraphs
A good paragraph has the following key

elements:
A

focused topic A main idea expressed in a topic sentence Details supporting the main idea A concluding sentence
Paragraphs vary in length. In general a good

8th grade paragraph is 7-9 sentences long.

Example
Walking to Physical Fitness Walking is my favorite way to exercise. Walking thirty to forty minutes every morning is a great way to relax. When I walk with a friend, I can talk about the day ahead or share some challenges I am facing. When I walk by myself, I can meditate and get rid of my stress. Walking regularly also improves my general health. Fitness experts recommend an exercise routine to keep the heart strong. Furthermore, walking every day lessens my risk of disease. I know the positive effects walking has made in my life, and I will continue my walk to physical fitness.

Example
Walking to Physical Fitness has all the elements of

a good paragraph:

A focused topic: walking as a form of exercise A main idea expressed in a topic sentence: Walking is my favorite way to exercise. Details supporting the main idea: a great way to relax, walk with a friend, walk by myself, improves my general health, keeps the heart strong, lessens my risk of disease A concluding sentence: I know the positive effects walking has made in my life, and I will continue my walk to physical fitness.

Limiting a Topic
Limiting a topic is the first step in

writing a strong paragraph. Many topics are too broad to talk about in 7-9 sentences. We must focus or limit the topic so that we can talk about it completely in a single paragraph.

Limiting a Topic
3 ways to narrow the topic Childhood:
1.

2.

3.

Childhood Birthday parties The best birthday party I ever had Childhood My friends My friends in the seventh grade My best friend in seventh grade Childhood Summer vacations Family trips The time my family went camping The night it rained and our tent collapsed

Example
Topic: Sports Sports
Indoor sports Soccer Girls Soccer Girls soccer at Sandcreek Middle School The girls soccer game at SMS on a specific date The best shot in the girls soccer game at SMS on the above date

Writing a Topic Sentence


The topic sentence of a paragraph

expresses the single main idea the writer wants to communicate to the reader. All the other sentences in a paragraph explain the topic sentence. It keeps the writer on track as they write. It helps the reader understand the message of the paper.

Writing a Topic Sentence


A topic sentence is neither too broad nor too

narrow.
If

it is too broad, you will not be able to discuss it in a single paragraph. If it is too narrow, you will have difficulty writing an entire paragraph about the topic.

Examples
Too Broad: Mystery novels are fun to read. Too narrow: The last mystery novel I read was 300 pages long. Just Right: The plot of the novel May Tomorrow Never Come is suspenseful. Too Broad: Eating correctly is important. Too narrow: Spinach is an excellent source of iron. Just Right: An important step in preventing heart disease is eating fruits and vegetables daily.

You Try It!


Is it focused?

1. Good teachers can be found in any school. 2.Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. 3.Good movies are hard to find. 4.A good teacher listens patiently to her

students.

Writing a Topic Sentence


A topic sentence has 2 parts: 1. It names the topic. 2. It expresses an idea about it. Example: Topic Sentence: Successful students know how to manage study time. Topic: Successful Students What about the topic? Know how to manage study time

Examples
Topic Sentence: Knowing how to study for tests is important in high school. Topic: Knowing how to study for tests What about the topic? Is important in high school Topic Sentence: Taking notes in class is another essential study skill. Topic: Taking notes in class What about the topic? Is another essential study skill

Locating the Topic Sentence


A topic sentence can appear anywhere in a

paragraph, but is often the first sentence.


Provides

a road map for your reader. Readers attention is focused on the main idea from the beginning. Rest of paragraph is expected to support that main idea.

Locating the Topic Sentence


A topic sentence can also appear as the last

sentence in the paragraph.


Leads

the reader to the topic sentence with supporting details. Attracts the readers interest or adds suspense.

Examples
First sentence topic sentence:
One important study skill critical for college success is doing homework completely. Students who are working for academic success know that it is important to follow the directions for each exercise. For example, if the math instructor has asked students to show all their work on a homework assignment, then the students should complete all steps of each problem. Successful students also attempt to answer all the questions in every homework assignment. If a problem is easy, the student can place a check mark next to it in the margin. If one of the problems is especially difficult, the student can place a question mark next to it as a reminder to ask the instructor for help. All in all, students who work hard to complete their homework to the best of their ability are well on their way to success in the classroom.

Examples
Last sentence topic sentence:
Anthony sighs as he thinks about his humanities test on Friday. How should he prepare for the test? He has never taken a test in college, and now he faces studying three chapters on the history of Rome. Fortunately, his instructor provided a review sheet with key terms and concepts from each chapter. Anthony finds each term and concept in his textbook and highlights the related information. Then he reads through his class notes. Finally, he makes an index card for each item on the review sheet and records the information he wants to recall on the test. Afterward, he spends several hours reciting and reviewing the details on his note cards. Even though Anthony has never taken a college test, he has already discovered the importance of reviewing his textbook and his class notes and preparing study cards before each test.

Thesis Statement
A thesis statement tells the reader what the

entire paper will be about.


It

sets the structure for the essay. Like a topic sentence, a thesis statement will have two parts.
It

will state an opinion on one main idea and List the topics you will use to prove your opinion.

Thesis Statement
A strong thesis statement will:
Take

some sort of stand. Justify discussion of your topic. Express one main idea. Be specific.

Thesis Statement Examples


Take some sort of stand.

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

Thesis Statement Examples


Justify discussion of your topic.

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader wont be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

Thesis Statement Examples


Express one main idea.

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader cant decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because, since, so, although, unless, and however.

Thesis Statement Examples


Be specific.

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger cant be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

All Thesis Statement examples from: http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/thesis_statement.shtml