What’s a topic sentence? • the ‘focus’ sentence of a paragraph
Some people think … • You must begin each paragraph with a topic sentence • BUT: no writing in the real world sounds like this.
Rules about topic sentences? • In real-world writing, topic sentences are • often implied • rarely found at the beginning of a paragraph. • What you want to say in a paragraph should determine order and how it’s said (not the other way around)
Real topic sentences • In 1974, Richard Braddock studied topic sentences in real-world writing • Here’s what he found: • Only 45% of topic sentences were traditional, simple topic sentences (others were assembled in multiple sentences). • Only 55% explicitly stated the topic of the paragraph (others did so implicitly). • Only 13% of paragraphs of contemporary writers begin with a topic sentence • 3% of paragraphs end with a topic sentence.
Practice • http://motherjones.com/media/2012/01/politicians-kissing-babies-brief-history • In the first paragraph, what’s the topic sentence? • Why do you think it is located where it is?
References • http://writing.markfullmer.com/topic-sentence-linking-what-introductory-sentences-really-do