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Topic Sentences

Topic Sentences

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Topic Sentences

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  1. Topic Sentences Duane Theobald dtheobal@westga.edu

  2. Topic Sentences??? • What do you already know about topic sentences?

  3. Topic Sentences: The Basics • A topic sentence serves to organize an entire paragraph, and you need to make sure to include one in most of your major paragraphs. • Two directions: • Relates the paragraph to the essay’s thesis & acts as a signpost/marker for the argument of the paper • Defines the scope of the paragraph itself

  4. What makes a good topic sentence? • Good topic sentences can improve an essay’s readability and organization, and they meet the following criteria: • A topic sentence is usually the first sentence of the paragraph, not the last sentence of the previous paragraph. • Topic sentences use keywords or phrases from the thesis to indicate which part of the thesis will be discussed. • Topic sentences tell the reader what concept will be discussed and provide an introduction to the paragraph. • Topic sentences should point back to the subject/main idea presented within the thesis statement.

  5. Good Topic Sentences (cont’d) • Good topic sentences also include: • Topic sentences may also signal to the reader where the essay has been and where it is headed through the use of certain words such as “first,” “second,” or “finally.” • Topic sentences may act as a mini thesis statement, essentially saying that “This is my claim, or point I will prove in the following paragraph. All the sentences that follow this topic sentence must relate to it in some way.” • Topic sentences should make a point and give reasons or examples to support it.

  6. Good Topic Sentences Do Not Include: • A quotation from the critic or from the text you’re discussing. • A piece of information that tells the reader something more about the plot of the text you’re studying. • Weak “narrative” topic sentence • Stronger “topic-based” topic sentence • A sentence that explains your response or reaction to the work, or that describes why you’re talking about a particular part of it. • Weak “reaction” topic sentence • Stronger “topic-based” topic sentence

  7. Topic Sentences: Not Always Needed? • Although most paragraphs should have a topic sentence, there are a few situations in which a paragraph might not need a topic sentence. These situations may include: • Having a paragraph that narrates a series of events • Having a paragraph that develops an idea you introduced (with a topic sentence) in the previous paragraph • Having a paragraph where ALL the sentences in the paragraph clearly refer to a main point

  8. Let’s Practice Together!! • Let’s develop a topic sentence based on the following paragraph: • During the 1990s, I really enjoyed watching Friends on television every Thursday night. I really wanted Rachel’s haircut—I think every girl wanted Rachel’s haircut back then! Rachel’s haircut went really well with the Guess Jeans that were so popular in the 1990s. I remember all the advertisements for Guess and Calvin Klein Jeans that were in each month’s Sassy magazine. I don’t think Sassy magazine exists anymore, but it was one of the most popular magazines for young women in the 1990s.

  9. What did you come up with? • Thinking about the 1990s brings back a lot of memories for me about fashion and popular culture. During the 1990s, I really enjoyed watching Friends on television every Thursday night. I really wanted Rachel’s haircut—I think every girl wanted Rachel’s haircut back then! Rachel’s haircut went really well with the Guess Jeans that were so popular in the 1990s. I remember all the advertisements for Guess and Calvin Klein Jeans that were in each month’s Sassy magazine. I don’t think Sassy magazine exists anymore, but it was one of the most popular magazines for young women in the 1990s.

  10. Topic Sentences: On Your Own! • Look at pages 4-6. Read each paragraph and select the topic sentence that will correspond with each paragraph. Make sure to consider the specific points we have discussed previously!

  11. What did you choose? 1. Answer is… C!: This idea threads through the paragraph. It is expressed in the third sentence, which tells readers how shaky the evidence for the effect of Mozart’s music on IQ.

  12. What did you choose? 2. Answer is…B!: After this sentence is introduced, the other sentences describe the many deaths that resulted in climbing up Mt. Everest. This sentence sums up the paragraph as a topic sentence is supposed to.

  13. What did you choose? 3. Answer is…C!: Introduced by a transitional sentence, this is the point that gets the most development in the paragraph. The author offers 2 specific examples, and the examples illustrate how blogs have increased the public’s access to information.

  14. Questions? • Remember that the UWC is always here to help you! • 678-839-6513 • writing@westga.edu • TLC 1201 (First floor, past the snacks) • www.westga.edu/writing • Like us on Facebook: University Writing Center (UWG)

  15. Questions? • Duane Theobald (Manager) • 678-839-5312 • dtheobal@westga.edu