Topic Sentences
Clip art from Bing Images.
Topic Sentences
 Establish the purpose of the upcoming paragraph
 Preview upcoming points
 Generally placed in the firs...
Paragraphs = Hamburgers
Topic Sentence
Concluding Sentence
Supporting details
Clip art from Microsoft Office
Topic sentences
 Topic sentences contain a main idea as well as a
controlling idea.
 In other words, a topic sentence co...
Topic sentences - Examples
 Main idea/Topic: Benefits of Online Education
 Controlling idea  Topic sentence: Online
lea...
Topic sentences - Examples
 Main idea/Topic: Benefits of Online Education
 Controlling idea  Topic Sentence: Online lea...
Topic sentences – Bad and Better
 Bad topic sentence: I will explore the topic of online
education.
 Better topic senten...
Topic sentences – Bad and Better
 Bad topic sentence: Online education is diverse.
 Better topic sentence: Online educat...
Topic sentences – Bad and Better
 Bad topic sentence: Because computer-based online learning is
the next best invention o...
Topic sentences – Bad and Better
 Bad topic sentence: Online learning is the way to go when
compared to brick and mortar ...
Conclusion
 Good topic sentences
provide a stance.
 Good topic sentences
provide an accurate
summary of what will
follow...
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Week4 powerpointtopicsentences

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Much thanks to my colleague, Ms. Amy Winger, for sharing this wonderful presentation on topic sentences. Enjoy!

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  • Welcome to this mini lesson on writing strong topic sentences!
  • Topic sentences establish the purpose of the upcoming paragraph. They foretell what is going to be covered in the paragraph. Topic sentences also preview upcoming points. In this way, topic sentences often lay the ground work for the supporting details that will follow. Finally, topic sentences are generally placed in the first or second sentence. This helps the reader understand right from the get-go what to expect to learn from the paragraph.
  • I like to think of a paragraph as being representative of a hamburger. “How?” you may ask. Every good paragraph has three components in it: a topic sentence, supporting details, and a concluding sentence just as every good hamburger has three components: a top bun, tasty fillings, and a bottom bun holding it all together. The top bun of a hamburger represents the topic sentence of a paragraph and serves to establish the purpose of the paragraph; the lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayo, fried egg—whatever you put on your burger to make it tasty represent the supporting details that in a well written paragraph also make the paragraph more flavorful. Finally, without the bottom bun, a hamburger falls apart. This is true with paragraphs, too. A concluding sentence serves to rephrase the topic sentence or summarize key points. Without a good concluding sentence, a paragraph fades away and misses its opportunity to make a powerful ending. Keep this analogy of hamburgers representing paragraphs in mind as you move forward. You might find yourself eating out at McDonald’s a bit more, but the formula is definitely a great way to ensure your writing is sound.
  • As stated earlier, topic sentence contain a main idea as well as a controlling idea. In other words, a topic sentence conveys the main topic and point of the paragraph. The point of the paragraph is typically the writer’s stance on the topic being discussed. Let’s take a look at some topics and see how writing a strong topic sentence would help the reader immediately understand the point of any information following the topic sentence.
  • Let’s say that we want to write a paragraph about the benefits of online education. If I want to write a good topic sentence, I need to do two things. I need to establish the topic by mentioning it and then I need to establish a stance on the topic. In the sentence Online learning has many financial benefitsyou can see here the stance is that online learning is beneficial because of financial reasons. As you can imagine, my supporting details in the rest of the paragraph will focus on various ways online education is more affordable and costs less.
  • Now let’s take another look at the same topic, but let’s write a topic sentence from a different angle. Remember that if I want to write a good topic sentence, I need to do those two things. I need to establish the topic by mentioning it and then establish a stance on the topic. My main idea or topic remains the same: Benefits of Online Learning, but if I use Online learning is becoming more popular for a variety of reasonsas my topic sentence, you can see that I have more clearly established my topic. Therefore, establishing the topic, which is online learning, and a stance, which is why it is popular, clearly establishes my intent to my reader, who will appreciate such clarity in writing.
  • Now that we’ve looked at how topic sentences should always establish the topic of the sentence as well as the writer’s stance on it, let’s look at some poorly written topic sentences and determine how we can make them stronger. Here you can see the bad topic sentence is: I will explore the topic of online education. A better topic sentence would be: Online education appeals to many because of its flexibility. Why is this topic sentence better? It’s better because the poorly written topic sentence does not establish a stance. It just mentions the topic of online education, not the direction of the writer’s view on the topic. By writing Online education appeals to many because of its flexibility, I can clearly indicate my stance on the topic and avoid referencing the first person, which is discouraged in academic writing because first and second person language is more subjective in tone, and we want our writings to be as objective in tone as possible.
  • Let’s take another look at another poorly written topic sentence: Online education is diverse. Well, how is online education diverse and why is this important? As you can see, this topic sentence could be more informative. So, a better topic sentence would be: Online education provides diverse degree programs for all students seeking to make themselves more marketable . This is a better topic sentence because this topic sentence provides greater insight on the writer’s stance on the topic. Keep in mind that good topic sentences provide an accurate summary of what will follow in the paragraph. The first topic sentence is too general and does not accurately summarize the controlling idea of the paragraph. As you can see, you will want to be prettyspecific when drafting strong topic sentences.
  • Another bad topic sentence follows: Because computer-based online learning is the next best invention outside of sliced bread, it allows more students the opportunity to more effectively manage their busy schedules. A better topic sentence is: Online learning allows for students to better manage their time. Why is this better? This is better because it is more clearly articulated. The second topic sentence is more concise, uses fewer words, and is more to the point. When writing topic sentences do your best to avoid wordiness, clichéd phrases such as the one about sliced bread, and repetitive descriptive phrases as they can all bog down your point and muddle your meaning.
  • Finally, let’s examine one last bad topic sentence: Online classrooms are the best. To write this better, I might write: The quality of education in many online classrooms is just as strong as the quality of education in traditional classrooms. While the first topic sentence does its job and conveys its point, it could do it more articulately. As you can see, in the second sentence a stronger vocabulary is used. In other words, the second topic sentence uses more potent words. For example, quality of education in online classrooms is just as strong as the quality of education in traditional classrooms is used instead ofway to go.
  • In summary, keep in mind that every good topic sentenceprovides a stance, previews upcoming points, and utilizes a clearly articulated and eloquent vocabulary. Remember to let me know if you have any questions about anything I have covered here. Happy writing out there!
  • Week4 powerpointtopicsentences

    1. 1. Topic Sentences Clip art from Bing Images.
    2. 2. Topic Sentences  Establish the purpose of the upcoming paragraph  Preview upcoming points  Generally placed in the first or second sentence
    3. 3. Paragraphs = Hamburgers Topic Sentence Concluding Sentence Supporting details Clip art from Microsoft Office
    4. 4. Topic sentences  Topic sentences contain a main idea as well as a controlling idea.  In other words, a topic sentence conveys the main topic and point of the paragraph.  The point of the paragraph is typically the writer’s stance on the topic being discussed.
    5. 5. Topic sentences - Examples  Main idea/Topic: Benefits of Online Education  Controlling idea  Topic sentence: Online learning has many financial benefits.
    6. 6. Topic sentences - Examples  Main idea/Topic: Benefits of Online Education  Controlling idea  Topic Sentence: Online learning is becoming more popular for a variety of reasons.
    7. 7. Topic sentences – Bad and Better  Bad topic sentence: I will explore the topic of online education.  Better topic sentence: Online education appeals to many because of its flexibility.  Good topic sentences provide a stance. This is a better topic sentence because it provides a stance, is not an announcement, and avoids the use of the first person (I).
    8. 8. Topic sentences – Bad and Better  Bad topic sentence: Online education is diverse.  Better topic sentence: Online education provides diverse degree programs for all students seeking to make themselves more marketable.  Good topic sentences provide an accurate summary of what will follow in the paragraph. The first topic sentence is too general and does not accurately summarize the controlling idea of the paragraph.
    9. 9. Topic sentences – Bad and Better  Bad topic sentence: Because computer-based online learning is the next best invention outside of sliced bread, it allows more students the opportunity to more effectively manage their busy schedules.  Better topic sentence: Online learning allows for students to better manage their time.  Good topic sentences are clearly articulated. The second topic sentence is more concise, uses fewer words, and is more to the point.
    10. 10. Topic sentences – Bad and Better  Bad topic sentence: Online learning is the way to go when compared to brick and mortar classrooms.  Better topic sentence: The quality of education in many online classrooms is just as strong as the quality of education in traditional classrooms.  Good topic sentences use an eloquent vocabulary. The second topic sentence uses more potent words. For example, quality of education in online classrooms is just as strong as the quality of education in traditional classrooms is used instead of way to go.
    11. 11. Conclusion  Good topic sentences provide a stance.  Good topic sentences provide an accurate summary of what will follow in the paragraph.  Good topic sentences are clearly articulated.  Good topic sentences use an eloquent vocabulary.
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