What is a topic sentence?A topic sentence has four main characteristics It is a sentence. It is a part of a paragraph, usually the first sentence. It has the topic of the paragraph It has the controlling idea of the paragraph.A topic sentence is the main idea of a paragraph.
SO….A topic sentences is a sentence that has a topic and a controlling idea and is the first sentence of a paragraph.
A topic sentence CANNOT BE AN INCOMPLETE SENTENCE The best coffee.Cell phones for emergencies.
A topic sentence CANNOT BE A FACT The U.S. imports coffee from Columbia. California is located on the West Coast.Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
A topic sentence CANNOT BE A QUESTION Why do people drink coffee?Why do people choose Southern California as a place to live? Why do Americans celebrate Lincoln’s birthday?
The TopicA topic tells the reader the subject of the paragraph.Examples of topics for a paragraph…. coffee cell phones getting a tattoo Fullerton College
In American writing…• A reader expects to have an idea of the topic and the focus of a paragraph.• Each time the reader sees a new paragraph, he/she expects the topic (or focus) to change.Here are three paragraphs in an essay about Lincoln’s difficult childhood. (Par 1) One of the greatest difficulties young Lincoln faced was the death of his mother. (Par 2) Young Lincoln did not have many friends growing up. (Par 3) Finally, Lincoln could not attend school.
B r o a d >>>>> Narrow Topics• Sometimes a topic is too big to write about in one paragraph. A paragraph is only 12- 20 sentences. Look at the following broad topics.• marriage• Fullerton College• computersIt would be impossible to write about these topics in ONE paragraph!
How can topics be narrowed?• marriage – teen marriage – cross-cultural marriage – age differences in marriage• Fullerton College – Student services at FC – Fullerton College soccer team – Applying to FC• computers – Your turn…..how can you narrow this topic?
CONTROLLING IDEASA controlling idea tells the reader what the writer is going to say about the topic. It might be an opinion about the topic, or it might be the focus or the direction that the writer is going to take the topic.Examples of controlling ideas…great, dangerous, favorite, popular, exciting, funny
A topic sentence implies a question that the paragraph is going to answer….• WHY? Why is it popular? the best? Why should we….? Why was it terrible?• HOW? How is it attractive? How did it change? How is it terrible?• WHERE? Where should we go?• WHICH ONES? Which do you think are the most important, biggest, etc.• WHAT? What reasons? What effects?
Topic SentencesWhat question do you expect to be answered in a paragraph with the following topic sentences?Fullerton College has great student services.Parking at Fullerton College is a horrible experience.People get tattoos for three main reasons.Tattoos should be illegal.Green tea is becoming a popular drink in the U.S.Cell phones make our life easier.Cell phones are annoying.Lincoln had a difficult childhood.