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Structuring paragraphs properly

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Structuring paragraphs properly

  1. 1. Structuring paragraphs properly: using topic sentences<br />
  2. 2. What are they?<br />The topic sentence (usually the first one in the paragraph) sums up what the rest of the paragraph is going to deal with. <br />A topic sentence will make a general point, not a detailed one<br />It should refer to words from the question<br />
  3. 3. Which of these is a topic sentence?<br />The opening scene of ‘Macbeth’ is a memorable one for several reasons.<br />When Macbeth kills Duncan, he feels so guilty that he forgets to leave the daggers behind, so Lady Macbeth takes them back.<br />
  4. 4. The first is a topic sentence<br />The first example leads us to expect that the rest of the paragraph will explain the reasons why the scene is memorable; the second example simply tells us part of the story. It gives no indication about what will come next. <br />
  5. 5. Check ‘em out!<br />Discuss how effective each of the following would be as a topic sentence at the start of a paragraph.<br />For each example, write down an answer to the following:<br />What clues are given about how the rest of the paragraph is likely to develop?<br />
  6. 6. 1<br />‘Romeo and Juliet’ is a tragic love story about two young lovers who lived in Verona in Italy in the Middle Ages. <br />
  7. 7. 2<br />The prologue to ‘Romeo and Juliet’ introduces the theme of fate.<br />
  8. 8. 3<br />Shortly after this Duncan came to visit Macbeth at his castle because he was very pleased at how well Macbeth fought in the battle.<br />
  9. 9. 4<br />‘Trailed his slackness soft-bellied down.’ Here the poet is effectively describing how the snake slithers down and uses alliteration of the ‘s’ sounds.<br />
  10. 10. Don’t forget to P.E.E. !<br />Never begin with a quote. This should never, ever happen if you remember to PEE!<br />Point<br />Evidence<br />Explain<br />NB there are various acronyms for this activity: SEE, SPQA, SQA etc, but the main point is, make a point before giving evidence, and follow your evidence with some explanation as to its validity!<br />
  11. 11. 5<br />The poet’s use of imagery creates a strong impression of the violent atmosphere on the streets of Brooklyn.<br />
  12. 12. 6<br />Lady Macbeth uses several different methods to put pressure on her husband to murder King Duncan.<br />
  13. 13. 7<br />In Act 1 scene 3 the witches prophesy that Macbeth will become King of Scotland.<br />
  14. 14. 8<br />Juliet was so excited after meeting Romeo that instead of going to bed she went out onto her balcony to think about him.<br />
  15. 15. 9<br />Charlie Forbes decides to take Tom to Towellan, but he is mocked by his colleague Todd for doing this.<br />
  16. 16. 10<br />The opening scene of ‘Macbeth’ establishes an atmosphere of mystery and evil which is developed in the rest of the play.<br />
  17. 17. 11<br />The author’s use of symbolism helps the reader to understand the development of the character of Tom Curdie.<br />
  18. 18. 12<br />‘The delight of a realised ambition overcame him.’ This shows that Piggy is delighted to be free of adult control.<br />
  19. 19. Destination…?<br />Think of the topic sentence as a signpost. It indicates the direction in which the rest of the paragraph is going to travel… if you took the signposts away from the essay, you’d follow a line of argument, much like following a trail or a ski-run<br />
  20. 20. This is NOT the kind of signposting we’re looking for in topic sentences! ONE direction at a time!<br />
  21. 21. Mmmmm… ribs!<br />You could also think of it as a bone—if you took the topic sentences away from the supporting material, you should be able to see the structure of the argument.<br />
  22. 22. Planning and Topic Sentences<br />If you’ve PLANNED your essay, you can even create topic sentences for each section, because you’ll know ahead of time what you plan to write in each paragraph/section of your essay<br />
  23. 23. Your turn…<br />You’ve already seen this question, and you’ve had a stab at writing your first introductory paragraph:<br />Choose a play which you feel has a memorable opening section. <br />Show how the content or the atmosphere of the scene or section provides an effective starting point for the development of the characters and the theme of the play.<br />Let’s take a step back—what are the key words? What techniques will you be addressing? Have you addressed all five points you were given yesterday in your paragraph?<br />Now PLAN the whole essay, giving a topic sentence for each paragraph (you’ll most likely end up with about 5 or 6 paragraphs).<br />

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