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Topic Sentences


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Learn to write topic sentences that relate to the thesis statement

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Topic Sentences

  1. 1. Topic Sentences By the end of this presentation, you should be able to: 1.Define “topic sentence” 2.Know the function of a topic sentence 3.Write a topic sentence 4.Use transitions with your topic sentences
  2. 2. What is a topic sentence?  A topic sentence is a sentence that:  conveys the one main idea of an individual paragraph and  appears as the first sentence of the paragraph.  Think of a topic sentence as the thesis for that one particular paragraph in the essay.
  3. 3. The Topic Sentence: 2 functions When it comes to paragraphs, “one thing at a time” is useful to remember. 1. The “one thing” that you will expand on in a paragraph is stated in a topic sentence, 2. But you also expand on a point made in the thesis.
  4. 4. See it in action:
  5. 5. Examples  Here is an example of a thesis statement with 3 points and the topic sentences ( 1 per point) that might follow from it:  Thesis statement: Hiking is an excellent exercise because it strengthens muscles, offers a chance to enjoy nature, and relieves stress.  BP I. Hiking provides strenuous workout for many parts of the body, especially leg and back muscles.  BP II. Whether in the desert or in the woods, hikers enjoy beautiful scenery and clear air.  BP III. A hike in a beautiful area takes people completely away from the daily grind of school, family, and work.
  6. 6. How to write a topic sentence: Step 1 1. Write your preliminary thesis statement. Vegetarianism is a healthier choice if a person is considering a new lifestyle because being a vegetarian is better for one’s physical health, for animals, and for the environment. Notice that there are three points: health, animals, and environment Each of these points will become one paragraph for a total of 3 body paragraphs
  7. 7. How to write a topic sentence: Step 2 Write 3 sentences that expand on the thesis. 1. First, eating a diet that does not contain meat is better for one’s physical health in several ways. (point about health) 2. Along with being better for one’s body, being vegetarian is also better for animals; with less demand for meat, there will be less opportunity for animal cruelty and unfair farming practices. (animals) 3. Finally, being vegetarian is better for the environment because it decreases the size of one’s carbon footprint on this planet. (environment)
  8. 8. How to write a topic sentence: Step 3  Then check that you can add details to show or explain each of these 3 topic sentences. 1. several ways: cardiovascular health, less risk of cancer, weight 2. animal cruelty in mass farms and unfair farming practices 3. Explain how fuel emissions is caused by transportation and can be lowered. (cause and effect)
  9. 9. How to write a topic sentence: Step 4  Finally, check that you are writing on the topic assigned: Should people convert to a vegetarian diet?  Thesis: Vegetarianism is a healthier choice if a person is considering a new lifestyle because being a vegetarian is better for one’s physical health, for animals, and for the environment.
  10. 10. Don’t stray away… • Remember to use the topic sentence as a way to focus your paragraph. • If you stray from the topic within your paragraph, consider beginning another paragraph that deals with the new topic. • When you are editing the draft of your essay, be certain that the topic sentences accurately reflect the content of each paragraph. • Sometimes it helps to write a draft of your essay, then go back and add topic sentences to your body paragraphs.
  11. 11. A Helpful Trick • After composing the first draft of your essay, go back and highlight your thesis statement and each of your topic sentences. • These sentences together should completely summarize (express the main points of) your entire essay and function as the “frame”. • If these sentences do not express the main points of your essay, you probably need to revise your thesis and/or add topic sentences to your body paragraphs.
  12. 12. Using transitions  Use transition words at the beginning of each topic sentence to help you move from one point to the next.  For example:  First, second, third…  Then, next, finally…  In addition to….(to reference point in previous paragraph) Note: your paragraphs should develop in the same order that you list them in your thesis.
  13. 13. Practice  For the following thesis statement, write the topic sentences that might follow. Be sure to include the sub-points (what will be covered in the BP) in the topic sentence.  College students face many academic challenges, but the most common are related to managing time, writing essays, and taking tests.
  14. 14. Works Consulted  Adapted from a handout provided by The Writing Center at Trident Technical College