Writing Effective Topic Sentences - Highline College

Writing Effective Topic Sentences - Highline College

WRITING EFFECTIVE TOPIC/THESIS SENTENCE Review Chapter 3 in Writing For Life by D.J. Henry Four steps to effective paragraphs 1. Begin with a point. 2. Support the point with specific evidence.

3. Organize and connect the specific evidence. 4. Write clear, error free sentences. Begin with a point The point is the focus or topic of the paragraph. All the other information in the paragraph explains and supports the topic.. .

For example: The student had several ways of passing time during the dull lecture. What is the topic of this sentence? several ways of passing time What sort of details could support this topic? Shielded his eyes with his hand and dozed awhile. Read the sports magazine he had brought to class.

Made an elaborate drawing on a page of his notebook. Topic sentence or Thesis Statement A topic sentence and a thesis statement are similar because each makes a point. Writing a topic sentence or a thesis statement is determined by what your are planning to write: a paragraph or an essay.

Topic Sentence A topic sentence is the main point that opens a paragraph and tells the reader what the paragraph is about. A topic sentence is the controlling idea of a paragraph. It is called a controlling idea because the topic sentence controls all the supporting evidence that will go in the paragraph. Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the main point of an entire essay and tells the reader what the essay is going to be about. A thesis statement is the controlling idea of an essay. It is called a controlling idea because the thesis statement controls all the supporting evidence that will go in each paragraph in the body of the essay. This also means that each topic sentence that begins each paragraph somehow refers to and/or supports the thesis of

your essay. Writing your own Topic sentence or Thesis statement A topic sentence and thesis statement are each constructed in a similar way. They each have two parts. Part one is the general subject that identifies what the writer is talking about. For example,

the writer may want to discuss the general subject of marriage. Part two is the limited subject that identifies why the author wants to talk about the general subject. For example, the author may want to discuss specifically the honeymoon. The Limited subject The limited subject shows the authors attitude or dominant impression about a subject.

This attitude, point of view, or idea is usually expressed in one or more key words in the topic/ thesis statement. Common Errors in Topic Sentences/Thesis statements When writing a point, or topic sentence/thesis statements people sometimes make mistakes that undermine their chances of producing an effective paper (Langan 65).

Review the following examples from the textbook of common mistakes you can make writing topic sentences. Common Errors Announcement My Ford Focus is the concern of this paragraph. This is a simple announcement, rather than expressing an idea or attitude about a topic.

Statement That is Too Broad Many people have problems with their cars. This is so general you would not be able to support it with specific details. Common Errors continued Statement that is Too Narrow My car is a Ford Focus. This is a dead end statement because it is so

narrow it does not show an idea or attitude. It is a simple fact that needs no support. IMPORTANT A topic sentence and a thesis statement needs to make a point. It makes a point by stating the subject it will discuss. The subject is general. The point of view, idea, or attitude it wants to convey limits the subject to a specific point. This is the dominant impression.

For example: My Ford Focus gets great gas mileage and saves me a lot of money. Example Topic Sentences: Topic Sentence: My roommate is messy. (topic: roommate) (dominant impression: messy) Topic Sentence: Roberta is very aggressive. (topic: Roberta)

(dominant impression: very aggressive) Specific and Viable Topic sentences cont Topic Sentence: Our new kitten causes us lots of trouble. Topic Sentence: My landlord is softhearted.

(topic: our new kitten) (dominant impression: causes us lots of trouble) (topic: my landlord) (dominant impression softhearted) The library is a distracting place to try to study. (topic: library) (dominant impression: distracting place to try to study)

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