Writing Process: Topic Sentences by AwP113


									Ms. Ricciardi                                                                           ENGLISH

Who needs ‘em?
You do. A paragraph without a topic sentence is like a story without a plot. Your paragraph (like
a “plot-less” story) will just ramble on and on without any direction or goal. Topic sentences help
you prove your point in an organized way that your reader can understand.
Ok, ok, so I need a topic sentence. What exactly is it?
A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph which contains the paragraph’s main idea.
From there, the rest of the paragraph develops. The other sentences in the paragraph add detail,
explanation, textual support, and build up your original point. For example, if you wrote a topic
sentence like this…
        In Antigone, Creon is clearly the tragic hero because he is the only character that lives
        through the play’s ordeals and has an opportunity to learn from them.
…then you would write the rest of the paragraph to show how he is the sole survivor and is
therefore the only one who can learn from his mistakes. In contrast, this would be an
inappropriate time to discuss Creon’s tragic flaw, because it has nothing to do with his survival or
ability to learn. You could, however, do that in a separate paragraph with a separate topic

Oh, is that all?
Well, not exactly. (Sorry!) The topic sentence should also relate back to your thesis in the
introduction. This means that the topic sentence should be an idea that supports the essay’s thesis
statement. It is common practice to support the thesis statement by utilizing three supporting
ideas. Eventually, each one of these points becomes a topic sentence in the three body
paragraphs. For this reason it is not a bad idea to approach each topic sentence in each body
paragraph as a “mini” thesis. To ensure that you are setting your topic sentences up properly, try
using either the author’s name or the title of the work in your topic sentence (just like a thesis
statement). For example:
      Body Paragraph #1: Sophocles’ creation of Creon as a generally good and respected
        person who cares for his people establishes him as a character that fits the profile of a
        tragic hero.
      Body Paragraph #2: In Antigone, Creon is the tragic hero because of his excessive
        pride, which is his tragic flaw.
      Body Paragraph #3: By having Creon as the sole survivor of Antigone, it is clear that he
        is the only character who can employ the tragic hero requirement of learning from one’s
      Note: Observe how all three examples share the words “Creon,” “tragic hero,” and the
        title or author. What do you think the thesis of this paper would be?

Possible thesis: _________________________________________________________________


                                           Ta da!
              Now, go back to your outline and make sure that your topic sentences
                                    are the best they can be.

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