- A good topic sentence serves as a foundation for a good paragraph. The topic sentence
contains the central idea around which a paragraph is developed. A good one has the
following six characteristics:
1. It introduces the topic without announcing it
2. It hooks the reader
3. It plants questions in the readers’ mind
4. It uses thought-provoking words
5. It is usually the first sentence
- Keep in mind that there is not one right answer; there are only strong and weak topic
sentences and strong and weak uses of evidence. By the time you finalize your topic
sentence, after playing with the wording and thinking about the topic, you should have a
strong statement that makes an interpretive argument.
Turn this weak thesis statement into a more specific, interpretive one: There are many interesting
things about the Prince.
Here’s what you are to do:
- Read through your rough draft (If you have one)
- Highlight the topic sentence (or write one)
- Identify which characteristics the topic sentence contains.
- Revise topic sentence
- Original: Columbus was an explorer in the 1400s.
- Revision: Travel has changed since the days of Columbus.
- Original: People waste time
- Revision: Some pass time moving from one incomplete task to another, spending too little
time with loved ones, investing too little time in physical and mental self-improvement, and
treading water financially.
o See how in the revisions the reader has a better sense of what the paragraphs will
be about? The originals are too general—narrow your focus
*Remember: EVERY detail in the paragraph should reflect on the topic sentence
*NO sentences that start…. “Chris Gardner and Santiago are alike for many reasons.” OR “I am going
to tell you about…” they are lame and elementary. Be more specific so the reader knows what you
will be proving in your paragraph, and be creative—no dead words.