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Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to write strong topic sentences


TOPIC SENTENCES


What is a topic sentence?
·       The topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph.

What does it do?
·       It introduces the main idea of the paragraph.

Why are topic sentences important?
1.     They give your paragraph focus.
a.      If your topic sentences are not clear, then the rest of the paragraph most likely won’t have a specific focus or will be incoherent.
2.     They help your readers.  
a.      Your readers are busy and impatient.
b.     They want to know your main idea first.
c.      They read the first sentence of every paragraph, looking for your main ideas.
d.     Then, they quickly review the other sentences.
e.      If someone only read your topic sentences, would he or she be able to understand your contribution and supporting ideas?





Q: HOW DO I IMPROVE MY TOPIC SENTENCES SO THAT READERS WILL UNDERSTAND, BELIEVE AND CARE ABOUT MY STORY EVEN IF THEY ARE SPEED READING?

Topic Sentences: You can tell what the topic of the first body paragraph is by reading the topic sentence, which is the first sentence in the paragraph.

The topic sentence tells your reader the main idea of the paragraph. As a writer, you need to know the main idea in order to develop your paragraph with facts to support that idea.

As an exercise, strip your essay down to only the topic sentences. Ask yourself:
  • Does your story make sense? 
  • Will a non-expert be able to understand what happened?
  • Do you appear in your own topic sentences?
  • Are you the star / hero of your own story?
  • Do your verbs convey power?
My clients often get lost in the details when writing their first drafts of leadership (and other) essays. They feel the need to explain the situation first before showing their specific task and action steps taken to achieve the desired result.

In your next draft, work to put yourself at the center of the action.



More hints


Each body paragraph of your paper builds towards proving one particular aspect of your thesis, and each of these aspects should be crystallized into a strong topic sentence.

If your paper is quite short, these sentences might represent the main points you mentioned in the blueprint part of your thesis, but they might each be more specific aspects of one of those points, particularly if your paper is longer.


Defining your topics - First and foremost, a topic sentence is a piece of analysis, NOT summary. Think of it as an original interpretation based upon the facts of your story (not just a flat summary of your topic).


The first of the following examples illustrates a statement of fact, rather than an argumentative topic sentence.


Weak Topic Sentence: "Book Five of Paradise Lost concentrates on the conversation between Adam and the archangel Raphael."

Strong Topic Sentence: "Throughout Book Five, Milton utilizes images of gardening and nourishment to convey man's maturing relationship to the divine."

http://www.essayedge.com/academics/writingadvice/course/lessonthree.html



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-Updated by Vince on 15 March 2012


    2 comments:

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