PARAGRAPH DEVELOPMENT I
1. TOPIC SENTENCES--The topic sentence is the general statement in a paragraph that explains what the whole paragraph is about. It is usually the first sentence in the paragraph.
2. STATEMENT (CONTROLLING IDEA)--
a. A topic sentence contains a topic and a statement (controlling idea). The statement (controlling idea) is what the writer intends to say about the topic.
TOPIC STATEMENT (CONTROLLING IDEA)
Pollution + demands action.
Pollution + exists throughout the world.
b. A topic sentence implies an argument that must be proven. A statement of fact cannot be used as a topic sentence since it does not need to be proven.
Statement of fact: Television stations broadcast news.
Topic sentence: Television news shows are biased.
c. Topic sentences should not be too general.
Too general: Shakespeare was a great writer.
Topic sentence: Shakespeare's typical education seems unlikely for a genius.
3. UNITY--Any sentence in the paragraph that does not support the topic sentence is considered out of unity. Check each sentence by using the word BECAUSE after the topic sentence:
Topic sentence: Dogs make excellent pets.
(BECAUSE) They are loyal.
(BECAUSE) They are playful.
(BECAUSE) They are useful.
The sentence "They are a lot of trouble to take care of" would be out of unity since it does not explain why dogs make excellent pets.
4. SUPPORT--Paragraphs may have primary (major) support as well as secondary (minor) support. Topic sentence: Dogs make excellent pets.
Primary support: First, they are loyal.
Secondary support: They are devoted to their owners.
Primary support: Next, they are playful.
Secondary support: They enjoy games like catch.
Secondary support: They like to play with toys.
Primary support: Finally, they are useful.
Secondary support: They can protect property.
Secondary support: They can warn of danger.
Look for transition markers (FIRST, ANOTHER, etc.) to identify primary support.
5. CONCLUSION--The conclusion of a paragraph should bring the paragraph to a close without bringing in a new topic or idea. A good concluding sentence for the paragraph in item 4 might be "Dogs are truly man's best friend." A poor concluding statement might be "Goldfish also make good pets."
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