Thoughts on the Topic Sentence
In our learning centre, we expect the topic to
be your first sentence in a paragraph. The only exception to this
expectation is for the introductory paragraph of an essay.
Why do we expect a topic sentence in this
position when other reading tells us that topic sentences
sometimes occur in other places in the paragraph?
The students, by writing a recognizable form,
will make the teacher's job easier. Remember that deeply buried
or vague topic sentences can confuse and frustrate any reader.
Always remember that the paragraph is used as a
tool to guide the rest of a writer's work. How might we use
this tool most effectively?
One way is to write the your topic sentence as
the concluding sentence of your first draft. Very often, my
students write a better concluding sentence than topic. Use this
strength to improve your topic sentences by paraphrasing your
conclusion, then placing the sentence first.
The paragraph written alone is a practice form.
Very few pieces of writing consist of a single paragraph. Students
will often write variations of a short essay when I ask for a
paragraph. Ultimately, body paragraphs are just a string of the
paragraphs we write for practice.
See our most
Tips from November 2001 to April 2002
September 2000 to October 2001.
January to August 2000
Tips from January to December 1999