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  Topic Sentence Samples with Teacher Comment


Students in the Advanced Composition classes wrote a number of topic sentences for a lesson called, Topic Sentences? Good Rules to Follow Teacher comments are in italics. The writing topic for this exercise was "Vancouver Weather."

General Notes on Topic Sentences

It is a main idea (thoughts) about your topic. (student definition)

It is the container for the topic and is found at the beginning and the end of a paragraph. Good definition!

A topic sentence is what you want to express in your paragraph or essay. This is closer to the truth. Just be sure you can express your idea inside the structure.

A topic sentence must be supported. Quite true. In fact, if you cannot support your topic sentence it is time to adjust it so you can.


Student Topic Sentences with Comment

It rains too much in Vancouver.
A bit hard to prove this one. Perhaps something like "The frequent rain in Vancouver can be hard on the citizen's mood."

Sunny days in Vancouver are almost like a festival, since they are quite rare.
May be hard to prove "rare," but not a bad topic sentence overall.

Why do people think they can save money on their clothing in Vancouver?
This topic sentence needs work to clarify your ideas. You must be clear with your reader at all times.

[Most] Everyone in Vancouver loves sunny days.
One cannot prove "everyone," so just qualify a bit and everything is okay.

Summer in Vancouver is very beautiful, for there is often lots of sunshine.

[Here is] Why Vancouver weather can help plants to grow.
Be careful of the difference between a topic sentence and a title. This one was very close to a good title, so the words "Here is" were added.

Vancouver’s weather is perfect, if you compare it with weather in Yellowknife.
There is a sense of humour or joking tone in the above, which can appeal to many readers.

Vancouver’s weather isn’t perfect.

Vancouver’s weather is pleasant.
I expect “pleasant” details. We could also say “is temperate,” but this is awfully close to a fact.

Except in rain, Vancouver weather is very good.
This is personal opinion, so would need some kind of facts to make it work.

A student asks, “Should I or can I use a question as my topic sentence?”
Yes, you can and you may, but it is tricky and less often used in North America, so avoid it mainly, unless you are sure of a reader’s reaction. Probably it is safer to do it inside the content than for the topic sentence.


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