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writerguyAdvanced Composition
Topic Sentences? Good Rules to Follow
by Brad Hyde

This week, we will describe, write, and discuss the topic sentence.

Topic Sentences

Introduce the paragraph topic and limit it to what can be written in a single paragraph.

Are the most general and most important sentence.

Contain controlling ideas (ideas that will be explained, defined, clarified or illustrated in the sentences which follow the topic sentence)

Are never just a fact. “I came to Canada in 1993.” is a simple fact.

With personal opinion only are weak. Avoid the use of “I like” and “I think.” Avoid a topic sentence that says, “I like dogs better than cats.”

The Best Topic Sentences

Contain a “provable” opinion using facts from reliable sources.

May also state an "intent." E.g. “The seven steps to making a good spaghetti sauce, one with the finest aromas, will be explained in detail here.”

Writing Assignment

Write five good topic sentences for a 100 word paragraph on the subject, “Vancouver Weather.” If you have time, write one (or more) paragraphs on the topic.

(September 25 and 26, 2002)

See student samples for this exercise.

See two student sample paragraphs on Vancouver weather.

For more assignments, visit our Assignment Archive