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acAdvanced Composition 
The Best Topic Sentences

May 12, 2004


 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.

For example: “More people choose to watch news on TV than to read the more in-depth articles of a newspaper; their choice leads to a dangerous lack of knowledge of world events.”

May also state an "intent."

For example: “Here are seven steps for making an Italian-style pasta sauce.”

Writing Assignment:

Write five good topic sentences for a 100 word paragraph on the subject, “Vancouver Weather.” For next class, write one (or more) paragraphs on the topic. A good exercise is writing two paragraphs, each with a different topic sentence.

See the student rules and examples.



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