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Topic Sentence

GETTING THE MAIN IDEA OF A TEXT


Topic sentence identifies
the main idea of the
paragraph.

Topic sentence also


states the point the
writer wishes to make
about the subject.

definition
ake note:
Keep in mind that the placement of the
topic sentence, or even whether a
paragraph has such a sentence, is the
individual writers choice for each specific
paragraph.
ake note:
Generally, the topic
sentence appears at the
beginning of the
paragraph.
IT IS OFTEN THE
PARAGRAPHS VERY FIRST
SENTENCE.
ake note:
A paragraphs topic
sentence must be GENERAL
ENOUGH TO EXPRESS THE
PARAGRAPHS OVERALL
SUBJECT.

But it should be SPECIFIC


ENOUGH THAT THE READER
ake note:
A paragraphs topic
sentence must be GENERAL
ENOUGH TO EXPRESS THE
PARAGRAPHS OVERALL
SUBJECT.

But it should be SPECIFIC


ENOUGH THAT THE READER
Unifies the paragraphs
content
Provides a road map
Gives the reader a general
sense of how the paragraph will
discuss the topic
Relates the paragraph to the
papers main claim
Supports the papers main
claim

purposes
of events
If a paragraph continues to
develop an idea already
introduced in an earlier
paragraph
If the paragraph is
relatively short and serves a
primarily transitional purpose

When a topic sentence


may not be necessary
ake note:
Sometimes, a topic
sentence may be entirely
missing from a paragraph,
and you will be asked to
choose one for it.
When choosing a topic sentence, remember
these guidelines:
The topic sentence should identify the main idea and point of the
paragraph. To choose an appropriate topic sentence, read the
paragraph and think about its main idea and point.
The supporting details in the paragraph (the sentences other than
the topic sentence) will develop or explain the topic sentence. Read
all the supporting details in the paragraph and think about the
ideas they discuss.
The topic sentence should not be too general or too specific. When
considering the options, look for a topic sentence that is general
enough to show the paragraphs main idea instead of just one of its
details. The answer should be specific enough that the reader
understands the main idea of the paragraph.
Placement of a Topic Sentence
At the beginning of the paragraph
At the middle of the paragraph
At the beginning and at the middle of the
paragraph
At the end of the paragraph
At the beginning and at the end of the paragraph
Topic sentence omitted
Identify the Topic Sentence
Constructing a wedding cake is a complicated process. Before any
baking takes place, the size of the cake and the decorative design to be
used must be determined. Then the layers are baked. On a large cake the
bottom layers may be as much as sixteen inches in diameter. Because of
their size, these layers must be baked one at a time, a process which may
actually take an entire day. Once the layers are cooled, same-size pairs
are matched and frosted. Since large wedding cakes are surprisingly
heavy, half-inch dowel rods must be measured, cut, and carefully driven
into the bottom layers. These wooden posts provide hidden support for
the weighty upper layers. When all the layers are set in place, flowers,
garlands and leaves of frosting are added. These delicate touches
individualize the wedding cake and transform it from merely a cake into a
culinary work of art.
Topic Sentence
Constructing a wedding cake is a complicated process. Before any
baking takes place, the size of the cake and the decorative design to be
used must be determined. Then the layers are baked. On a large cake the
bottom layers may be as much as sixteen inches in diameter. Because of
their size, these layers must be baked one at a time, a process which may
actually take an entire day. Once the layers are cooled, same-size pairs
are matched and frosted. Since large wedding cakes are surprisingly
heavy, half-inch dowel rods must be measured, cut, and carefully driven
into the bottom layers. These wooden posts provide hidden support for
the weighty upper layers. When all the layers are set in place, flowers,
garlands and leaves of frosting are added. These delicate touches
individualize the wedding cake and transform it from merely a cake into a
culinary work of art.
Identify the Topic Sentence
People do it everyday. They log on to their favorite website
and browse for hours, checking out bargains. They dump every
possible wish into their shopping carts, knowing they can cast
each one aside before they finalize their purchases. On the
way, they may enter a sweepstakes in the hopes of winning a
trip to Cabo San Lucas, or maybe even a new SUV. And then,
when they have decided on their purchases, they enter private
information without giving it a thought. With a keystroke, they
release their personal data into what may or may not be a
secure zone. Despite what much of the public believes,
internet shopping is not safe.
Topic Sentence
People do it everyday. They log on to their favorite website
and browse for hours, checking out bargains. They dump every
possible wish into their shopping carts, knowing they can cast
each one aside before they finalize their purchases. On the
way, they may enter a sweepstakes in the hopes of winning a
trip to Cabo San Lucas, or maybe even a new SUV. And then,
when they have decided on their purchases, they enter private
information without giving it a thought. With a keystroke, they
release their personal data into what may or may not be a
secure zone. Despite what much of the public believes,
internet shopping is not safe.
Identify the Topic Sentence
When a camera flash is used in a low-light environment, the
subject's eyes may appear red in the finished photograph.
What is known as "red-eye" is the result of light from the flash
reflecting off the pupils of the eyes. The phenomenon of red-
eye can be lessened by using the red-eye reduction feature
found on many SLR cameras. This feature activates a lamp
which shines a small light directly into the subject's eyes.
When this happens, the diameter of the pupil is reduced, thus
tightening the opening in the iris. Since a smaller pupil means
a smaller host for the reflection, the chances of red-eye
occurring are greatly reduced.
Topic Sentence
When a camera flash is used in a low-light environment, the
subject's eyes may appear red in the finished photograph.
What is known as "red-eye" is the result of light from the flash
reflecting off the pupils of the eyes. The phenomenon of red-
eye can be lessened by using the red-eye reduction feature
found on many SLR cameras. This feature activates a lamp
which shines a small light directly into the subject's eyes.
When this happens, the diameter of the pupil is reduced, thus
tightening the opening in the iris. Since a smaller pupil means
a smaller host for the reflection, the chances of red-eye
occurring are greatly reduced.
Identify the Topic Sentence
Throwing a clay pot, the age old art of making pottery on a wheel, is a process that
requires many steps. Assuming the potter does not have to make his own clay, the first
step toward the finished product is wedging the clay. Here, the potter kneads the clay to
prepare it for throwing. Wedging cannot be rushed. A minimum of fifty turns is required to
rid the clay of air pockets and align its molecules. Once wedged and formed into a ball, the
clay is thrown onto the center of a potter's wheel. Now the material must be centered.
Centering not only takes strength but time as well. The clay must be coerced into a
perfectly symmetrical shape, dead center on the spinning wheel. To proceed with poorly
centered clay is to court certain disaster in the form of tilting, uneven pots, or worse, the
total collapse of the piece. When correctly centered, the clay is ready to be opened. To do
this, the potter finds the center of the clay and slowly sinks a rigid finger into the still-
spinning clay. Only now can the clay be shaped. With a steady but gentle hand, the potter
pulls up the sides of the pot until the desired height is reached. Now the shaping is
completed and the pot is ready to be dried, fired, and glazed. Thus, even though a clay pot
may appear simple to make, fashioning one by hand is a long and sometimes tedious
process.
Topic Sentence
Throwing a clay pot, the age old art of making pottery on a wheel, is a process that
requires many steps. Assuming the potter does not have to make his own clay, the first
step toward the finished product is wedging the clay. Here, the potter kneads the clay to
prepare it for throwing. Wedging cannot be rushed. A minimum of fifty turns is required to
rid the clay of air pockets and align its molecules. Once wedged and formed into a ball, the
clay is thrown onto the center of a potter's wheel. Now the material must be centered.
Centering not only takes strength but time as well. The clay must be coerced into a
perfectly symmetrical shape, dead center on the spinning wheel. To proceed with poorly
centered clay is to court certain disaster in the form of tilting, uneven pots, or worse, the
total collapse of the piece. When correctly centered, the clay is ready to be opened. To do
this, the potter finds the center of the clay and slowly sinks a rigid finger into the still-
spinning clay. Only now can the clay be shaped. With a steady but gentle hand, the potter
pulls up the sides of the pot until the desired height is reached. Now the shaping is
completed and the pot is ready to be dried, fired, and glazed. Thus, even though a clay pot
may appear simple to make, fashioning one by hand is a long and sometimes tedious
process.
Identify the Topic Sentence
Oranges contain Vitamin C, a vitamin that
people widely recognize as helpful in maintaining
immunity and fighting colds. The high potassium
and low sodium contents in bananas help regulate
blood pressure. Apples have fiber, which benefits
the bodys digestive system. The antioxidants in
blueberries aid the body in many ways, including
by reducing free radicals.
Topic Sentence
Fruits contain many nutrients and offer a variety
of health benefits. Oranges contain Vitamin C, a
vitamin that people widely recognize as helpful in
maintaining immunity and fighting colds. The high
potassium and low sodium contents in bananas
help regulate blood pressure. Apples have fiber,
which aids the bodys digestive system. The
antioxidants in blueberries aid the body in many
ways, including by reducing free radicals.