March 5, by April Klazema Miscommunication can be a big problem, whether you are trying to make a point in an academic paper or you are trying to send the right message in the workplace. The topic sentence is a crucial part of writing letters, emails, and papers that clearly and concisely tell the reader what you are trying to say.
Almost every piece of writing you do that is longer than a few sentences should be organized into paragraphs. This is because paragraphs show a reader where the subdivisions of an essay begin and end, and thus help the reader see the organization of the essay and grasp its main points.
Paragraphs can contain many different kinds of information. A paragraph could contain a series of brief examples or a single long illustration of a general point. It might describe a place, character, or process; narrate a series of events; compare or contrast two or more things; classify items into categories; or describe causes and effects.
Regardless of the kind of information they contain, all paragraphs share certain characteristics. One of the most important of these is a topic sentence.
A topic sentence has several important functions: Readers generally look to the first few sentences in a paragraph to determine the subject and perspective of the paragraph.
Although most paragraphs should have a topic sentence, there are a few situations when a paragraph might not need a topic sentence. For example, you might be able to omit a Topic sentence of an essay sentence in a paragraph that narrates a series of events, if a paragraph continues developing an idea that you introduced with a topic sentence in the previous paragraph, or if all the sentences and details in a paragraph clearly refer—perhaps indirectly—to a main point.
The vast majority of your paragraphs, however, should have a topic sentence. You can see this structure in paragraphs whether they are narrating, describing, comparing, contrasting, or analyzing information.
Each part of the paragraph plays an important role in communicating your meaning to your reader.
The following paragraph illustrates this pattern of organization. In front of the tiny pupil of the eye they put, on Mount Palomar, a great monocle inches in diameter, and with it see times farther into the depths of space. Or, if we want to see distant happenings on earth, they use some of the previously wasted electromagnetic waves to carry television images which they re-create as light by whipping tiny crystals on a screen with electrons in a vacuum.
Or they can bring happenings of long ago and far away as colored motion pictures, by arranging silver atoms and color-absorbing molecules to force light waves into the patterns of original reality. Or if we want to see into the center of a steel casting or the chest of an injured child, they send the information on a beam of penetrating short-wave X rays, and then convert it back into images we can see on a screen or photograph.
If a paragraph is coherent, each sentence flows smoothly into the next without obvious shifts or jumps. A coherent paragraph also highlights the ties between old information and new information to make the structure of ideas or arguments clear to the reader. If you have written a very long paragraph, one that fills a double-spaced typed page, for example, you should check it carefully to see if it should start a new paragraph where the original paragraph wanders from its controlling idea.
On the other hand, if a paragraph is very short only one or two sentences, perhapsyou may need to develop its controlling idea more thoroughly, or combine it with another paragraph. A number of other techniques that you can use to establish coherence in paragraphs are described below.
Repeat key words or phrases. Particularly in paragraphs in which you define or identify an important idea or theory, be consistent in how you refer to it. This consistency and repetition will bind the paragraph together and help your reader understand your definition or description.
Parallel structures are created by constructing two or more phrases or sentences that have the same grammatical structure and use the same parts of speech. By creating parallel structures you make your sentences clearer and easier to read.
In addition, repeating a pattern in a series of consecutive sentences helps your reader see the connections between ideas. In the paragraph above about scientists and the sense of sight, several sentences in the body of the paragraph have been constructed in a parallel way.
The parallel structures which have been emphasized help the reader see that the paragraph is organized as a set of examples of a general statement. Be consistent in point of view, verb tense, and number.
Consistency in point of view, verb tense, and number is a subtle but important aspect of coherence. Such inconsistencies can also confuse your reader and make your argument more difficult to follow. Use transition words or phrases between sentences and between paragraphs.
Transitional expressions emphasize the relationships between ideas, so they help readers follow your train of thought or see connections that they might otherwise miss or misunderstand.
AS we move from small to large animals, from mice to elephants or small lizards to Komodo dragons, brain size increases, BUT not so fast as body size. SINCE we have no reason to believe that large animals are consistently stupider than their smaller relatives, we must conclude that large animals require relatively less brain to do as well as smaller animals.
IF we do not recognize this relationship, we are likely to underestimate the mental power of very large animals, dinosaurs in particular.A topic sentence is a sentence, sometimes at the beginning of a paragraph, that states or suggests the main idea (or topic) of a paragraph.
Not all paragraphs begin with topic sentences. In some, the topic sentence appears in the middle or at the end. The best way to understand the role of the topic sentence in paragraph development is to imagine that any given paragraph is a miniature essay that has its .
Sep 30, · Re-writing your topic sentences with transition words will make your whole essay more connected. I tell students that using transition words is the easiest way to bump up their essay grade. An example of topic sentences using transition words and phrases:Reviews: A topic sentence has several important functions: it substantiates or supports an essay’s thesis statement; it unifies the content of a paragraph and directs the order of the sentences; and it advises the reader of the subject to be discussed and how the paragraph will discuss it.
The topic sentence should relate to your points and tell the reader what the subject of the paragraph will be. Beginning the paragraph with someone else's words doesn't allow you to provide this information for the reader.
Why these argumentative essay topic sentences work. The goal of an argument essay is to convince readers.
To do that, you need lots of examples and evidence to support your arguments. This means that your paragraphs will each focus on one key argument, and thus your topic sentences should do .