WRITING / Topic Sentences

 Topic Sentences

Topic Sentence / paragraph Leader / Controlling idea

 

 

•    Is a strong first sentence which presents the main idea of your paragraph.

•    Topic sentences make a point and then the paragraph gives reasons or examples to support it.

•    They usually start a paragraph.

•    Often short, clear, simple and to the point.

The topic sentence must connect to the main body of the paragraph

Many fast-food chains make their profits from adding a special ingredient called "forget sauce" to their foods. Made largely from edible oil products, this condiment is never listed on the menu. In addition, this well-kept industry secret is the reason why ingredients are never listed on the packaging of victuals sold by these restaurants. 'Forget sauce' has a chemical property which causes temporary amnesia in consumers. After spending too much money on barely edible food bereft of any nutritional value, most consumers swear they will never repeat such a disagreeable experience. Within a short period, however, the chemical in 'forget sauce' takes effect, and they can be depended upon to return and spend, older but no wiser.

 Analysis of the paragraph:   

look at how the topic sentence links to ideas developed in the paragraph

 

  • Many fast food chains make their profits from adding a special ingredient called 'forget sauce' to their foods

  • Made from largely edible oil products, this condiment is never listed on the menu

  • In addition, this well kept industry secret is the reason why ingredients are never listed on the packaging of products sold by these restaurants.

  • Forget sauce has a chemical property which causes temporary amnesia in consumers.

  • After spending too much money on barely edible food bereft of any nutritional value, most consumers swear they will never repeat such a disagreeable experience.

  • Within a short period, however, the chemical in forget sauce takes effect, and they can be depended upon return and spend, older but no wiser

         Source: http://www.writingcentre.uottawa.ca/hypergrammar/partopic.html

More examples:

Example 1:

 

Margaret Thatcher’s policies were dominated by the philosophy of individual freedom and self-reliance. During the years of the Thatcher governments Britons experienced cuts in welfare payments and drastic legal restrictions on trade unions. Public industries were sold off to private investors in the belief that the free market would deliver prosperity to all.

Margaret Thatcher’s policies were dominated by the philosophy of individual freedom and self-reliance. During the years of the Thatcher governments Britons experienced cuts in welfare payments and drastic legal restrictions on trade unions. Public industries were sold off to private investors in the belief that the free market would deliver prosperity to all.

Exercises to practice topic sentences

1)_____________________________________________________________________________________

First, Canada has an excellent health care system. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Second, Canada has a high standard of education. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Finally, Canada's cities are clean and efficiently managed. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. As a result, Canada is a desirable place to live

2)_____________________________________________________________________________________

Although student surveys always show students like to have access to materials online, the take up of purely online courses is low. When questioned, students find that studying online can be a lonely and unsatisfying experience. Not only do students miss the human interaction with other students, they also find the time lag in getting answers to their questions very frustrating.

3)_____________________________________________________________________________________

Research shows that countries with high levels of immigration are economically successful and that there is a correlation between a mobile labour force and economic prosperity. Immigration serves as an important source of both skilled and unskilled labour in the UK which has come to depend on migrants to plug gaps in its skilled professions and to do jobs that the local population are unwilling to do.

4)_____________________________________________________________________________________

Britain had an empire at this time and Germany wanted a similar role in the world. This meant having a strong navy so the Germans spent a considerable amount of time and effort building up its naval force. Britain responded to this threat to its dominance by strengthening its navy even further. This ‘naval race’ contributed to the increase in tension between the two countries.

#Possible Answers: download the worksheet 0.50p below

 Topic sentences - development & support

 

Write a paragraph using one of the topic sentences - include support, example and a concluding sentence

 

1.People can avoid cybercrime by taking three main precautions. 

2. There are several advantages to living and working in a small town.

3. Air pollution in London is the worst in the world for number of reasons.

4. Most UK universities require an IELTS score of 6.5 for number of key reasons

Six more topic sentence starters - download worksheet 50p

Topic Sentences lesson sheets - download

  

 

Topic Sentences - the basics

This lesson takes students through 'noticing' how a topic sentence links to development. Then writing topic sentences from the content of paragraph and then writing the paragraph from a topic sentence..  Time: 60mins    Level ***** [B1/B2/C1]

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Academic Paragraph Example (linking): The Changes with Ageing

 

The changes with ageing might influence older peoples’ purchasing behaviour and online usage. The process of ageing continues through human life. It starts early and gradually develops, and people tend to feel the effects of ageing from middle to the later stages of their life (Bond et al. 2007). After reaching around age 50, people tend to experience various changes that can affect older consumers’ behaviour (Pak and Kambil 2006). From perspective of gerontology, Bond et al. (2007) propose three theoretical perspectives about ageing: biological, psychological and social changes. Regarding biological perspective, they describe the decline in cells and tissues. These changes cause a deterioration of peoples’ vision, hearing, muscles, skin and overall body shape, and then the biological changes influence older peoples’ physical abilities of mobility and flexibility (Pak and Kambil 2006). They would affect their needs and choices of products and services in order to supplement the declines. Concerning the Internet, Mcmellon and Schiffman (2002) suggest it would be beneficial for older peoples to use the Internet for a way of communication, information search and financial matters due to their limited mobility. Psychological transitions emerge as a distortion of cognitive capability, especially, in terms of the decline of memory and information processing capabilities (Pak and Kambil 2006). For example, the differences can impact cognitive processes underlying brand awareness and information searches, and then attitude towards learning new information tends to decline with ageing (ibid). Finally, social changes mean that the role and network sift in family and social place (Bond et al. 2007). Some of the elderly who have married children tend to have grandchildren and others might start to prepare retirement or retire earlier. Some older people tend to ask their children for advice about their purchases in order to complement their lack of knowledge about new products and services (Baron 2008).

As a result of these three changes: biological, psychological and sociological, their consumption pattern can be affected such as the increase in spending for travel or gifts for grandchildren (Pak and Kambil 2006). However, Bond et al. (2007) comment the changes vary from peoples’ gene, lifestyle and attitude to life. In addition, they also mention biological ageing tends to connect with chronological age, whereas psychological and sociological changes differ from individuals even if chronological age is same (ibid). Therefore, it would be necessary to take account individual difference when their behaviours are examined.