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Topic Sentences

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Christina Tantoy

on 7 March 2013

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Transcript of Topic Sentences

Definition First sentence in a paragraph
The most important sentence
Controlling idea shows the direction the paragraph will take Components topic + controlling idea Topic Sentences Remember! Dates are not topics
Witnesses are not topics
Cases are not topics
EASY BUT BORING. Purpose Focus the reader
Identifies main idea of paragraph Brief:
Explanation Section There, the principal punished a student for displaying a banner that the principal believed advocated illegal drug use. The principal permitted students to leave class to go to the event, where teachers and administrators monitored students' actions. The Court held that there was no uncertainty as to the school's authority on these facts; the school had authority over students because the event was school-sanctioned and school-supervised. Explanation Section: Good There, school authority extended to the off-campus event because the school allowed students to attend during regular school hours and school officials supervised students at the event. Topic: School authority at off-campus events
In an appellate brief, our topic sentences must be persuasive, so we state the explanation favorably. The rest of the paragraph explains the controlling idea, which is
everything that follows "because." ANALYSIS SECTION: BAD Joanna attended the Women's Resource Fair. ANALYSIS SECTION: GOOD Like the student in Morse, Joanna attended a school-sanctioned and school-supervised off-campus event during regular school hours. Topic: Joanna was like the student in Morse.
Controlling idea: Mirrors controlling idea in our explanation section Explanation Section Bad: One case considered whether failing a fitness test was detrimental.
Good: There, the court held that failing a test was detrimental to the employee even though the employee didn't suffer financially. State the rule of law.
Repeat "buzzwords" that you used in the thesis and rule. Topic Sentences in a Memo Topic sentences signal your reader that you are bringing up a new idea. - Focus your reader on the paragraph’s purpose.
- Guide the reader through your overall organization. Common mistake: simply naming the topic in your topic sentence. Topic Sentences in a Brief Brief topic sentences are different:
- not an objective statement of the rule...
Be persuasive!

- don’t just name topic
- assert your premises
- set the tone - sets the tone for the favorable facts & rationale to follow
- If favorable to your client, state the rule broadly.
- If unfavorable, frame the rule as narrowly as possible. Explanation Section Topic Sentence is a favorable statement of the legal rule from a case or group of cases THE END Challenge: Explanation of Fraser for Joanna The student used a graphic and elaborate sexual metaphor to describe a school government candidate. Nearly the entire student body attended the assembly because the only alternative was study hall. There, the Court held that the school could punish a student for giving an offensively lewd and vulgar speech at a school assembly.
The student used a graphic and elaborate sexual metaphor to describe a school government candidate. Nearly the entire student body attended the assembly because the only alternative was study hall. By: Shauna Güner & Christina Tantoy
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