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Topic Sentences and Controlling Ideas

The building blocks of an essay, developing strong topic sentences and controlling ideas help readers follow along.
by

Lynette Surie

on 12 September 2012

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Transcript of Topic Sentences and Controlling Ideas

You can end up with a great essay Break up those Paragraphs Topic Sentences Developing Controlling Ideas a group of related sentences that express a main idea; What is a Paragraph? A topic sentence or controlling idea
helps readers follow the path from one paragraph to the next the steps from one paragraph to the next are easy to follow When you are clear in your controlling idea Each break is a transition from one idea to the next. in dialogue, breaks indicate shifts between speakers. Topic sentences can appear anywhere in a paragraph Topic sentence: a general statement supported by the detail in the rest of the paragraph. They need to be specific enough to be memorable, because they help readers remember the writer's main points. General statement:
Students need self-discipline to succeed in college. More specific topic sentence:
Students need self-discipline to concentrate on their studies, avoid distractions, and manage their time. Not all paragraphs have a nice topic sentence that you can underline, let alone parallel construction! If the details are unnecessary or don't relate, get rid of them or start a new paragraph. A paragraph must have unity and purpose, topic sentence or not. All ideas in a paragraph should relate to a clear point that readers will be able to understand easily. Remember Following this advice puts you on the path to a well-structured essay Thesis
Statement Look at your notes and consider new ideas you may have added. Paragraphs should organize main points and demonstrate transitions. What ideas are most important? What are the main ideas? Revising
Paragraphs AKA the most important topic sentence because it rules the whole essay! Paragraph breaks show where one person stops talking and another begins. Dialogue:
The tired teacher explained, "dialogue in writing repeats what people have said word-for-word using quotations." Working on the smaller parts (i.e., sentence & paragraph) can help to create essays with larger impact by controlling the smaller steps Transitions - The language that shows the connection or relationship between your ideas. This makes them easier to follow and creates a flow through your essay. Parallel Construction - "The Rule of Three" For topic sentences, listing three specifics will help you track the like details that belong in the paragraph. Tossing out details that don't work give you space for those that do. Not everything we write will be Shakespeare. Don't fear the delete key... a building block;
each presents a single main idea. They allow readers to absorb ideas by creating a pause. "Oh," said the student, "so I have to use quotation marks and stuff?" The teacher let out an exasperated "yes....you have to use quotation marks and stuff. Any more questions?" "Um, no, I don't think so." "Okay, just make sure if you use dialogue in your essays, it adds value." "Wait...hold up. What? What's 'value' mean?" "I meant, you are adding dialogue to get a feel for your characters--bring them to life if you will--or highlight a conversation that is best related out of a character's mouth to your readers' minds directly. It is better to let characters speak than to keep telling the gist of what happened." "Oh, okay, so like, you can add the funniest parts of a story or write it like someone says it to get an idea of who someone is, right?" "Bingo." In a thesis statement (in a 5 paragraph essay for example), listing three details in parallel will help track what each body paragraph will discuss. However, all paragraphs should have a controlling idea or main point that covers what the paragraph is about.
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