Presentation on theme: "Understanding Paragraphs and Topic Sentences Worth Weller."— Presentation transcript:
Understanding Paragraphs and Topic Sentences Worth Weller
The Paragraph… Stephen King maintains that the paragraph is the basic unit of writing
The Paragraph… “I would argue that the paragraph, not the sentence, is the basic unit of writing— the place where coherence begins and words stand a chance of becoming more than mere words.”
What is a paragraph? A paragraph is a collection of related sentences dealing with a single topic.
Effective paragraphs To be as effective as possible, a paragraph should contain each of the following: Unity a Topic Sentence, and Adequate Development.
Unity The entire paragraph should concern itself with a single focus. If it begins with one focus or major point of discussion, it should not end with another or wander within different ideas. http://www.greenville.k12.sc.us/taylorse
The Topic Sentence A topic sentence is a sentence that indicates in a general way what idea or thesis the paragraph is going to deal with. It comes at the beginning of the paragraph. coe.jmu.edu/learningtoolbox/ibc.html
The Topic Sentence… Needs to be: Clear Specific Well focused http://www.hostos.cuny.edu/oaa/act/ACTtransformreasons.htm
Formula A topic sentence = a limited topic + a specific feeling or thought or assertion about that topic Example: The fear that Americans feel (limited topic) comes partly from the uncertainty related to this attack (a specific thought about the topic)
Paragraph Development Use examples and illustrations Cite data (facts, statistics, evidence, details) Examine testimony (what other people say such as quotes and paraphrases) Use an anecdote or story Define terms in the paragraph http://www.greenville.k12.sc.us/taylorse
Paragraph Development Compare and contrast… or evaluate causes and reasons… or examine effects and consequences… or analyze the topic… or describe the topic.. or offer a chronology of an event. www.emporia.edu/writinglab/paragraphs.html
Maintaining Your Own Voice Make sure all the topic sentences are your own words and your own thoughts Do NOT quote your sources to make your points Use your sources ONLY to support your points (not to make them) Make sure all paragraphs begin with your own words, thoughts and feelings
Summary Put only one main idea per paragraph. Aim for three to five sentences per paragraph. Make sure each paragraph starts with the point you want to make in that paragraph (the topic sentence) Develop each topic thoroughly, with transitional elements and a sentence that “rounds off” the paragraph.Develop Include on each page about three paragraphs. Look at your paper to check for “balanced” paragraphsLook