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Topic Controlling idea


Compiled by B.Jolamanova





A paragraph is a basic unit of organization in writing in which a group of related sentences develops one main idea. Such sentences are usually linked by logical connectives. A paragraph can be as short as one sentence or as long as ten sentences. The paragraph should be long enough to develop the main idea clearly. A paragraph may stand by itself (i.e. to answer a test question). A paragraph may also be one part of a longer price of writing such as a chapter of a book or an essay.




A paragraph has three major structural parts: 1) a topic sentence, 2) supporting sentences, and 3) a concluding sentence.


1) The topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph. It names the topic of the paragraph and limits it to one or two specific areas called the controlling idea. Notice how the topic sentence of the model states both the topic and the controlling idea:

Topic Controlling idea

Gold, a precious metal, is prized for two important characteristics.


The topic sentence is usually the first, the most important and the most general statement in the paragraph. The following is an example of a general statement that could serve a topic sentence:

The Arabic origin of many English words is not always obvious.


2) Supporting sentences develop the topic sentence. That is, they explain the topic sentence by giving reasons, examples, facts, statistics, and quotations. Some of the supporting sentences that explain the topic sentence about gold are:

First of all, gold has a lustrous beauty that is resistant to corrosion. The most recent use of gold is in astronautsí suits.


3) The concluding sentence signals the end of the paragraph and sums up the important points to remember: In conclusion, gold is treasured not only for its beauty but also for its utility.

The concluding sentence is not absolutely necessary; in fact, a concluding sentence is not necessary for every paragraph in a multi-paragraph essay. However, it is helpful for the reader in single paragraphs, especially long ones. A concluding sentence serves three purposes:

∑ It signals the end of paragraph.

∑ It summarizes the main points of the paragraph.

∑ It gives a final comment on the topic and leaves the reader with the most important ideas to think about.



Date: 2015-01-11; view: 2040

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