Associate Level Material
Topic Sentences and Supporting Paragraphs
When you write, you form paragraphs. A paragraph is a group of sentences that relate in topic and thought. A paragraph generally consists of three to five sentences and usually begins with a topic sentence. A topic sentence is a general statement that announces what the paragraph is about. By starting a paragraph with a topic sentence, your audience may immediately identify your topic. This construction also helps you, the writer, stay focused on your subject.
Consider the following example of an essay introduction:
The first sentence is the topic sentence: It tells ...view middle of the document...
Notice that the paragraph includes two different types of development: The paragraph uses analysis by breaking down how journal-writing may help a person discover self; it also uses cause-effect to explain how journal-writing may foster personal growth.
In addition to analysis and cause-effect, consider how the other supporting paragraph types might be used to develop the same topic. The following are suggestions for different types of development:
• Examples and illustrations: Provide specific examples of people that have journaled—as in the introduction—or illustrate how a person goes about journaling.
• Data, facts, historical, or personal details: Research journal-writing to find statistics or facts on how journal-writing may help an individual or add your own personal experience, if it is relevant.
• A simple story or narrative: Tell a story of how someone was changed through the process of journaling.
• Descriptions: Describe a journal, include visuals, or include physical descriptions and impressions of people and places mentioned in the journal.
• Division and classification: Separate journals into different types, such as historical journals and personal journals and then separate those divisions into further categories.
• Process analysis: Provide step-by-step directions explaining how to create a journal.
• Definitions: Define journals according to their different uses.
• Comparison-contrast: Compare and contrast journal-writing with other types of therapeutic or narrative writing.
• Argument: Argue that journal-writing must be required in school or that everyone must keep a journal for the sake of future generations.
You may support the topic of journal-writing in many different ways; the possibilities are really endless. If you find yourself unable to think of what to write, choose one of the above supporting paragraph types and write a paragraph related to your topic using that development style.
You learn about writing concluding paragraphs later in this course.
Transitions are words used to move readers smoothly from one sentence to another or from one paragraph to another. Think of transitions as traffic signals alerting readers to the direction your writing takes, based on the relationship between the ideas within or between paragraphs.
Examples of Transitions
The following are examples of relationships between words and examples of transitional words:
|Relationship |Example of Transitions |
| | |
|To show similarity between two ideas |Additionally |