A paragraph is a group of sentences that share one main idea. One paragraph may be complete on its own or it may be part of a longer assignment, like an essay or a report. Every paragraph has the same three parts:
- Topic Sentence
- Supporting Sentences
- Concluding Sentence
A topic sentence introduces the main idea of a paragraph, so every paragraph needs a topic sentence. It lets the reader know what the rest of the sentences in the paragraph will be about. It is usually the first or second sentence within a paragraph. Here are some examples of strong topic sentences:
- Living with a roommate is better than living alone.
- A view from the Rocky Mountains was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
- Parents should put their children in music class at an early age.
A good topic sentence will also tell the reader what kind of paragraph he or she will be reading.
- Living with a roommate is better than living alone. Comparison
- A view from the Rocky Mountains was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Description
- Parents should put their children in music class at an early age. Opinion
The main idea can't be too general or specific. If it is too specific, the supporting sentences will have nothing to describe; therefore, your topic sentence should not be a fact. Also, if it is too general, the topic sentence will be too unclear or there will be too much to write in just one paragraph. In addition, we do not announce our topics in paragraphs. Here are some examples of weak topic sentences:
- In my country, children start school in September.
- Too specific
- School is terrible.
- Too general
- I want to write about my first day at school.
- Do not announce your topic
One Main Idea
A paragraph should only have one main idea. The paragraph includes details and examples to explain the main idea. For example, in the paragraph below, the main idea is in the first sentence. The rest of the paragraph explains this idea. Therefore, that first sentence is the topic sentence.
People have the power to make themselves feel better. So many people around the world live unhealthy lifestyles and don't realize that the quality of their lives could be so much higher. Every country has people who for example, eat too much junk food, get very little exercise, do not get enough sleep, smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol. Clearly, these people are not thinking so much about their health. These same people often complain about getting sick or feeling tired all the time. This is because they don't realize how they are causing their own problems. If they started considering their health more importantly, they would make changes to improve the quality of their lives.
Open the exercise to begin the activity. Follow the instructions in the document.