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Mini-Module: How to Write Good Paragraphs

Topic Sentences

Skills for Learning LogoTopic Sentences Page 4 of 6

It is a good idea to only have one point per paragraph.

You state this point at the beginning of the paragraph - it's called the "Topic Sentence".

After you have stated your point you then need to support it. 

But... What makes a good topic sentence?

Video Activity

In the video below, two students are discussing their plans for a 2000-word assignment essay about the Olympic games in the 21st Century. We see them as they are trying to decide on a good topic sentence for a paragraph.

At any time you can pause, go back or jump ahead.

The transcript for this video is below.


Video Transcript

Student A: …OK, moving on. what’s your point going to be in your next paragraph?

Student B: The modern Olympics started in 1896.

Student A: Yes, but what’s your point?

Student B: The modern Olympics is about 120 years old – know what I mean?

Student A: OK, but that’s still just a fact - what’s your actual point?

Student B: The world has changed a lot since 1896.

Student A: That’s true, but what are you trying to say?

Student B: We shouldn’t expect the Olympics to carry on exactly the same every year.

Student A: That’s more interesting - so what’s your point?

Student B: The Olympics has to be open to change.

Student A: OK, that’s more like a point, but change In what way? What’s your point?

Student B: In a changing world, the Olympics have to develop constantly to keep up with the times.

Student A: OK, but that’s still quite general - It sounds more like a thesis statement for the whole essay. What’s your specific point for this paragraph?

Student B: in order to keep up with changing attitudes to social justice, the Olympics should have affirmative action for athletes from oppressed minorities.

Student A: Now that’s a real point. Make it your topic sentence and back it up with some examples and you’ll have a great paragraph!

End of video


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