com150_manual_writing_process[1]

com150_manual_writing_process[1] - The Writing Process 4...

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Unformatted text preview: The Writing Process 4 Build effective paragraphs. Except for special-purpose paragraphs, such as intro- ductions and conclusions (see 2a and 2c), paragraphs are clusters of information supporting an essays main point (or advancing a storys action). Aim for para- graphs that are clearly focused, well developed, orga- nized, coherent, and neither too long nor too short for easy reading. 4a Focus on a main point. A paragraph should be unified around a main point.The point should be clear to readers, and all sentences in the paragraph should relate to it. Stating the main point in a topic sentence As readers move into a paragraph, they need to know where they arein relation to the whole essayand what to expect in the sentences to come. A good topic sentence, a one-sentence summary of the paragraphs main point, acts as a signpost pointing in two directions: backward toward the thesis of the essay and forward to- ward the body of the paragraph. Like a thesis sentence (see 1c and 2a), a topic sen- tence is more general than the material supporting it. Usually the topic sentence (italicized in the following examples) comes first in the paragraph. Nearly all living creatures manage some form of communication. The dance patterns of bees in their hive help to point the way to distant flower fields or announce successful foraging. Male stickleback fish regularly swim upside-down to indicate outrage in a courtship contest. Male deer and lemurs mark territo- rial ownership by rubbing their own body secretions on boundary stones or trees. Everyone has seen a frightened dog put his tail between his legs and run in panic. We, too, use gestures, expressions, postures, and movement to give our words point. [Italics added.] Olivia Vlahos, Human Beginnings Sometimes the topic sentence is introduced by a transitional sentence linking it to earlier material. In the following paragraph, the topic sentence has been delayed to allow for a transition. 2 But flowers are not the only source of spectacle in the wilderness. An opportunity for late color is provided by the berries of wildflowers, shrubs, and trees. Bane- berry presents its tiny white flowers in spring but in late summer bursts forth with clusters of red berries. Bunchberry, a ground-cover plant, puts out red berries in the fall, and the red berries of wintergreen last from autumn well into winter. In California, the bright red, fist-sized clusters of Christmas berries can be seen growing beside highways for up to six months of the year. [Italics added.] James Crockett et al., Wildflower Gardening Occasionally the topic sentence may be withheld until the end of the paragraphbut only if the earlier sentences hang together so well that readers perceive their direction, if not their exact point.The opening sen- tences of the following paragraph state facts, so they are supporting material rather than topic sentences, but they strongly suggest a central idea. The topic sentence at the end is hardly a surprise.at the end is hardly a surprise....
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com150_manual_writing_process[1] - The Writing Process 4...

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