While all paragraphs have a main topic not all of

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While all paragraphs have a main topic, not all of them have clear orobvious topic sentences. Some don’t have a topic sentence at all.Instead, as a reader, you must read the entire paragraph anddetermine what it’s about. Later in this study lesson, you’ll learn moreabout paragraphs that have no clear topic sentence.To help you understand how paragraphs are constructed, read theshort article about American government in the figure below.Page 3Copyright Penn Foster, Inc. 2019Course Version: 1
[We the People Article]This article is a good illustration of how paragraphs are constructed.In the figure, the first paragraph introduces the subject: the threedivisions of the federal government in the United States. Each of thesentences introduces these three divisions. Then, each of theremaining paragraphs explains one of these divisions in turn. Thesecond paragraph is about the executive branch. The third paragraphis about the legislative branch. The fourth paragraph is about thePage 4Copyright Penn Foster, Inc. 2019Course Version: 1
judicial branch. In each of these paragraphs, the topic sentence iseasy to find. The final paragraph summarizes the main idea.Note the difference between a main idea and a topic sentence. Themainideais what the entire piece is about. In this case, it’s about thethree branches of the American government. The topic sentence is thestatement in each paragraph that tells you what will be discussed inthat particular paragraph. Topic sentences should always support theoverall main idea.Indenting ParagraphsNotice that each paragraph in the article in the figure is indented. Thefirst line of a paragraph is indented to show that a new paragraph isbeginning. Therefore, you’ll find five indented lines in the article—onefor each of the five paragraphs.Of course, paragraphs aren’t always indented. For example, read theexcerpt from an email in the next figure). Instead of indenting eachparagraph, the author has added an extra line space between them.This is known asblock style. It’s important to know which style you’vebeen instructed to use for each assignment.Page 5Copyright Penn Foster, Inc. 2019Course Version: 1
[Paragraph with Breaks Insstead of Indents]Instead of indenting the first line of each paragraph, the writer of thisemail chose to separate the paragraphs with an extra space.The simplest way to indent a paragraph is with the Tab key on yourkeyboard. When you wish to begin a new paragraph, hit theEnterorReturnkey to finish the current one. Then, before adding any moretext, press theTabkey. This will automatically indent your newparagraph.Remember: atopic sentencedescribes the main idea of a particularparagraph. All of your topic sentences contribute toward themain ideaof your essay.

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