The ability to write a successful essay begins with the ability to write a strong paragraph.
So I want to talk about basic paragraph structure and a little bit about what makes an effective paragraph so every paragraph has the same three basic components you have your topic sentence your supporting sentences in your concluding sentence now.
The topic sentence is important because it’s the main idea of the entire paragraph the supporting sentences have one job which is to develop the main idea or to support the topic sentence with examples detail explanation the concluding sentence is there to give the paragraph closure and to touch upon the main idea to give the reader the idea that the topic is now finished and that you’re moving on to something else.
So the entire paragraph stems from the topic sentence so it’s very really important to have a strong topic sentence let’s look at an example of a good one taking too many university courses at once can have potentially serious consequences so this is a strong topic sentence for a couple reasons one it has a clear topic in this case taken to any university courses at once also it has a main idea in this case potentially serious consequences it’s also effective because it gives the reader an idea of what kind of paragraph they’re going to be reading whether it’s descriptive narrative opinion based comparison now in this case it’s clearly going to be a paragraph discussing the effects of taking too many courses all right now let’s look at for example topic sentences you can even pause the video for a minute and look at these four sentences and decide which do you think is the strongest topic sentence here you alright that was actually a bit of a trick question because none of these four sentences are strong topic sentences.
Each of them is problematic in one way or another so let’s look at the number one four to five teenagers in Canada have cell phones now the problem with that is that it’s a fact and therefore it’s too specific it’s too narrow to be a topic sentence there’s no idea to develop and you’re in your supporting sentences. Number two driving is very stressful that’s also problematic but for the opposite reason it’s too broad it’s too big of an idea you have to be more specific less generalized driving where or when stressful for whom number three how I learned to be more patient now this is a good topic but it’s not a topic sentence because it’s incomplete make sure that your topic sentence has a clear subject verb and is a completed idea.
Number four in this paragraph I would like to discuss the importance of food in Italian culture now this is a common mistake in topic sentences don’t announce your topic don’t tell the reader what you’re going to discuss simply state your opinion or your main idea now let’s look at some revised versions of those sentences to see some improvements number one cell phones should be banned from classrooms for several reasons now this is good because there’s now an opinion is no longer a fact and the writer has taken a clear position number two driving on the highway and heavy traffic is stressful for many motorists again this is better because now it’s more specific three having a child taught me the importance of being patient an improvement because you now have a clear subject verb and a complete thought and number four.
Food is an essential part of Italian culture you’re no longer announcing what you’re going to discuss so that’s much better why don’t you follow the link at the end of this video if you’re interested in trying an exercise that’s connected to this.