By Sue Gench
First, review the parts of a paragraph below. Then do the exercises. Also see steps to write a good paragraph
The Parts of a Paragraph:
The Introductory topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph. A good topic sentence gives a general idea, not specific.
I love soft rock's rich music.
I love soft rock songs mixing all kinds of instruments and romantic lyrics.
Which one of these statements gives a general idea? If you said "I love soft rock's rich music," you are right. The first statement is a general idea about what kind of music the author likes, the second are reasons for why the author likes soft rock. See more about the main topic sentence.
There are two different paragraphs in the following. Write a topic sentence for each paragraph.
Until last year, in front of the school a large vacant lot spread into the street. Kids played in the lot. It was dangerous because glass and cans were lying around. However, the kids had no other place to play unless they wanted to play in the street. But, with all voluntary neighborhood funds we turned the lot into a playground. Local business has donated playground equipment and money. We all pitched in to clean up the lot. The city provided a trash truck to haul the junk away.
My sister and her husband live in Texas. He is in the military and she is a teacher. They have three beautiful children. Ron, Dan and Tanya. They live in a large house in the suburb. They want to cultivate a garden in the large backyard of the house next year.
Look at these sentences above again.
I love soft rock's rich music.
Soft rock mixes all kinds of instruments, rhythms and lyrics.
The second sentence is a good example for a supporting sentence. A good supporting sentence states specific details to explain the topic sentence. Do you see how this sentence gives the reasons in detail why the author favors the soft rock music?
Good supporting sentences provide details. Supporting sentences can also provide examples. Below are more examples for good supporting sentences.
Exercise 2: Add one more supporting sentence of your own to the end of the paragraph.
Soft rock instruments range from most traditional instruments such as piano, to most modern such as a new mouth piece. For example, the song by Lionel Richie, I Call It Love, includes several instruments. (Add your supporting sentence here.)
Using the Internet, find some articles of your interest. Read first two sentences in the articles and then write two different paragraphs. Make sure you understand the topic. Then complete each paragraph by adding two or more sentences. It doesn't matter if you stray from the facts. The purpose of this exercise is to help you write coherent paragraphs with a topic sentence and supporting sentences. Remember, each sentence you add on must give new information about the topic. You can repeat this exercise over and over again. For more instruction in writing, please see the writing lessons list. For grammar, see Grammar Lessons.
The conclusion sentence sumps up the paragraph. It is usually more general than the supporting sentences. It gives the reader the final assurance of the topic statement and supporting sentences. Now, here is the conclusion sentence for the topic above, I love soft rock's rich music.
Because of the richness in instrument, melody and lyrics, I enjoy soft rock very much.
Notice that this sentence pulls together all the ideas and restates the main idea.
Let's put together all the supporting sentences together now:
I love soft rock's rich music. The soft rock genre mixes all kinds of instruments, rhythms and lyrics. Instruments in soft rock can range from most traditional such as piano, to most modern such as a new mouth piece. To me, one great soft rock song is Lionel Richie's I call it love. This song includes several instruments that help to produce a wide range of sounds for a colorful melody. Because of its richness in instrument, melody and lyrics, I enjoy soft rock very much.
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