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The Writing Process: Paragraph Structure

A paragraph is a collection of sentences that develops one idea.

A topic sentence introduces a paragraph and is typically the first sentence in the paragraph. The topic sentence should be limited enough in scope so that it can be adequately developed in six to eight sentences.

Poor Examples:

    There are many things that cause cancer.

    This topic sentence is poor because it is vague: “many things” is not very specific. The topic is also too broad to discuss in six to eight sentences. In fact, a book could be written on this topic.

    The Dixie Chicks won “Record of the Year” at the 2007 Grammy Awards.

    This topic sentence is poor because it is too limited. This is a statement of fact, so requires no further support.

Good Examples:

    Friday is the best day of the week to go out for dinner.
    Before you sign a rental agreement, you first need to inspect three main areas of the apartment.

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