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Recognize Purpose and Audience
Recognize Unity, Focus, and Development in Writing
Recognize Effective Organization in Writing
Recognize Effective Sentences
Recognize Edited American English Usage
Revision Strategies
Apply Revision Strategies to Topic Sentences
Apply Revision Strategies to the Thesis Sentence
Practice Writing Tests
Write an Organized, Developed Composition

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Revision Strategies

Apply Revision Strategies to Topic Sentences

A good topic sentence is neither too general nor too specific. A topic sentence should be:

  1. general enough to include all the information in the paragraph.

  2. specific enough to discuss completely in a single paragraph.

For example, how many sentences do you think it would take to support this topic sentence adequately?

Today, laws ensure that disabled people can lead normal lives.

Would the paragraph discuss the Federal and State legislation? All kinds of disabilities? Opportunities for employment? Access to buildings? Enforcement of these laws? One paragraph could not discuss all of these areas. The topic sentence is not specific enough.

A better topic sentence for a paragraph might be:

Today, federal laws ensure that physicall disabled people have access to public buildings.

Notice how both the subject and the direction are more specific in the final, revised topic sentence.

Select the topic sentences below that are too general for a paragraph. Revise them by limiting the subject and what the paragraph will show about it. Be sure the final topic sentence is narrow enough to discuss completely in a paragraph. Answers will vary.

You can do many things to get in shape.
Check answer

There are many ways to prepare for a career.
Check answer

Modern machines make life easier.
Check answer

Clothes can reveal a person's personality.
Check answer

Math is often used on the job.
Check answer