paragraph

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

What is it?
Что это?

Параграф (абзац) представляет собой группу связанных предложений, в которых обсуждается одна (и обычно только одна) основная идея. Параграф может состоять минимум из 1 предложения, максимум, в свою очередь, не ограничен, однако он должен быть достаточно длинным, чтобы четко сформулировать основную идею.

Все параграфы содержат вводное и вспомогательные предложения, а в некоторых абзацах также содержится заключительное предложение.

 

A paragraph is a group of related sentences that discuss one (and usually only one) main idea. A paragraph can be as short as one sentence or as long as ten sentences.

The number of sentences is unimportant; however, the paragraph should be long enough to develop the main idea clearly.

All paragraphs have a topic sentence and supporting sentences, and some paragraphs also have a concluding sentence.

What does it consist of?
Из чего состоит?

Topic sentence
Вводное предложение

Вводное предложение содержит основную идею параграфа. Однако оно не только обозначает его общую тему, но и ее конкретную специфическую область этой темы – контрольную идею

Обратите внимание на пример:

 

The topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph. It not only names the topic of the paragraph, but it also limits the topic to one specific area that can be discussed completely in the space of a single paragraph. The part of the topic sentence that announces the specific area to be discussed is called the controlling idea.

Notice how the topic sentence of the model states both the topic and the controlling idea:

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence
Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

Три вещи характеризуют вводное предложение:

Paragraph Structure. Topic SentenceВводное предложение – это полное предложение: оно содержит хотя бы одно существительное и сказуемое. Также оно почти всегда стоит в начале параграфа.

Paragraph Structure. Topic SentenceВводное предложение содержит как тему, так и контрольную идею. Он называет тему, а затем ограничивает тему определенной областью, которая будет обсуждаться в параграфе.

Here are three important points to remember about a topic sentence:

Paragraph Structure. Topic SentenceA topic sentence is a complete sentence: it contains at least one subject and one verb. It is most commonly placed at the beginning of a paragraph.
Paragraph Structure. Topic SentenceA topic sentence contains both a topic and a controlling idea. It names the topic and then limits the topic to a specific area to be discussed in the space of a single paragraph.

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence
Как видите, topic sentences часто представляют список из нескольких пунктов. Например, если вам в параграфе нужно перечислить несколько причин, заявите об этом в topic sentence.
Например: There are several reasons for immigrating to Finland, namely the widespread use of English, social benefits, and the friendly character of its people. Сразу ясно, о чем и в каком порядке писать в этом параграфе.

As you may have noted, topic sentences are quite often used when a certain list consisting of several points (reasons, etc.) needs to be presented.

For example,

There are several reasons for immigrating to Finland, namely the widespread use of English, social benefits, and the friendly character of its people.

This topic sentence makes it clear what will be discussed in the paragraph and in what order.

 

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

Paragraph Structure. Topic SentenceВводное предложение – наиболее общее в параграфе, поскольку оно дает только основную идею и никаких конкретных подробностей.

Вводное предложение – это как название конкретного блюда в меню. Когда вы заказываете еду в ресторане, вы хотите узнать больше о конкретном блюде, и вам будет недостаточно таких названий как просто «мясо», «суп» или «салат». Вам нужно знать, что это конкретно за салат: может, картофельный салат, овощной или фруктовый? Вам не настолько интересны конкретные ингредиенты, насколько общая информация о блюде.

Вот пример отличного вводного предложения:

Арабское происхождение многих английских слов не всегда очевидно.

А вот следующее предложение является слишком конкретным. Ему больше подойдет роль поддерживающего  предложения, а не вводного:

Сленговое выражение so long («До свидания»), вероятно, является искажением арабского слова “Салама”.

А это предложение, напротив, является слишком общим, чтобы быть вводным:

На английский язык оказали влияние многие другие языки.

Paragraph Structure. Topic SentenceA topic sentence is the most general statement in the paragraph because it gives only the main idea. It does not give any specific details.

A topic sentence is like the name of a particular course on a restaurant menu. When you order food in a restaurant, you want to know more about a particular course than just “meat” or “soup” or “salad.” You want to know generally what kind of salad it is. Potato salad? Mixed green salad? Fruit salad? However, you do not necessarily want to know all the ingredients. Similarly, a reader wants to know generally what to expect in a paragraph, but he or she does not want to learn all the details in the first sentence.

This is a general statement that could serve as a topic sentence:

The Arabic origin of many English words is not always obvious.

The following sentence, on the other hand, is too specific. It could serve as a supporting sentence but not as a topic sentence:

The slang expression so long (meaning “goodbye”) is probably the corruption of the Arabic salaam.

This sentence is too general to be the topic one:

English has been influenced by other languages.

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence Вводное предложение должно иметь логичные и взаимосвязанные контрольные идеи, которые ограничивают тему определенной областью, например:

Инди-фильмы характеризуются экспериментальными методами, низкими издержками производства и провокационными темами. – здесь слишком много контрольных идей, тема абзаца будет неясна

Независимые фильмы характеризуются экспериментальными методами. – хорошее вводное предложение

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence A topic sentence should not have unrelated controlling ideas, which limits or controls the topic to a specific area that you can discuss in the space of a single paragraph.

e.g. Indie films are characterized by experimental techniques, low production costs, and provocative themes. – too many controlling ideas

Independent films are characterized by experimental techniques. – good topic sentence

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

Task 1. Read the sentences in each group, and decide which sentence is the best topic sentence. Write best TS (for “best topic sentence“) on the line next to it. Decide what is wrong with the other sentences. They may be too general, or they may be too specific, or they may be incomplete sentences. Write too general, too specific, or incomplete on the lines next to them.

The first one has been done for you as an example.

Group 1
_too specific____ a. A lunar eclipse is an omen of a coming disaster.
_too general____ b. Superstitions have been around forever.
_best topic sent._ c. People hold many superstitious beliefs about the moon.
_incomplete____ d. Is made of green cheese.

Group 2
a. The history of astronomy is interesting.
b. Ice age people recorded the appearance of new moons by making scratches in animal bones.
c. For example, Stonehenge in Britain, built 3500 years ago to track the movement of the sun.
d. Ancient people observed and recorded lunar and solar events in different ways.

Group 3
a. It is hard to know which foods are safe to eat nowadays.
b. In some large ocean fish, there are high levels of mercury.
c. Undercooked chicken and hamburger may carry E. coli bacteria.
d. Not to mention mad cow disease.
e. Food safety is an important issue.

Group 4
a. Hybrid automobiles more economical to operate than gasoline-powered cars.
b. The new hybrid automobiles are very popular.
c. Hybrid cars have good fuel economy because a computer under the hood decides to run the electric motor, the small gasoline engine, or the two together.
d. The new hybrid automobiles are popular because of their fuel economy.

Group 5
a. The North American Catawba Indians of the Southeast and the Tlingit of the Northwest both see the rainbow as a kind of bridge between heaven and earth.
b. A rainbow seen from an airplane is a complete circle.
c. Many cultures interpret rainbows in positive ways.
d. Rainbows are beautiful.
e. The belief that you can find a pot of gold at a rainbow’s end.

Group 2
a. too general
b. too specific
c. incomplete
d. best topic sentence

Group 3
a. best topic sentence
b. too specific
c. too specific
d. incomplete
e. too general

Group 4
a. incomplete
b. too general
c. too specific
d. best topic sentence

Group 5
a. too specific
b. too general
c. best topic sentence
d. too general
e. incomplete

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

Task 2. Write good topic sentences for the following paragraphs. Remember to include both a topic and a controlling idea.

Paragraph 1
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________. English speakers relaxing at home, for example, may put on kimonos, which is a Japanese word. English speakers who live in a warm climate may take an afternoon siesta on an outdoor patio without realizing that these are Spanish words. In their gardens, they may enjoy the fragrance of jasmine flowers, a word that came into English from Persian. They may even relax on a chaise while snacking on yogurt, words of French and Turkish origin, respectively. At night, they may shampoo their hair and put on pajamas, words from the Hindi language of India.

Paragraph 2
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________. In European universities, students are not required to attend classes. In fact, professors in Germany generally do not know the names of the students enrolled in their courses. In the United States, however, students are required to attend
all classes and may be penalized if they do not. Furthermore, in the European system, students usually take just one comprehensive examination at the end of their entire four or five years of study. In the North American system, on the other hand, students usually have numerous quizzes, tests, and homework assignments, and they almost always have to take a final examination in each course at the end of each semester.

Paragraph 3
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________. For example, the Eskimos, living in a treeless region of snow and ice, sometimes build temporary homes out of thick blocks of ice. People who live in deserts, on the other hand, use the most available materials, mud or clay, which provide good insulation from the heat. In Northern Europe, Russia, and other areas of the world where forests are plentiful, people usually construct their homes out of wood. In the islands of the South Pacific, where there is an abundant supply of bamboo and palm, people use these tough, fibrous plants to build their homes.

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

Supporting sentences
Поддерживающие предложения

Вспомогательные предложения распространяют (объясняют или доказывают) вводное. Ниже приведены некоторые вспомогательные предложения, которые объясняют вводное предложение о золоте, приведенное выше.

Прежде всего, золото обладает блестящей красотой, устойчивой к коррозии.
Например, македонская монета остается такой же незапятнанной сегодня, как и в тот день, когда она была сделана 25 веков назад.
Другой важной характеристикой золота является его польза для промышленности и науки.
В последнее время золото используется в костюмах космонавтов.

Supporting sentences develop the topic sentence. That is, they explain or prove the topic sentence by giving more information about it. Following are some of the supporting sentences that explain the topic sentence about gold.


First of all, gold has a lustrous beauty that is resistant to corrosion.
For example, a Macedonian coin remains as untarnished today as the day it was made 25 centuries ago.
Another important characteristic of gold is its usefulness to industry and science.
The most recent use of gold is in astronauts’ suits.

Одна из самых больших проблем в письменных работах студентов заключается в том, что они часто не могут адекватно подтверждать свои идеи конкретными и убедительными доказательствами.

Что вы можете использовать в supporting sentences?

  • примеры
  • статистика
  • цитаты.

One of the biggest problems in student writing is that student writers often fail to support their ideas adequately.
They need to use specific details to be thorough and convincing.
There are several kinds of specific supporting details:

  • examples
  • statistics
  • quotations.

Task 3.

1) Read Paragraphs A and B about red-light running. Notice the different specific supporting details that have been added to Paragraph B.

2) Locate the topic sentence in Paragraph B. Circle the topic and underline the controlling idea.

3)  Which supporting sentences in Paragraph B contain the kinds of details listed below? Give the sentence numbers of each kind.
An example:
A statistic:
A quotation:

Paragraph A: Paragraph without Support
Red-Light Running

Although some people think that red-light running is a minor traffic violation that is no worse than jaywalking, it can, in fact, become a deadly crime. Red-light runners cause accidents all the time. Sometimes people are seriously injured and even killed. It is especially a problem in rush hour traffic. Everyone is in a hurry to get home, so drivers run red lights everywhere. The police do not do much about it because they are too busy. The only time they pay attention is when there is an accident, and then it is too late. In conclusion, running a red light is a serious offence.

Paragraph B: Paragraph with Support
Red-Light Running

“Although some people think red-light running is a minor traffic violation that is no worse than jaywalking, it can, in fact, become a deadly crime. red-light runners cause hundreds of accidents, including deaths and injuries as well as millions of dollars in damages. Each year more than 900 people die, and nearly 200,000 are injured in crashes that involve red-light running. Motorists run red lights all the time.
For example, in Fairfax, Virginia, a five-month-Iong survey at five busy intersections revealed that a motorist ran a red light every 20 minutes. Red-light runners are seldom caught. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Communities don’t have the resources to allow police to patrol intersections as often as would be needed to ticket all motorists who run red lights” (“Q&A”).

Topic sentence: Although some people think red-light running is a minor traffic violation that is no worse than jaywalkfag, it can, in fact, become a deadly crime. Topic: red-light running. Controlling idea: It can become a deadly crime.

An example: sentence 5;

a statistic: sentence 3;

a quotation: sentence 7

Main idea: Our language influences our perception. Part of topic sentence that expresses the main idea: “… our perception of the world depends to a great extent on the language we speak.
2. Examples: Eskimo languages have as many as 32 words for snow; falling snow, snow on the ground, snow packed as hard as ice, slushy snow, wind-driven snow; Aztec language has one word for snow, cold, and ice.
3. A classic example; for instance

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

Примеры – это, пожалуй, самый простой способ аргументирования: вы можете брать примеры из своих собственных знаний и опыта, а не искать информацию в библиотеке или в Интернете. Кроме того, примеры делают вашу работу яркой, интересной и запоминающейся.

Examples are perhaps the easiest kind of supporting detail to use because you can often take examples from your own knowledge and experience. You don’t have to search the library or the Internet for supporting material. Furthermore, examples make your writing lively and interesting, and your reader is more likely to remember your point if you support it with a memorable example.
Words and phrases that introduce examples include for example, for instance, and such as

Task 4. Answer the following questions:

1. What is the main idea of this paragraph? Underline the part of the topic sentence that expresses the main idea.
2. What examples does the writer use to support this idea? Put brackets [] around them.
3. What words and phrases introduce the examples? Circle them.

 

 

Language and perception

Although we all possess the same physical organs for sensing the world eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, noses for smelling, skin for feeling, and mouths for tasting-our perception of the world depends to a great extent on the language we speak, according to a famous hypothesis proposed by linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf. They hypothesized that language is like a pair of eyeglasses through which we “see” the world in a particular way. A classic example of the relationship between language and perception is the word snow.Eskimo languages have as many as 32 different words for snow. For instance, the Eskimos have different words for falling snow, snow on the ground, snow packed as hard as ice, slushy snow, wind-driven snow, and what we might call “cornmeal” snow.The ancient Aztec languages of Mexico, in contrast, used only one word to mean snow, cold, and ice. Thus, if the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is correct and we can perceive only things that we have words for, the Aztecs perceived snow, cold, and ice as one and the same phenomenon.

 

Main idea: Our language influences our perception.

Part of the topic sentence that expresses the main idea: “. . . our perception of the world depends to a great extent on the language we speak.”

Examples: Eskimo languages have as many as 32 words for snow; falling snow, snow on the ground, snow packed as hard as ice, slushy snow, wind-driven snow; Aztec language has one word for snow, cold, and ice.

A classic example; for instance

Paragraph Structure. Topic Sentence

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