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Thread: topic sentence

  1. #1
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default topic sentence

    The sentences:

    Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile, ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media. Despite the media's tendency to leap from one fashionable cause to the next (from world hunger to AIDS to the environment), it would be narrow-minded to deny their part in increasing environmental awareness. It is easier to be "green" today than ever before.
    -------

    Now, what is the topic sentence?

    IMO, it's "Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile," (and the conclusion is "It is easier to be "green" today than ever before"). But the problem is, it's not really A SENTENCE: it's part of a sentence, followed by participles.

    Is it OK to teach my students that part of a sentence can be also called "topic sentence"?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: topic sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    The sentences:

    Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile, ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media. Despite the media's tendency to leap from one fashionable cause to the next (from world hunger to AIDS to the environment), it would be narrow-minded to deny their part in increasing environmental awareness. It is easier to be "green" today than ever before.
    -------

    Now, what is the topic sentence?

    IMO, it's "Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile," (and the conclusion is "It is easier to be "green" today than ever before"). But the problem is, it's not really A SENTENCE: it's part of a sentence, followed by participles.

    Is it OK to teach my students that part of a sentence can be also called "topic sentence"?

    The following is a sentence. :D It has a subject and a verb:

    ...the foundation work... (Subject)
    has (Verb)
    a very high profile (Object). :wink:

    All the best, :D

  3. #3
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: topic sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea

    The following is a sentence. :D It has a subject and a verb:

    ...the foundation work... (Subject)
    has (Verb)
    a very high profile (Object). :wink:

    All the best, :D
    So, a topic sentence doesn't have to be a sentence in its complete form ; the participles can be excluded, right?

  4. #4
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: topic sentence

    Cas?

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    Couldn't wejust go to the actual end of the sentence and regard it as a rather long topic sentence. An alternative view could be that the third sentence is actually the topic sentence.

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    Default Re: topic sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Taka
    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea

    The following is a sentence. :D It has a subject and a verb:

    ...the foundation work... (Subject)
    has (Verb)
    a very high profile (Object). :wink:

    All the best, :D
    So, a topic sentence doesn't have to be a sentence in its complete form ; the participles can be excluded, right?
    First, what's your definition of a "topic sentence"? :D Second, a sentence has a subject and a verb. As for added information (i.e., clauses, phrases functioning as adjectives and adverbs), it's not part of the sentence proper.

    The paragraph you've given us is somewhat complex in structure, so it would be best if you would parse/outline its structure for us in the way that you see it, so we can get a better idea of what you're seeing.

    All the best, :D

  7. #7
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Couldn't wejust go to the actual end of the sentence and regard it as a rather long topic sentence.
    Initially I thought that way. But now it seems to me that "ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media" is some sort of example which supports the controlling idea, "(the work) has a very high profile"; it's too detailed to be called "the topic sentence".


    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    An alternative view could be that the third sentence is actually the topic sentence.
    Yeh, I thought it was possible as well. But it looks like "It is easier to be "green" today than ever before" is a restatement of "Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile." So I take it as the conclusion, which is usually the restatement of the main idea.

    What do you think, tdol?

  8. #8
    Taka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: topic sentence

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    First, what's your definition of a "topic sentence"? :D Second, a sentence has a subject and a verb.
    The definition of a topic sentence--not my definition; the definition that I learned in college in the U.S---is "topic sentence=topic+controlling idea." Therefore, my understanding is:

    Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future (the topic) has a very high profile (the controlling idea) =the topic sentence


    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    As for added information (i.e., clauses, phrases functioning as adjectives and adverbs), it's not part of the sentence proper.
    What?? Then, what is it??

    Anyway, whatever it is, I haven't seen a sentence without its full stop defined as a topic sentence, have you? But the phrase is too specific to be called (a part of) a topic sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    The paragraph you've given us is somewhat complex in structure, so it would be best if you would parse/outline its structure for us in the way that you see it, so we can get a better idea of what you're seeing.
    (Outline #1)

    Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile,(the topic sentence) ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media. Despite the media's tendency to leap from one fashionable cause to the next (from world hunger to AIDS to the environment), it would be narrow-minded to deny their part in increasing environmental awareness. (the supporting details) It is easier to be "green" today than ever before. (the conclusion)


    (Outline #2)

    Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile, ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media.(the topic sentence) Despite the media's tendency to leap from one fashionable cause to the next (from world hunger to AIDS to the environment), it would be narrow-minded to deny their part in increasing environmental awareness. (the supporting details) It is easier to be "green" today than ever before. (the conclusion)


    (Outline #3)

    Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile, ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media. Despite the media's tendency to leap from one fashionable cause to the next (from world hunger to AIDS to the environment), it would be narrow-minded to deny their part in increasing environmental awareness. (the supporting details) It is easier to be "green" today than ever before. (the topic sentence)

    Now, which analysis is correct?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: topic sentence

    Outline #3 is my choice. :wink: A topic sentence can occur at the beginning of a paragraph, in the middle of the paragraph or at the end of the paragraph. The former, though, is more common than the latter two.

    Some of the foundation work for a more just, sustainable future has a very high profile, ringing resonantly in the fine speeches of the world leaders, advocated passionately by the massed groups of environmental and development organizations, amplified with increasing authority by the world's media. Despite the media's tendency to leap from one fashionable cause to the next (from world hunger to AIDS to the environment), it would be narrow-minded to deny their part in increasing environmental awareness. It is easier to be "green" today than ever before.
    Why is it easier to be "green" today than ever before? Here's the evidence: it's popular. X is in speeches, X is advocated by organizations, and the media even sells it.

    All the best, :D

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    I think 3 is the best choice. I also don't see that topic sentences have to conform to the so-called rules. Most native speakers haven't heard of the idea here in the UK, so wouldn't be aware that a topic sentence can only do this much and no more- I think their more guides and descriptions than rules.

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