The UVic Writer's Guide

Developing Your Topic Sentence

After the topic sentence, the rest of the paragraph supports the point you wish to make. Inexperienced writers often fail to construct effective paragraphs because they make an assertion without backing it up. The following paragraph provides a topic but no development:

Jane is relieved to find that Mrs. Fairfax is in fact a nice lady, and that she does not own Fairfield. Perhaps she wants to live as an equal, or maybe she is tired of having authority figures looking over her, as they have done for her entire life.

The writer does not develop the statement in the first sentence; rather the discussion fizzles out into speculation with no specific reference to the text.

In an expository essay especially, you may be able to refer to objective support for your position; if you are writing a paper about birth control, you might find it useful to include statistical information to strengthen your argument. Never state without supporting evidence; aside from the problem of proof, you will end up with a short essay.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated May 12, 1995