How a Controlling Idea can Dramatically Improve your Content

Watch this video on the Snap Language channel on YouTube. 2When she was 4 years old, she could already read children’s books. 3She finished high school when she was 15 and went to college to study art at the University of Texas . 4UT offers bachelor’s degrees in several fields of study. 5By the time Anna finished her second year in art, she was already exhibiting her work in famous art galleries. 6When she finished her bachelor’s degree, she got married to Tom, whom she met during a trip to Dallas.

The information in each paragraph must be related to that idea. In other words, your paragraphs should remind your reader that there is a recurrent relationship between your thesis and the information in each paragraph. A working thesis functions like a seed from which your paper, and your ideas, will grow. The whole process is an organic one—a natural progression from a seed to a full-blown paper where there are direct, familial relationships between all of the ideas in the paper. Identify the topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding sentence in the following paragraph. Circle the main idea and underline the controlling idea in each of the following topic sentences.

DQ Thesis

Thematic patterning is not the reoccurrence of specific language, as with Leitwortstil, but rather the reoccurrence of ideas, concepts, images, and moments, often in the form of motifs. Many authors, literary critics, and High School English teachers conflate a book’s “theme” and “controlling idea” into the same concept, implying both terms mean the message of the book. Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master’s degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

Introducing a subject that is not covered in the paragraph will confuse the reader and weaken your writing. When creating a workplace document, use the “top-down” approach—keep the topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph so that readers immediately understand the gist of the message.

What Is A Topic Sentence?

The word “blood” appears throughout Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, continually drawing attention back to the theme of murder and the guilt felt by the play’s protagonists King and Queen Macbeth. I find it helpful to think of rock music when considering theme. Themes and motifs provide narrative unity, pattern formations, and overall coherence to a book or narrative. Present the thesis at the end of the introduction. His work has appeared in college newspapers and literary magazines at Oklahoma Christian University and the Metropolitan State College of Denver, where he earned a B.A. Vars also holds a Master of Education from Indiana Wesleyan University.

  • A controlling idea is an essential part of writing an essay that captures the reader’s attention.
  • The exercises help slow my heart rate and make me feel less anxious.
  • ‌The examples may be quotations from a text, excerpts from research papers or statements from experts that support your position.‌ Use only one example per box.
  • The paragraph started out with Hawaii and end up with hip-hop dancing.

A common trap many new writers fall into is the trap of trying to put too much information into each paragraph that is written. Sometimes it happens in an effort to get a point across more quickly. Other times, it may be the simple result of wanting to add some complexity and depth to the writing. This is why it is always best to limit each paragraph to one controlling idea.

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The main idea is clear because the details in the paragraph show you what the topic is and what the writer is saying about the topic. Refer to the first box in your graphic organizer to write your thesis statement in your introductory paragraph. Few writers finish a paper writing about the exact topic they begin with. While you write a paper, your main point may change. As you’re finishing, make sure your thesis statement has changed along with the subject and controlling ideas of your paper. This is the point where you can play with words and draft up some topic sentences for each of your paragraphs.

  • In those cases, the topic sentence is essential to “signal to the reader” that what follows is a different aspect of the theme .
  • Many authors, literary critics, and High School English teachers conflate a book’s “theme” and “controlling idea” into the same concept, implying both terms mean the message of the book.
  • These serve as useful navigation aids, enabling colleagues to skim through the document and locate paragraphs that are relevant to them.
  • We are now going to look at the various steps you should take in order to write an effective and strong topic sentence.

It’s amazing how just breathing correctly has helped me learn to manage my anxiety symptoms. This section identifies the three major structural parts of a paragraph and covers how to develop a paragraph using transitional words and phrases. In a text-heavy document, break up each paragraph with individual headings. These serve as useful navigation aids, enabling colleagues to skim through the document and locate paragraphs that are relevant to them.

Table of Contents: Online Guide to Writing

I have seen the truthfulness of the teaching to learn principle a lot in my life. Indeed, I saw it just last week as I prepared to take another test in one of my classes. I was nervous to take it because I didn’t do so well on my first test a few weeks ago.

  • ‌The body paragraph should appropriately cite your piece of evidence and clearly connect it to your controlling idea at the beginning of the paragraph.‌ This will be the main idea of the paragraph.
  • Tao approached her cautiously, as if she might crumble at the slightest touch.
  • Truthfully, there are probably a lot of learning strategies you could choose from- perhaps each with a near equal chance of helping you to succeed in PathwayConnect.
  • We are also going to be looking at a variety of examples to give us a better understanding of its function.

She let out a wheeze as she sat down heavily in the wooden rocking chair. Tao approached her cautiously, as if she might crumble at the slightest touch. He studied her face, like parchment; stretched across the bones so finely he could almost see right through the skin to the decaying muscle underneath. For many years, I suffered from severe anxiety every time I took an exam.

2 Effective Means for Writing a Paragraph

Every body paragraph in an essay should have one controlling idea. In other words, each paragraph should be about only one thing. Finally, a concluding sentence would wrap up the paragraph, summarizing the main idea and allowing for a transition to the next section of the essay.

  • Although the main idea—marijuana—is the same in all three topic sentences, the controlling idea differs depending on the writer’s viewpoint.
  • When it comes to writing a good topic sentence, there are many things that you should take into consideration before you put pen to paper.
  • It, therefore, informed many of the decisions I made during the drafting process.

Buck, my golden retriever, was determined to take the most deserted trails through the forest. I could hear unfamiliar noises on all sides and urged Buck to do his business quickly. Although most people work hard to buy a good home or a nice car, those are not the things that they care about the most. At the end of their lives, they don’t want to hug their cars, or the walls of their fine houses. They want to be surrounded by the people they care about and who care about them. Of course it is important to make money to survive, but love is important to live happily.

Outline Your Essay And Draft Out The Topic Sentences

Moreover, while a thesis sentence is broad, a topic sentence is narrow. Both thesis and topic sentences should be specific, focused and clear. In addition, they are not questions or predictions. They are declarative statements and are how to reference an article in an essay necessary for the organization of an essay. The key difference between thesis and topic sentence is that a thesis sentence contains the main idea of the paper or essay, whereas a topic sentence contains the main idea of a paragraph.

This way the first paragraph helps the reader understand why the writer is writing. Before you can write a topic sentence, you must have a thesis statement. This should be strong and be effective in summing up the purpose of the essay as well as the main argument. The next movement in paragraph development is an explanation of each example and its relevance to the topic sentence and rationale that were stated at the beginning of the paragraph. This explanation shows readers why you chose to use this/or these particular examples as evidence to support the major claim, or focus, in your paragraph. Each of the paragraphs in this exercise has three possible topic sentences following it. Choose the best one and make sure that it includes the main idea of the paragraph.

How a Controlling Idea can Dramatically Improve your Content

With practice, it can be more of an automatic process. There are also many practice exercises and quizzes online like that can help you work on the process.

define controlling idea

Every GENRE has a built in controlling idea or theme that is tied to the VALUE at stake in that genre. The story theme is the takeaway message the ARTIST wants the SINGLE AUDIENCE MEMBER to discover from reading the story. It is the deeply held truth we are embedding into our story. It is the change the AUTHOR is trying to evoke in the reader. The topic is “cooking” and the controlling idea is “many different skills.”

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Some of the richest people in the world are miserable, while some of the poorest people in the world are happy because they have the simple joy of loving people in their lives. An informative topic sentence is often define controlling idea found in scientific articles. K. Chazda Albright suggests Leitwortstil is particularly effective in kid’s books and outlines three reasons why in this article. Regardless of how old we are, we never stop learning.