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UNDERSTANDING PARAGRAPH

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THIS CHAPTER WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO:


Identifies main ideas in paragraph

Pick out the key details


Use transitions to make reading easier

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FOUR ESSENTIAL PARTS IN PARAGRAPH :


PARAGRAPH A group of related sentences about a single topic

TOPIC :The one thing the whole paragraph is about MAIN IDEA :The point that the whole paragraph makes DETAILS :The sentences that explain the main idea TRANSITIONS :Words or phrases that used to connect ideas

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GENERAL & SPECIFIC IDEAS


GENERAL IDEA

a broad idea that applies to a large number of

specific items SPECIFIC IDEA the more particular and individual from general items Ex : General : word parts Specific : Prefix Root Suffix

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IDENTIFYING THE TOPIC


To find the topic, ask yourself :

WHAT IS THE ONE THING THE AUTHOR IS DISCUSSING THROUGHOUT THE PARAGRAPH? Notice the repeated use of a word that can be a clue to the topic.

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EXAMPLE
Flextime, which began in the mid-1960s as an alternative work schedule experiment, will be a fact of life in many industries in the 21st century. Well work not according to traditional work schedules but according to our biological and emotional rhythms. The night owls among us work will be delighted to work the lobster shift and let the rest of us work during the day. The number of hours worked wont be as significant as what you accomplish when you work. The advantage of flextime is that it permits flexible, cost-effective work arrangement. The author is discussing one topic- flextime- throughout the paragraph. Notice that the word flexible and flextime are used several times.

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FINDING THE MAIN IDEA


The Main idea of a paragraph is what the author

wants you to know about the topic. It can be divided into two; STATED & UNSTATED It is the broad, important idea that the writer develops throughout the paragraph. The entire paragraph, then, explains, develops, and support this main idea. Ask yourself : WHAT IS THE AUTHOR SAYING ABOUT THE TOPIC? Main idea is usually expressed in one TOPIC SENTENCE
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WHERE TO FIND THE TOPIC SENTENCE ( STATED MAIN IDEA)


The topic sentence can located anywhere in

the paragraph However, there are several positions where it is most likely to be found.

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TOPIC SENTENCE

form:
__topic sentence__

FIRST Most often the topic sentence is placed first in the paragraph.

_________________ _________________ _________________ ________

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TOPIC SENTENCE

Form

LAST It appears at last in the paragraph.

______________ ___________________ ___________________ ___________________

_topic sentence

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TOPIC SENTENCE IN

Form

THE MIDDLE It appears somewhere in the middle of the paragraph.

______________ ___________________

_topic sentence____
___________________ ____________

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TOPIC SENTENCE

Form

FIRST AND LAST It appears at the beginning of the paragraph and again at the end, slightly in different ways/sentence but same in meaning.

_topic sentence_ ___________________ ___________________ ___________________ ___________________ _topic sentence______

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INFERRING UNSTATED MAIN IDEA


It is without topic sentence

It is a list of facts or details that you add up or

put together to determine the meaning of the paragraph as a whole.

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A GUIDE TO FIND UNSTATED MAIN IDEA


Find the topic by asking yourself what is the one thing the author is discussing throughout the paragraph? 2) Decide what the writer wants you to know about the topic. Look at each detail and decide what larger idea each explains. 3) Express this idea in your own words.
1)

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RECOGNISING SUPPORTING DETAILS


Supporting details are those facts and ideas

that prove or explain the main idea of a paragraph. Degree of importance of details
MAIN IDEA DETAIL DETAIL DETAIL
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EXAMPLE
Skin of the human body has several

functions. First, it serves as a protective covering. In doing so, it accounts for 17 percent of the body weight. Skin also protects the organ within the body from damage or harm. The skin serves as a regulator of body functions. It controls body temperature and water loss. Finally, the skin serves as a receiver. It is sensitive to touch and temperature.
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Skin has several functions


Protective covering 17 percent of body weight Protects organs

Regulates body functions temperature Water loss receiver touch


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temperature

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TRANSITIONS
Linking words or phrases that a

writer uses to lead the reader from one idea to another.

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COMMON TRANSITIONS
TYPE OF TRANSITIONS
Time - Sequence Example Enumeration Continuation Contrast Comparison Cause- Effect

EXAMPLE First, later, next, finally For example, for instance, to illustrate, such as First, second, third, last, another, next Also, in addition, and, further, another On the other hand, in contrast, however Like, likewise, similarly Because, thus, therefore, since, consequently
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WHAT THEY TELL THE READER


The author is arranging ideas in the order in which they happened

An example will follow

The author is marking or identifying each major point (sometimes these may be used to suggest order of importance) The author is continuing with the same idea and is going to provide additional information

The author is switching to a different, opposite or contrasting idea than previously discussed

The writer will show how the previous idea is similar to that follows.

The writer will show a connection between two or more things, how one thing caused another, or how something happened as a result of some thing else. 19

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SUMMARY
1. 2.

3. 4.

A paragraph is a group of related sentences about a single topic. It has four essential parts: TOPIC : The one thing the entire paragraph is about MAIN IDEA : The most important idea the writer wants the reader to know about the topic DETAILS : Facts and ideas that prove or explain the main idea TRANSITIONS : Words and phrases that lead the reader from one idea to another
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A paragraph, then, provides explanation and support for a main

idea about a particular topic. The sentence that expresses this main idea is called a topic sentence. A topic sentence may be located anywhere in a paragraph, but the most common positions are first, last, in the middle, or both first and last. While most paragraphs contain a topic sentence, occasionally a writer will write a paragraph in which the main idea is not stated in a single sentence. Instead, it is left up to the reader to infer, or reason out, the main idea.

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EXERCISE I
Read the following paragraph and write the topic.

Traditionally for men, and increasingly for women, ones job or career is tied intimately with the way one regard oneself. Thus loss of job becomes in part a loss of identity, and in part a seeming criticism of oneself as a total being, not merely as a worker. Even people who have lost jobs in mass layoffs through no fault of their own often feel guilty, especially if they are in the role of provider and no longer feel competent in fulfilling that role. Topic :

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EXERCISE II
Underline the topic sentence in the paragraph

Deciding to buy a product or service takes preparation. Since time has already been spent to gather information and compare what is available, money managers should spend a little more time prior to arriving at a final decision. In this respect it is best if prospective buyers go home before making a selection. At home it is easier to evaluate all the accumulated information while not under any sales or time pressure to make a purchase. In addition, at home it is possible to take a final look at financial plans to be sure the purchase will mesh with this plans.

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EXERCISE III
None of the following paragraph has a topic sentence. Read it

and in the space provided, write a sentence that expresses the main idea. Today in America, $2 out of every $5 spent for food is spent eating away from home. In 1954, it was nearer $1 out of every $10. Based on these facts it is not difficult to see the tremendous opportunity that has existed in the foodservice industry during the past 20 years. Yet, from my vantage point as a keen observer of industry trends and evens, Ive seen hundreds of people and thousands of restaurants go broke. At the same time, I am personally aware of over 100 different people who have become millionaires in their endeavors in the foodservice field. Main idea
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EXERCISE IV
Read this paragraph and try to pick out the more important

details by recognizing the supporting details Women and racial minorities have legal protection against job discrimination. Two laws protect them: the Title VII Civil Right Act and the Equal Pay act. Title VII prohibits discriminations based on raced, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Employers are not allowed to question job applicants about these topics. The Equal Pay Act basically says, Equal pay for equal work. It guarantees that regardless of sex or race, employees doing the same job must receive the same pay. If you encounter racial or sexual discrimination, you can report it as a violation of federal law. The Equal Opportunity Commission will handle your complaint and over advice.

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