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Revising

REVIEW: Thesis Statement

Remember that the thesis states the main idea, or focus, of the essay. The rest of the essay should give evidence and explanations that show why or how your thesis is true.

1 EXERCISE: Evaluate thesis statements.

With a group of 3-5 students, share your individual thesis statements for your descriptive essay.

Discuss each thesis statement.

Which sentences are effective thesis statements?

Which sentences are not effective thesis statements? Why or why not?

REVIEW: Body Paragraph Parts

Don't forget to write all three types of sentences in each body paragraph: topic sentences, supporting sentences, and concluding sentences.

Topic Sentence

Don't forget that a topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. It states the topic and an idea about the topic, called a "controlling idea." The controlling idea controls, or limits, the amount of information you will write about the topic in your paragraph.

An effective topic sentence—

  • is a complete sentence.
  • is usually at the beginning of a body paragraph.
  • clearly supports the thesis statement (topic of essay + one controlling idea).
  • does not announce the topic (e.g., “This paragraph is about natural phenomena.”).
  • should not be too general (e.g., “Natural phenomena are interesting.”).
  • ­should not be too specific (e.g., “Yellowstone has over 500 geysers.”).

2 Exercise: Fill in the missing topic sentence.

Read each paragraph. Write a topic sentence for each paragraph. Make sure your topic sentence includes a controlling idea.

Paragraph A

______________________________________________________________________. As you sit in nature, you are surrounded by many beautiful flowers, calming water features (like rivers), and small animals. All of these features make the place and the person visiting it feel peaceful, comfortable, and relaxed. I love to be in nature when I need to think or am stressed because it helps me to get away from all of the noise. After sitting still in nature for just a few minutes, my life quickly feels better and more doable. Therefore, the ambience of nature helps me to relax.

Paragraph B

______________________________________________________________________. One benefit is that the library is quiet. Everyone is studying around you, so you won’t be bothered with people talking or playing around you. Instead, you can focus on what you need to learn. If you would rather study in a group, the library also provides rooms to study in so those studying alone will not be annoyed. Another advantage is that there is enough space for you to work. The library is filled with many big tables, chairs, and computers. As can be seen, the library has many advantages for studying, which make it the best place to study. 

Paragraph C

______________________________________________________________________. When you work alone, you can focus and push yourself to concentrate. Also, working alone can help you to do all of your homework or study that you need to do in a short amount of time. If you work in a group, the chances of getting distracted are higher and it may take longer to complete an assignment. Both working alone and in a group can use the same resources to work; however, working alone allows you to create the environment that you specifically need to focus. For example, if you need music to stay awake, you can listen to music. In contrast, listening to music while working with a group may be distracting for other people in the group. Therefore, to create the best working environment and to be the most efficient, I strongly recommend working alone.

Supporting Sentences

Remember that your body paragraph needs to explain why or how your topic sentence is true. The sentences that explain your topic sentence are called sup- porting sentences. You can have many types of supporting sentences. Supporting sentences can give examples, explanations, details, descriptions, facts, reasons, etc.

3 Exercise: Identify supporting sentences

For each topic sentence, read the supporting sentences and identify which supporting sentences support the controlling idea. Multiple correct answers may be possible.

TS: Yellowstone has many wild animals.

  • This national park also has many geysers that you can visit.
  • For example, you could see buffalo, deer, bears, and moose in one trip.
  • Yellowstone is beautiful, but very hot.

TS: My typical day includes a lot of practice.

  • My sister likes to practice a game on her phone.
  • After a long day of practicing, I like to evaluate my efforts and set new goals for the next day.
  • I start by exercising, where I get to practice my least favorite exercises, push-ups.

TS: Spring is a wonderful season because of its colors.

  • Spring is the start of a lot of new beginnings, especially with color.
  • All of these colorful features of Spring make it the best season.
  • For instance, as plants begin to grow again, they produce buds of various, vibrant colors.

Concluding Sentence

To finish your body paragraph, make sure your last sentence is your concluding sentence. Concluding sentences can restate the main idea of your paragraph, state an opinion, make a prediction, give advice, etc. New ideas should not be presented in your concluding sentence.

4 Exercise: Fill in the concluding sentence.

Read each paragraph. Write a concluding sentence for each paragraph.

Among the basic criteria for an ideal student is determination. The student should never give up even when he feels that it is tough. He stays very determined to achieve his goals, and these goals must motivate him. As a result, every time he feels lazy, he remembers his goals, gathers strength, and continues with perseverance  and striving for success. The most important thing that reflects determination is to not follow people. If everyone gives up, you should not give up. Be unique. ________________________________

Another thing is that the ideal life is free of problems. You can go to sleep every night without having to worry if something bad will happen to you tomorrow. You have good feelings, and even though you may have problems, you can still feel happy and secure in all aspects of your life. Although the ideal life is not completely free of problems, you are able to get through your trials and hardships much easier and be happier throughout. ________________________________

Service is a very important part of an ideal restaurant. It starts at the parking area and goes until the moment you leave the restaurant. Good service includes the cleanliness of the place. It’s not good when you arrive at the restaurant and find the place, the restaurant team, the tables, the silverware or anything dirty. Good service, for example, is when the customers arrive at the restaurant and the host greets you smiling, asks you how many in your party, and tells you how long you will have to wait. Besides that, the  waiter checks to see if the customer needs something, like getting drinks refilled. Part of  being an ideal restaurant is having good communication and being respectful. It’s important to remember that not everyone speaks your language or understands what you want to say. ________________________________

5 Exercise: Identify topic, supporting, and concluding sentences

Read each sentence. Identify whether the sentence is a topic sentence (TS), supporting sentence (SS), or concluding sentence (CS).

  1. Therefore, the quality and taste of the food defines the ideal restaurant.
  2. This is the moment you can check if this is the dish you chose on the menu.
  3. The menu is important because in it you can see the options for food, drinks, and dessert that you can choose. Great restaurants have a menu with many options.
  4. If the dish is as good as it looks, it makes you happy and satisfied to have chosen the dish on the menu.
  5. After having been seated, the first thing people do is look at the menu.
  6. Another feature of a great restaurant is that they serve delicious food.
  7. Once you have ordered, they bring you dishes.
  8. These varieties are good because when you go to the restaurant, you don’t always want to eat the same dish or pay the same price.
  9. Delicious food is when it is fresh, the ingredients of the dish combine into a mixture of textures, and seasonings do not exceed the flavors of the ingredients.
  10. After you check if everything is okay, it’s time to try the food and see if it surpasses your expectations because on the menu, the dishes look delicious, but at the table, sometimes they look different.

6 Exercise: Organize a paragraph.

Now put the sentences together from the previous exercise to create a coherent body paragraph. Compare your paragraph with a partner.

Another feature of a great restaurant is that they serve delicious food. Delicious food is when it is fresh, the ingredients of the dish combine into a mixture of textures, and seasonings do not exceed the flavors of the ingredients. After having been seated, the first thing people do is look at the menu. The menu is important because in it you can see the options for food, drinks, and dessert that you can choose. Great restaurants have a menu with many options. These varieties are good because when you go to the restaurant, you don’t always want to eat the same dish or pay the same price. Once you have ordered, they bring you dishes. This is the moment you can check if this is the dish you chose on the menu. If the dish is as good as it looks, it makes you happy and satisfied to have chosen the dish on the menu. After you check if everything is okay, it’s time to try the food and see if it surpasses your expectations because on the menu, the dishes look delicious, but at the table, sometimes they look different. Therefore, the quality and taste of the food defines the ideal restaurant.

7 Exercise: Check your essay

Now check the body paragraphs in your descriptive essay.

Make sure you included all three types of sentences. 

  • Topic Sentence
  • Supporting Sentences
  • Concluding Sentence