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Academic Writing Course 1

Presentation · May 2016 READS

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3562.3288 35,758



1 author:
Zainab Jaafar Auda
University of Basrah


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Zainab Jaa

MA in Applie

Email: zainjaud

Marine Science Centre, U
May 15th -

Lecture One:


afar Auda

ed Linguistics

[email protected]

University of Basrah, Iraq
- 25th, 2016

: Paragraphs


Academic writing (AW): a particu

• AW is designed to convey agr
ideas or concepts for a group

Characteristics of academic writi
• Formal
• Use of the third-person rathe
• A clear focus on the researc
and precise word choice.

mic Style

ular style of expression that
hers use to define the
tual boundaries of their
nes and their areas of expertise.
reed meaning about complex
of scholarly experts.


er than first-person perspective

ch problem under investigation,


A paragraph is a group o
discuss one (and usually on

• A paragraph can be as s
long as ten sentences.

• The number of sentence
the paragraph should be
the main idea clearly.


of related sentences that
nly one) main idea.

short as one sentence or as

es is unimportant; however,
e long enough to develop

The following model contains all the elemen
two or three times. Then answer the Writin
will help you analyze its structure.


Gold, a precious metal, is prized for t

all, gold has a lustrous beauty that is

suitable for jewelry, coins and ornam
to be polished and will remain b
Macedonian coin remains as untarn
25 centuries ago. Another impor

usefulness to industry and science. F

hundreds of industrial applications, s
The most recent use of gold is in ast
plated heat shields for protection w

space. In conclusion, gold is treasure

its utility. Writing Techn
1. What is th
---------------------------------------------- 2. What two
3. In which t
Lustrous: glowing
Corrosion: chemical damage main poin
Untarnished: unchanged in color 4. What exa

nts of a good paragraph. Read it carefully
ng Technique questions that follow, which


two important characteristics. First of
s resistant to corrosion. Therefore, it is
mental purposes. Gold never needs
beautiful forever. For example, a
nished today as the day it was made
rtant characteristic of gold is its
For many years, it has been used in
such as photography and dentistry.
tronauts’ suits. Astronauts wear gold-
when they go outside spaceships in
ed not only for its beauty but also for

nique Questions:
he topic of the paragraph?
o main points does the writer make about the topic?
two sentences does the writer say that there are two
amples does the writer use to support each point?

The parts of t

All paragraphs have:

1. A topic sentence,
2. Supporting sentences,
3. A concluding sentenc

the paragraph

, and some paragraphs also have

The Topic

• The topic sentence states the m

• It is not only names the topic o
the topic to one specific area t
in the space of a single pa
sentence that announces the
called the controlling idea.

• It briefly indicates what the para

Notice how the topic sentence of the model state

Gold, a precious metal, is prized f


c Sentence

main idea of the paragraph

of the paragraph, but it also limits
that can be discussed completely
aragraph. The part of the topic

specific area to be discussed is

agraph is going to discuss.

es both the topic and the controlling idea:

for two important characteristics.

[ controlling idea ]

Characteristics of

1. A topic sentence is a comp
at least one subject and on

The following are NOT topic sentences:

Driving on freeway
How to register for

the topic sentence

plete sentence, i.e. It contains
ne verb.

r college classes.

Characteristics of

2. A topic sentence contains bo
It names the topic and then li
to be discussed in the space

Highlight the topic and the controlling ideas

Driving on freeways requires skill and a

[topic] [ controlling id

Registering for college classes can be fru

The rise of indie films is due to several f

the topic sentence

oth a topic and controlling idea.
imits the topic to a specific area
of a single paragraph.

s of the following sentences:

dea ]
ustrating experience for new students.


Characteristics of

3. A topic sentence is the m
the paragraph because
idea. It does not give an

The following is a general statement that cou
The Arabic origin of many English w

On the other hand, the following sentence is
sentence but not as a topic sentence.

The slang expression so long (means
of the Arabic salam.

This sentence is too general.
English has been influenced by other

the topic sentence

most general statement in
e it gives only the main
ny specific details.

uld serve as a topic sentence:
words is not always obvious.

s too specific. It could serve as a supporting
s “good- bye”) is probably a corruption

r languages.

Writing a Topic Sentence

When you write a topic sentence, re

1. A topic sentence must be a co
and a verb.

2. A topic sentence should be ne
specific. If it is too general, th
the paragraph is going to disc
writer will not have anything

3. A topic sentence should not h

emember these three points:
omplete sentence, with a subject

either too general nor too
he reader cannot tell exactly what
cuss. If it is too specific, the
g to write about in the rest of the

have unrelated controlling ideas.

Let’s Pr


Practice 1: Recognizing

A: Remember that a topic sentence
neither too general nor too specif

• Step 1: Read the following senten
which sentence is the best topic s

• Step 2: decide what is wrong with
too general or too specific, or the


GROUP 1 a. A lunar eclipse is an
Too specific b. Superstitions have b
Too general c. People hold many su
Best TS d. Is made of green che

the topic sentence (TP)

is a complete sentence and is

nces in each group, and decide

h the other sentences. They may be
ey may be incomplete sentences.

n omen of a coming disaster.
been around forever.
uperstitious beliefs about the moon.

Practice 1: Recognizing

Now your turn!

the topic sentence (TP)

Practice 1: Recognizing

B: The topic sentence is the most gen

Now read the following scrambled
sentence is the topic sentence.

the topic sentence (TP)
.neral statement in a paragraph

d paragraphs and decide which

Practice 1: Recognizing

the topic sentence (TP)

Practice 1: Recognizing

the topic sentence (TP)

Practice 2: Writing a

• Write a good topic sentence for t
Remember to include both a topi

a topic sentence (TP)

the following paragraphs.
ic and a controlling idea.

Practice 2: Writing a

a topic sentence (TP)

Practice 2: Writing a

a topic sentence (TP)


1. On a piece of paper, write two
each of the following topics. In
controlling ideas for the same t

Topic: cell phones

Topic sentences:
1. Using a cell phone while dr
2. There are certain rules f cel

should know.
3. Cell phones have changed

Topics to do:
Movies Your home town

2. With a classmate, choose three
group. Write a topic sentence
a controlling idea.


o or three topic sentences for
n other words, give two or three

riving can be dangerous.
ll phone manners that everyone
d the way we communicate.

Word Processors Advertising

e topics that interest you as a
for each topic. Be sure to include


• Supporting sentences deve
is, they explain or prove the
more information about it.

• There are several kinds of su
statistic, quotations.

• Following are some of the supporting sente

• First of all, gold has a lustrous

• For example, a Macedonian co
as the day it was made 25 cent

• Another important characteris
industry and science.

• The most recent use of gold is

g sentences

elop the topic sentence. That
e topic sentence by giving

upporting details; examples,

ences that explain the topic sentence of gold.

s beauty that is resistant to

oin remains as untarnished today
turies ago.
stic of gold is its usefulness to

in astronauts’ suits.

Let’s Pr


Practice 3: Suppo

Step 1: Read paragraphs A an
Notice the different sp
have been added to

Step 2: Locate the topic sente
the topic and controll

Step 3: Which supporting sente
the kinds of details liste
number for each kind.

An example: -----------------
A statistic: ---------------------
A quotation: ------------------

orting Sentences

nd B about red-light running.
pecific supporting details that
Paragraph B.
ence in Paragraph B. Circle
ling idea.
ences in Paragraph B contain
ed below? Give the sentence


Paragraph A: Paragraph without Supp

• Although some people think tha

violation that is no worse than jay
deadly crime. Red-light runner
Sometimes people are seriously in
a problem in rush hour traffic. Eve
drivers run red lights everywhere.
because they are too busy. The o
there is an accident, and then it
red light is a serious offense.

Paragraph B: Paragraph with Support

• "Although some people think r

violation that is no worse than ja
deadly crime. Red-Light runne
including deaths and injuries as w
Each year more than 900 people
in crashes that involve red-light ru
time. For example, in Fairfax, Virgi
busy intersections revealed that
minutes. Red-light runners are s
Insurance Institute for Highway Sa
resources to allow police to patro
needed to ticket all motorists who


t Running

at red-light running is a minor traffic
ywalking, I it can, in fact, become a
rs cause accidents all the time.
njured and even killed. It is especially
eryone is in a hurry to get home, so
The police do not do much about it
only time they pay attention is when

is too late. In conclusion, running a

Jaywalking: crossing a street where there

t is no marked area for it.

t Running

red-light running is a minor traffic
aywalking, it can, in fact, become a
ers cause hundreds of accidents,
well as millions of dollars in damages.
e die, and nearly 200,000 are injured
unning. Motorists run red lights all the

inia, a five-month-long survey at five
a motorist ran a red light every 20
seldom caught. According to the
afety, "Communities don't have the
ol intersections as often as would be
o run red lights“.


Language an

Although we all possess the same physic
seeing, ears for hearing, noses for smelling
our perception of the world depends t
speak, according to a famous hypothesis
Benjamin Lee Whorf. They hypothesized t
through which we “see” the world in a p
relationship between language and p
languages have as many as 32 different
have different words for falling snow, sno
as ice, slushy snow, wind-driven snow, an
The ancient Aztec languages of Mexico,
snow, cold, and ice. Thus, if the Sapir-W
perceive only things that we have word
and ice as one and the same phenomen

Writing Techn

1. What is th
of the top

2. What exa
3. What wor

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