Humanities › English Practice in Supporting a Topic Sentence with Specific Details Share Flipboard Email Print An Introduction to Essay Writing Introduction Choosing a Topic 400 Writing Topics 50 Argumentative Essay Topics 100 Persuasive Essay Topics Writing an Introduction How to Begin an Essay Writing a Great First Paragraph Strong Thesis Statements Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentences Check Your Knowledge: How to Support a Topic Sentence Structuring and Outlining How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay Create an Outline Using a Venn Diagram Use Text Boxes to Outline and Organize Check Your Knowledge: Create a Simple Outline Types of Essays How to Write a Narrative Essay How to Write an Argumentative Essay How to Write an Expository Essay How to Write a Personal Narrative How to Write an Opinion Essay How to Write a Profile Editing and Improving Making Paragraphs Flow With Smooth Transitions Replace These Overused, Tired Words An Essay Revision Checklist Adrian Samson / Getty Images By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated March 31, 2019 A topic sentence contains the main idea upon which a paragraph is developed. Often it appears at (or near) the beginning of a paragraph, introducing the main idea and suggesting the direction that the paragraph will take. What follows a topic sentence are a number of supporting sentences that develop the main idea with specific details. Practice Excercise Here is an effective topic sentence for a descriptive paragraph: My most valuable possession is an old, slightly warped, blond guitar—the first instrument that I ever taught myself how to play. This sentence not only identifies the prized belonging ("an old, slightly warped, blond guitar") but also suggests why the writer values it ("the first instrument that I ever taught myself how to play"). Some of the sentences below support this topic sentence with specific descriptive details. Others, however, offer information that would be inappropriate in a unified descriptive paragraph. Read the sentences carefully, and then pick out only those that support the topic sentence with precise descriptive details. When you're done, compare your responses with the suggested answers below: It is a Madeira folk guitar, all scuffed and scratched and finger-printed.My grandparents gave it to me on my thirteenth birthday.I think they bought it at the Music Lovers Shop in Rochester where they used to live.At the top is a bramble of copper-wound strings, each one hooked through the eye of a silver tuning key.Although copper strings are much harder on the fingers than nylon strings, they sound much better than the nylon ones.The strings are stretched down a long slim neck.The frets on the neck are tarnished, and the wood has been worn down by years of fingers pressing chords.It was three months before I could even tune the guitar properly, and another few months before I could manage the basic chords.You have to be very patient when first learning how to play the guitar.You should set aside a certain time each day for practice.The body of the Madeira is shaped like an enormous yellow pear, one that has been slightly damaged in shipping.A guitar can be awkward to hold, particularly if it seems bigger than you are, but you need to learn how to hold it properly if you're ever going to play it right.I usually play sitting down because it's more comfortable that way.The blond wood has been chipped and gouged to gray, particularly where the pick guard fell off years ago.I have a Gibson now and hardly ever play the Madeira any more. Suggested Answers The following sentences support the topic sentence with precise descriptive details: 1. It is a Madeira folk guitar, all scuffed and scratched and finger-printed. 4. At the top is a bramble of copper-wound strings, each one hooked through the eye of a silver tuning key. 6. The strings are stretched down a long slim neck. 7. The frets on the neck are tarnished, and the wood has been worn down by years of fingers pressing chords. 11. The body of the Madeira is shaped like an enormous yellow pear, one that has been slightly damaged in shipping. 14. The blond wood has been chipped and gouged to gray, particularly where the pick guard fell off years ago.