Choosing a Topic Sentence
Instructions: Read this entire paragraph before choosing the sentence below that is most appropriate as the topic sentence. Remember, the topic sentence states the main idea of the whole paragraph.
Students sometimes feel so anxious about getting the
classes they want and need that they camp out in front of
the registrar's office the night before registration
begins so that they will be first in line when the doors
open. Being first in line, they say, increases their
chances of getting a seat in the classes they want. For
example, Michelle, a sophomore at City College, and two
of her classmates set up camp outside the registrar's
office at 8 p.m. the night before registration was to
begin. They brought sleeping bags, a boom box, a cooler
of soft drinks, and a grocery sack of munchies to make
their overnight excursion more comfortable. The next
morning when the doors opened at 8 o'clock they were at
the front of the line, which by 8:30 a.m. had grown to
about 500 and stretched across the college mall, past the
classroom buildings, and into the parking lot. Michelle
and her friends successfully registered for all of the
classes they wanted and were finished with registration
before 9 a.m. However, a night on the pavement did not
guarantee satisfaction for Bob, who camped out from 11
p.m. until the next morning. Despite his efforts, Bob did
not get the exact schedule he wanted. As a result, he may
have to put off graduation for another semester unless he
can pick up through drop and add the course he needs.
--Riddell, A. & Southard, A. H. (1996). Success in basic writing (2nd ed., p. 32). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Which of the following is the best topic sentence for the paragraph above?
(a) Standing in line is often necessary.
(b) College students can be sure to get the classes they need if they're willing to wait long enough in line.
(c) Spending the night in a long line can actually be fun.
(d) Registering for college classes can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience because competition for classes is fierce.
Check your answer to see how you did.