Paragraph Unity

    Moving day: the contents of the house are packed into cardboard boxes. Each box contains different kinds of things--for example, there's a box of sweaters, a box of books, a box of plates and cups. No random organization, this. Household items are grouped in such a fashion for a reason: simply, like items are more readily managed. You know you can throw the sweater box around, but you wouldn't do the same with the box full of dishes. If these items are combined in a haphazard way, there's a definite possibility that something's going to get damaged during the move. Think of paragraphs as boxes for the information you're going to present in your essay. Each box contains different things. So how do you keep them straight? 

    First, determine what your topic sentence will be. The topic sentence expresses the central idea of the paragraph (think of it as a mini-thesis: a thesis for the paragraph itself). The topic sentence acts as a label, if you will--it tells what you can expect to find when you slice through the tape and open the box. When you decide on a topic sentence, keep it in mind when you're writing; structure your paragraph around it. 

    Be careful not to digress from the topic sentence of the paragraph. For example, your topic sentence is "Gila Monsters make good pets because they relate well to children." Talking about the Gila's effectiveness as a guard against intruders may be valid information, but it doesn't belong within the context of this paragraph. Remember, each paragraph should present and develop a single idea. Every example and every detail you use should directly relate to that idea.