If your essay has several subtopics, several clusters of information can be arranged into sections. Something might not fit at all, though. What about a statement that is just completely irrelevant to the section topic? Sometimes it’s not a matter of rearranging the information but of getting rid of information that’s outside the fence.
Look at the topic sentences below and decide which of the subtopics listed would NOT be relevant to this section of the essay. Choose the information that should be excluded.
It may seem obvious that information about the “feel in the stadium” is not relevant to a section on the pleasures of watching football on television. However, it is not always so simple to weed out the irrelevant information. Sometimes information can be connected with one part of the section topic but not to another part. We’ll explore this in the following exercise.
Let’s take the topic “You can make good friends playing football.” What we write can’t just be about “football,” and it can’t just be about “friends.” It has to be about “making friends by playing football.”
Look at the information below and mark it as relevant or irrelevant to the topic sentence “You can make good friends playing football.” Click on a box in each question to record your answer
1. Suffering through difficult workouts during practice can make you feel like you can count on your teammates.
2. Equipment for a high school football team can be a major expense for the school district.
3. A lot of my best friends come from the neighborhood where I have lived for ten years.
4. Your football team has to work together, so you learn to depend on each other.
5. Even though the focus of practices is to get ready for games, there is still plenty of time for just hanging out and talking about other stuff.
6. Playing football is a great way to develop personal skills like self-discipline.
7. Even people who don’t like each other before the season starts end up being friendly by the time the season is over.
In this section, you will see how irrelevant information feels when it’s included in a paragraph. Look at the paragraph below. Can you spot the irrelevant information that creeps into the writing? Click on the two sentences that are irrelevant. When you choose correctly, the sentence will highlight.
We just don’t seem to give up some superstitions, even though we know they are just superstitions. It isn’t rational to believe that bad things happen on Friday the 13th, but we still hang on to that superstition. Everyone knows about it. Most people are aware when a Friday is also the 13th day of the month. People actually think about it, even though not very many people believe there’s anything to the superstition. How many people believe that a groundhog really has anything to do with when winter will be over? Probably not many. Groundhogs are also known as woodchucks; they’re the same animal. How about rainbows? And shooting stars? There is no specific meaning given to seeing a rainbow or a shooting star, but for most people those things mean that good things are coming. A shooting star is not really a star at all, but just a little rock called a meteoroid falling into the earth’s atmosphere.