Topic Strings: Sample Passages

Topic Strings
Identify/Generate the principle
Time: 20 minutes

After you've defined the principle of topic strings with the class, ask them to identify the principle in some models. You can use the models on the handout (good), in paragraphs you've pulled from readings related to the theme (better), or in students' own writing (best).
Scroll down for the handout and answer key.

Take a look at the topic sections of the sentences in these paragraphs. What kind of topic string pattern does each author use: focused, chained, or mixed?
1. The peculiarities of the plot, which centers on deviations from the historical and biographical course, determine the overall uniqueness in time in a novel of ordeal. Such a novel lacks the means for actual measurement (historical and biographical), and it lacks any localizing link to particular historical events and conditions. The very problem of historical localization did not exist for the novel of ordeal, because time in such novels is fundamentally psychological.
2. Sulphur dioxide emissions from the Drax power station amount to 336,000 tons per year. These emissions can, however, be reduced by two methods. Flue gas desulphurization (FGD) and fluidized bed combustion can both reduce emissions to allowable levels. Either method results in 90-95% sulphur removal. For example, emissions at Drax are expected to fall to 33,600 tons per pear once the plant is fitted with FGD.
3. Bicine is a potentially useful zwitterionic buffer for use in biochemistry at the physiological pH range (6.0&endash;8.5) because of its low toxicity. This organic acid has been studied in aqueous systems using potentiometric pH titrations. In these tests, Bicine has been found to have a second stage dissociation constant, further suggesting its potential as a zwitterionic buffer.
4. The relationship between steam economy and the overall heat transfer coefficient is shown in Figures 3 and 4. Both graphs show that higher heat transfer coefficients reflect increased steam economy. The steam economy, in turn, reflects the rate and amount of water evaporated. These values are recorded in Table 2.
5. The light on Cephallonia seems unmediated by either the air or the stratosphere. It is completely virgin, it produces overwhelming clarity of focus, it has heroic strength and brilliance. It exposes colors in their original prelapsarian state, as though straight from the imagination of God in His youngest days, when He still believed that all was good.

Answer Key: 1. chained, 2. mixed, 3. focused, 4. chained, 5. focused