HSPT Language Skills : Developing Topic Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Language Skills

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Developing Topic Sentences

Choose the sentences that best develop the topic sentence shown below.

Succulents are a type of plant, and they have much in common with cacti.

Possible Answers:

Like cacti, succulents require very little water and are well-adapted to desert environments. Many types of succulents also produce flowers when they bloom, like certain types of cacti do.

Desert animals rely on cacti for water; that is why cacti have evolved sharp spines to protect themselves.

Growing cacti at home is easy. They are a great starter plant for someone who is not very confident in their gardening skills.

Unlike cacti, succulents do not have sharp spines. Succulents are also much smaller than many cacti.

Correct answer:

Like cacti, succulents require very little water and are well-adapted to desert environments. Many types of succulents also produce flowers when they bloom, like certain types of cacti do.

Explanation:

The first sentence of the paragraph that we are given introduces succulents to the reader and compares them with cacti, suggesting they have several similarities ("much in common"). The best answer choice will focus on succulents but also continue to develop the comparison between succulents and cacti in a way that stresses their similarities.

"Growing succulents at home is easy. They are a great starter plant for someone who is not very confident in their gardening skills." - 

"Desert animals rely on cacti for water; that is why cacti have evolved sharp spines to protect themselves." - This sentence talks about desert animals and cacti, but it doesn't mention succulents at all. The first sentence focuses on succulents more than cacti. This answer choice is incorrect because it only mentions one of the two things being compared in the first sentence.

"Growing cacti at home is easy. They are a great starter plant for someone who is not very confident in their gardening skills." - This answer choice only mentions cacti. Like the last incorrect answer, this one only mentions cacti, but the first sentence is about succulents, a topic not mentioned in this answer choice. This answer choice is incorrect as well.

"Unlike cacti, succulents do not have sharp spines. Succulents are also much smaller than many cacti." - This answer choice compares succulents to cacti, but it does so in a way that emphasizes their differences, not their shared features. This isn't the best answer choice, because it clashes with the first sentence's claim that the two types of plants "have much in common."

"Like cacti, succulents require very little water and are well-adapted to desert environments. Many types of succulents also produce flowers when they bloom, like certain types of cacti do." - This is the correct answer! It mentions succulents and cacti, and focuses on succulents a bit more than cacti. It also compares succulents and cacti while emphasizing their shared features.

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