HSPT Language Skills : Selecting Topic Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Language Skills

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Selecting Topic Sentences

Which of the following sentences makes the best topic sentence for the paragraph shown above?

Stegosaurus is named for the characteristic bony plates that stick up from its back, making it easily recognizable. Its name is a combination of  “stagē,” Greek for covering—a reference to those bony plates—and “sauros,” Greek for lizard. On its tail, Stegosaurus had spikes that it could use to defend itself from predators. Its brain was about the size of a curled human fist.

Possible Answers:

Many carnivorous dinosaurs ate herbivores like StegosaurusBrontosaurus, and Apatosaurus to survive.

Stegosaurus was a large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, the same period during which dinosaurs like Archaeopteryx, Pterodactylus, and Brontosaurus lived.

Dinosaurs have fascinated modern humans since we started uncovering their massive bones buried in the Earth.

Museums are great places to learn more about dinosaurs as well as other ancient animals like mammoths and saber-toothed cats.

Correct answer:

Stegosaurus was a large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, the same period during which dinosaurs like Archaeopteryx, Pterodactylus, and Brontosaurus lived.

Explanation:

The best answer choice is "Stegosaurus was a large herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Jurassic period, the same period during which dinosaurs like Archaeopteryx, Pterodactylus, and Brontosaurus lived." This answer choice provides a general introduction of Stegosaurus that works well as a sentence preceding the details about Stegosaurus and its name found in the rest of the paragraph. 

"Many carnivorous dinosaurs ate herbivores like StegosaurusBrontosaurus, and Apatosaurus to survive." - This answer choice introduces three dinosaurs, so it doesn't function as well as the correct answer does as an introductory sentence to a paragraph about Stegosaurus

Dinosaurs have fascinated modern humans since we started uncovering their massive bones buried in the Earth." - This answer choice introduces the concept of dinosaurs in general, but is too general to serve as a good introduction to the rest of the paragraph's details about one particular kind of dinosaur.

"Museums are great places to learn more about dinosaurs as well as other ancient animals like mammoths and saber-toothed cats." - This sentence introduces the concept of museums as a location to learn about many types of ancient animals. It is far removed from the details about Stegosaurus found in the rest of the paragraph.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: