Finding the Topic or Subject of Written Work

The topic or subject represents what a paragraph or selection is about.

The strategies explained in this section are:

  1. Looking for a title.
  2. Looking for repeated words or phrases.

Some people believe that if you spill salt, you must toss a pinch of salt over your left shoulder "into the devil's face" in order to avoid bad luck. There are many such superstitions that cover everyday events. Others are the beliefs that umbrellas should not be opened indoors and that people should leave a friend's house by the same door they entered. And there are those who believe in knocking on wood when talking about good luck.

According to one scientist who has studied aging, there are ways to remain healthy in old age. The key, he believes, is to continue to find mental and physical challenges. In addition, he recommends that people stick to a balanced low-cholesterol diet and reasonable exercise program throughout their lives. He also cautions people about the dangers of smoking. Find the correct topic.

Spanking is a poor way to shape a child's behavior. For one thing, the spanking will result in feelings of anger and frustration. The child, then, will not learn anything positive from the punishment. In addition, the spanking may actually lead to more aggressive behavior. Having learned that hitting is okay, the child may attack smaller children. Finally, the spanking teaches children to hide certain actions from their parents. Once out of their parent's sight, children may feel they can get away with the bad behavior.

Though fun to watch, chimpanzees should not be kept as pets. 2. They are dangerously stronger that any NFL lineman. 3. Adult chimps weigh only 100 to 160 pounds, but have been measured pulling six to nine times their own weight-----with one hand. 4. Thus, to match the strength of an average chimp, a human being would have to be able to register a two-handed pull of about a ton it takes a very strong man to pull a quarter of that. 5. Combined with this strength is the fact that a chimp is capable of losing temper -----for reasons known only to the chimp. 6. Chimps signal their feelings with subtle cues of behavior that aren't apparent to most humans. 7. It is quite possible for a chimp to be on the verge of violence while its owner sits unaware or even unknowingly continuous to provoke. 8. Furthermore, it's not wise to keep a cute young chimp and release it into the wild when it becomes dangerous. 9. Wild-raised chimps will routinely gang up on and kill those raised in captivity.

What is the topic of the paragraph? In other words, what is the paragraph about?

Human beings have always polluted their environment, but in the past it was easier for them to move on and live somewhere else. 2.They knew that given time, the environment would take care of pollution they left behind and they relied on the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy. 3. Today, an increasing human population, which uses an increasing amount of energy sources, no longer has the luxury to ignore pollution. 4. The human population is approximately 7 billion. 5. Our overall energy consumption has gone up by a hundredfold from 2,000 per/person/day to 230,000 per/person/day in modern industrial nations like the United States. 6. This high energy consumption allows us to mass produce many useful and economically affordable organic products that pollute the atmosphere and groundwater damage forests and lakes causing global warming, and even deplete the ozone layer. (borrowed from a biology textbook)

What is the topic of this passage?

Caffeine is a natural ingredient in coffee, cocoa, tea, and chocolate, and is added to some prescription and non-prescription drugs. 2. Despite being "natural," caffeine is also a powerful drug which greatly affects the body. 3. In healthy, rested people, a dose of 100 milligrams (about one cup of coffee) increases alertness, banishes drowsiness, quickens reaction time, it enhances intellectual and muscular effort, and increases heart and respiratory rates. 4. Drinking one to two cups of coffee an hour before exercise encourages the body to preserve glycogen and burn fat -----something that results in greater endurance. 5. In addition, caffeine masks fatigue. 6. In doses above 300 milligrams, caffeine can produce sleeplessness, nervousness, irritability, headaches, heart palpitations, and muscle twitches. 7. Caffeine is also habit-forming, and those who try to suddenly stop after heavy use may experience such withdrawal symptoms as headaches, lethargy, irritability, and difficulty in concentrating.

What is the topic?