Asking Defining Questions

Many question marksIf you have a broad topic you want to write about, but don’t quite know how to narrow it, ask defining questions to help you develop your main idea for writing.


I want to write about school taxes.

  • Why do only property owners (and not renters) in New York State pay school taxes?
  • What percent of overall school funding comes from school taxes?
  • Do other states fund schools in the same way?
  • Does the state lottery system, initially designed to fund schools, actually support schools?
  • Is there a limit to paying school taxes when one gets older and no longer has children in school?

Once you have your questions, you can work with the list to group related questions, and then decide whether your writing can logically deal with a number of the questions together or only one. Use questioning to help develop a focus for your writing.

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