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  • How to Write Topic Sentences | 4 Steps, Examples & Purpose

How to Write Topic Sentences | 4 Steps, Examples & Purpose

Published on July 21, 2022 by Shona McCombes . Revised on June 5, 2023.

How to Write Topic Sentences

Every paragraph in your paper needs a topic sentence . The topic sentence expresses what the paragraph is about. It should include two key things:

  • The  topic of the paragraph
  • The central point of the paragraph.

After the topic sentence, you expand on the point zwith evidence and examples.

To build a well-structured argument, you can also use your topic sentences to transition smoothly between paragraphs and show the connections between your points.

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Table of contents

Writing strong topic sentences, topic sentences as transitions between paragraphs, topic sentences that introduce more than one paragraph, where does the topic sentence go, frequently asked questions about topic sentences.

Topic sentences aren’t the first or the last thing you write—you’ll develop them throughout the writing process. To make sure every topic sentence and paragraph serves your argument, follow these steps.

Step 1: Write a thesis statement

The first step to developing your topic sentences is to make sure you have a strong thesis statement . The thesis statement sums up the purpose and argument of the whole paper.

Thesis statement example

Food is an increasingly urgent environmental issue, and to reduce humans’ impact on the planet, it is necessary to change global patterns of food production and consumption.

Step 2: Make an essay outline and draft topic sentences

Next, you should make an outline of your essay’s structure , planning what you want to say in each paragraph and what evidence you’ll use.

At this stage, you can draft a topic sentence that sums up the main point you want to make in each paragraph. The topic sentences should be more specific than the thesis statement, but always clearly related to it.

Topic sentence example

Research has consistently shown that the meat industry has a significant environmental impact .

Step 3: Expand with evidence

The rest of the paragraph should flow logically from the topic sentence, expanding on the point with evidence, examples, or argumentation. This helps keep your paragraphs focused: everything you write should relate to the central idea expressed in the topic sentence.

In our example, you might mention specific research studies and statistics that support your point about the overall impact of the meat industry.

Step 4: Refine your topic sentences

Topic sentences usually start out as simple statements. But it’s important to revise them as you write, making sure they match the content of each paragraph.

A good topic sentence is specific enough to give a clear sense of what to expect from the paragraph, but general enough that it doesn’t give everything away. You can think of it like a signpost: it should tell the reader which direction your argument is going in.

To make your writing stronger and ensure the connections between your paragraphs are clear and logical, you can also use topic sentences to create smooth transitions. To improve sentence flow even more, you can also utilize the paraphrase tool .

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As you write each topic sentence, ask yourself: how does this point relate to what you wrote in the preceding paragraph? It’s often helpful to use transition words in your topic sentences to show the connections between your ideas.

Emphasize and expand

If the paragraph goes into more detail or gives another example to make the same point, the topic sentence can use words that imply emphasis or similarity (for example, furthermore , indeed , in fact , also ).

Indeed , cattle farming alone is responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions.

Summarize and anticipate

If the paragraph turns to a different aspect of the same subject, the topic sentence can briefly sum up the previous paragraph and anticipate the new information that will appear in this one.

While beef clearly has the most dramatic footprint, other animal products also have serious impacts in terms of emissions, water and land use.

Compare and contrast

If the paragraph makes a comparison or introduces contrasting information, the topic sentence can use words that highlight difference or conflict (for example, in contrast , however , yet , on the other hand ).

However , the environmental costs of dietary choices are not always clear-cut; in some cases, small-scale livestock farming is more sustainable than plant-based food production.

You can also imply contrast or complicate your argument by formulating the topic sentence as a question.

Is veganism the only solution, or are there more sustainable ways of producing meat and dairy?

Sometimes you can use a topic sentence to introduce several paragraphs at once.

All of the examples above address the environmental impact of meat-eating versus veganism. Together, they make up one coherent part of a larger argument, so the first paragraph could use a topic sentence to introduce the whole section.

In countries with high levels of meat consumption, a move towards plant-based diets is the most obvious route to making food more sustainable. Research has consistently shown that the meat industry has significant environmental impacts.

The topic sentence usually goes at the very start of a paragraph, but sometimes it can come later to indicate a change of direction in the paragraph’s argument.

Given this evidence of the meat industry’s impact on the planet, veganism seems like the only environmentally responsible option for consumers. However, the environmental costs of dietary choices are not always clear-cut; in some cases, small-scale livestock farming is more sustainable than plant-based food production.

In this example, the first sentence summarizes the main point that has been made so far. Then the topic sentence indicates that this paragraph will address evidence that complicates or contradicts that point.

In more advanced or creative forms of academic writing , you can play with the placement of topic sentences to build suspense and give your arguments more force. But if in doubt, to keep your research paper clear and focused, the easiest method is to place the topic sentence at the start of the paragraph.

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A topic sentence is a sentence that expresses the main point of a paragraph . Everything else in the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence.

Topic sentences help keep your writing focused and guide the reader through your argument.

In an essay or paper , each paragraph should focus on a single idea. By stating the main idea in the topic sentence, you clarify what the paragraph is about for both yourself and your reader.

The topic sentence usually comes at the very start of the paragraph .

However, sometimes you might start with a transition sentence to summarize what was discussed in previous paragraphs, followed by the topic sentence that expresses the focus of the current paragraph.

Let’s say you’re writing a five-paragraph  essay about the environmental impacts of dietary choices. Here are three examples of topic sentences you could use for each of the three body paragraphs :

  • Research has shown that the meat industry has severe environmental impacts.
  • However, many plant-based foods are also produced in environmentally damaging ways.
  • It’s important to consider not only what type of diet we eat, but where our food comes from and how it is produced.

Each of these sentences expresses one main idea – by listing them in order, we can see the overall structure of the essay at a glance. Each paragraph will expand on the topic sentence with relevant detail, evidence, and arguments.

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How to Write a Strong Topic Sentence + Examples

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What’s Covered:

  • What Is a Topic Sentence?
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Good Topic Sentence

Elements of a Good Topic Sentence

Common pitfalls to avoid.

  • Where To Get Your Essay Edited For Free

Crafting the perfect essay takes time and dedication. There are so many elements you have to worry about, such as tone, purpose, and correct spelling and grammar. Writing a strong topic sentences is another critical part in writing a cohesive essay. 

Without a strong topic sentence, you risk losing your reader and perhaps part of your grade. If it’s a college admissions essay, then you need it to be as strong as possible to back up your application. Learn about what steps you should take to write a strong topic sentence.

What Is a Topic Sentence? 

People often confuse a topic sentence with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is typically at the end of your opening paragraph, that dictates the main argument you’ll be making in your essay. 

Throughout your essay, you’ll have multiple topic sentences, as each paragraph should start off with one. This beginning sentence is used to direct the topic of the paragraph and outline the flow of the following sentences. It’s used to help guide your reader and to continue to keep them hooked on your overall essay. Without topic sentences, your essay will be unorganized, lack transitions, and sound very choppy. To write a good topic sentence, there are several steps to take.

Writing a Good Topic Sentence: 5 Steps

Step 1: decide what you’re going to write about..

When you see the essay prompt, you’ll have some time to think through what you want to say and why. You have to decide if it’s a persuasive essay, informative, narrative, or descriptive. Determine your purpose for writing the essay after reading through the prompt. Whether it’s an assignment for school or if it’s to get into college, you need to make sure you have that purpose clearly outlined. 

Step 2: Create a thesis statement.

One of the first things you need to do is create a thesis statement. This is typically a sentence with three points that you’ll back up throughout your essay. 

For example: The Office became a cultural phenomenon because it spurred the careers of many of today’s successful movie stars, it talked about situations that most American workers can relate to, and even 15 years later, offers funny, relevant content that helps to break down prejudices. 

You then use that thesis statement to create an essay around the points you want to make. 

Step 3: Make your essay outline.

Once you have the points you want to make within your thesis statement hammered out, make an outline for your essay. This is where you’ll start to create your topic sentence for each paragraph. You want to clearly state the main idea of that paragraph in the very first sentence. From there, you back up that main idea with facts and reputable sources. Make sure your topic sentence is clear, but does not just announce your topic. 

For example, do not write something like: “In this paragraph, I will discuss why it’s bad that poachers are killing giraffes.”

Instead, write something that clearly states your idea with a reasonable opinion and that gives direction to the paragraph: “Giraffes are a key part of the African ecosystem, so it’s important to enforce regulations against the poachers who are killing them for their body parts.” 

You’d then follow that up with reasons why giraffes are a key part of the African ecosystem and how poachers are destroying their population.

Step 4: Begin writing your essay.

Once you have your thesis statement and you’ve created an outline with supporting paragraphs and their topic sentences, you can begin writing your essay. It’s important to make that outline before just jumping in–a disorganized essay can spell disaster for you as you continue to write, and could result in a poor grade. Many times, teachers will even require you to turn in your outline as part of your overall essay grade. 

Step 5: Proofread and check your resources.

After you’ve written the essay, go back through it with a fine tooth comb. Read through each topic sentence and the paragraphs that follow to ensure that you’ve written clear, solid topic sentences throughout and that the paragraphs with them make sense. During the proofreading phase, you also need to recheck the sources you’re using. Make sure each source is reputable. In other words, do not use sites like Wikipedia where anyone can go in and edit an article to add misinformation. Use sites that:

  • Are actual reputable news sources, such as the New York Times , CNN, CBS News
  • Have domain names that end in .edu or .gov
  • Come from an encyclopedia, such as Encyclopedia Britannica

Using sites that are not reputable could jeopardize the validity of your argument. 

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Now that you know the steps to set yourself up for success when writing a topic sentence, there are certain elements that go into a quality first sentence. Always make sure that your topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. You don’t want to make your reader hunt for the point you’re trying to make. Check out some key elements of a good topic sentence:

Make sure your topic sentence isn’t too vague.

You need a topic sentence that has some specifics to it. It also needs to hook in your reader in some way with an opinion. A vague sentence makes it harder to write a paragraph that can clearly backs up your thoughts. For example:

DON’T: “In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley seems like a nice guy.”

DO: “When Mr. Bingley is first introduced, he comes across as a kind person because he speaks to everyone and doesn’t immediately pass judgment.”

Choose a reasonable opinion.

Your topic sentence should clearly outline whatever point you’re trying to make in the paragraph, but you want to pick a reasonable opinion that you can easily reinforce with facts and statistics. Here’s an example of what you should and should not do:

DON’T: “It’s obvious that Mr. Bingley was a total loser with no backbone.”

DO: “Mr. Bingley could have shown more confidence in his choices and stood up to Mr. Darcy when he found himself in love with Jane Bennet.”

You can then back that up with facts, saying that he was a wealthy Englishman and thus one of the key players in society at the time, which should have given him more confidence. If he’d been more confident, perhaps he would not have left and devastated Jane.

Use your topic sentence as a transition.

Along with telling the reader the point of your next paragraph, your topic sentence should also serve as a transition from the previous paragraph. Without a transition, the essay can feel like it’s choppy and disjointed. For example:

DON’T: “Mr. Bingley is a good man and here’s why.”

DO: “Although Mr. Bingley did break Jane’s heart by leaving, he ended up redeeming himself by returning to Netherfield Hall.”

Keep your topic sentence short.

A long, drawn-out topic sentence can risk losing your reader. Many times, it’s hard to determine the point of a sentence when it goes on for too long. You want a clear, concise sentence that draws in the reader but also leaves some room for you to expand on it in the following paragraph.

DON’T: “Throughout the novel of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley was often quite different from Mr. Darcy as he would treat all people in a friendly manner, considering them all his friends and acquaintances, even agreeing to throw a ball after Elizabeth’s sisters rudely demanded he do so and was gracious to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet as well despite their manners.”

DO: “Overall, Mr. Bingley served as a foil to Mr. Darcy throughout the story by treating everyone around him equally with dignity and grace.”

Writing an essay can be overwhelming at times, but so long as you avoid some of these common pitfalls, it can be easier to get it done on time. 

Don’t wait until the last minute.

If your teacher assigns you an essay or tells you that you have an essay test coming up, don’t wait until the day before to do anything about it. You have to plan or study and you need to give yourself time to do that. If you know it takes you a while to write something, then start planning it as soon as you get the assignment.

Don’t forget to write an outline.

Along with planning, make sure you have that outline written up and planned out well. It will serve as your guideline for writing the essay. Without it, you’ll face the risk of a disorganized essay that does not clearly illustrate your point.

Ask for help if you need it.

This may be the most important pitfall to avoid. If you get in over your head while writing, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask a friend to review the essay or ask your teacher for guidance. 

Where to Get Your Essay Edited for Free

Once you’ve finished your essay, you may want additional input. There are tools out there to help, but CollegeVine’s free peer essay review tool can provide you with actionable feedback from students just like you. CollegeVine’s tool has helped many students and may be able to help you, too! Asking for peer feedback can help to refine your essay and it never hurts to have an extra set of eyes read through what you’ve written. Check out the free tool today!

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What is a topic sentence?

A topic sentence states the main point of a paragraph: it serves as a mini-thesis for the paragraph. You might think of it as a signpost for your readers—or a headline—something that alerts them to the most important, interpretive points in your essay. When read in sequence, your essay’s topic sentences will provide a sketch of the essay’s argument. Thus topics sentences help protect your readers from confusion by guiding them through the argument. But topic sentences can also help you to improve your essay by making it easier for you to recognize gaps or weaknesses in your argument.

Where do topic sentences go?

Topic sentences usually appear at the very beginning of paragraphs. In the following example from Anatomy of Criticism , Northrop Frye establishes the figure of the tragic hero as someone more than human, but less than divine. He backs up his claim with examples of characters from literature, religion and mythology whose tragic stature is a function of their ability to mediate between their fellow human beings and a power that transcends the merely human:

The tragic hero is typically on top of the wheel of fortune, half-way between human society on the ground and the something greater in the sky. Prometheus, Adam, and Christ hang between heaven and earth, between a world of paradisal freedom and a world of bondage. Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them, great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of the divine lightning: Milton’s Samson destroys the Philistine temple with himself, and Hamlet nearly exterminates the Danish court in his own fall.

The structure of Frye’s paragraph is simple yet powerful: the topic sentence makes an abstract point, and the rest of the paragraph elaborates on that point using concrete examples as evidence.

Does a topic sentence have to be at the beginning of a paragraph?

No, though this is usually the most logical place for it. Sometimes a transitional sentence or two will come before a topic sentence:

We found in comedy that the term bomolochos or buffoon need not be restricted to farce, but could be extended to cover comic characters who are primarily entertainers, with the function of increasing or focusing the comic mood. The corresponding contrasting type is the suppliant, the character, often female, who presents a picture of unmitigated helplessness and destitution. Such a figure is pathetic, and pathos, though it seems a gentler and more relaxed mood than tragedy, is even more terrifying. Its basis is the exclusion of an individual from the group; hence it attacks the deepest fear in ourselves that we possess—a fear much deeper than the relatively cosy and sociable bogey of hell. In the suppliant pity and terror are brought to the highest possible pitch of intensity, and the awful consequences of rejecting the suppliant for all concerned is a central theme of Greek tragedy.

The context for this passage is an extended discussion of the characteristics of tragedy. In this paragraph, Frye begins by drawing a parallel between the figure of the buffoon in comedy and that of the suppliant in tragedy. His discussion of the buffoon occurred in a earlier section of the chapter, a section devoted to comedy. The first sentence of the current paragraph is transitional: it prepares the way for the topic sentence. The delayed topic sentence contributes to the coherence of Frye’s discussion by drawing an explicit connection between key ideas in the book. In essays, the connection is usually between the last paragraph and the current one.

Sometimes writers save a topic sentence for the end of a paragraph. You may, for example, occasionally find that giving away your point at the beginning of a paragraph does not allow you to build your argument toward an effective climax.

How do I come up with a topic sentence? And what makes a good one?

Ask yourself what’s going on in your paragraph. Why have you chosen to include the information you have? Why is the paragraph important in the context of your argument? What point are you trying to make?

Relating your topic sentences to your thesis can help strengthen the coherence of your essay. If you include a thesis statement in your introduction, then think of incorporating a keyword from that statement into the topic sentence. But you need not be overly explicit when you echo the thesis statement. Better to be subtle rather than heavy-handed. Do not forget that your topic sentence should do more than just establish a connection between your paragraph and your thesis. Use a topic sentence to show how your paragraph contributes to the development of your argument by moving it that one extra step forward. If your topic sentence merely restates your thesis, then either your paragraph is redundant or your topic sentence needs to be reformulated. If several of your topic sentences restate your thesis, even if they do so in different words, then your essay is probably repetitive.

Does every paragraph need one?

No, but most do. Sometimes a paragraph helps to develop the same point as in the previous paragraph, and so a new topic sentence would be redundant. And sometimes the evidence in your paragraph makes your point so effectively that your topic sentence can remain implicit. But if you are in doubt, it’s best to use one.

Essay Writing Guide

What Is A Topic Sentence

Nova A.

How to Write a Topic Sentence: Purpose, Tips & Examples

Published on: Oct 22, 2017

Last updated on: Dec 30, 2023

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Do your essays and papers lack clarity and cohesion? Are your readers often left wondering what point you're trying to make?

You're not alone!

Many writers struggle with this issue, and it often stems from the absence of a strong foundation in their essay writing : the topic sentence.

In this ultimate guide, we will define what a topic sentence is, provide you with clear examples, and offer valuable tips to help you write effective topic sentences.

Let’s get started.

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What is a Topic Sentence In An Essay? 

In an essay, a topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph, and it gives us a sneak peek into what the paragraph will talk about. 

It's like a signpost that helps the reader know what's coming up next.

Each topic sentence in a paragraph must have a topic and a controlling idea to show where the information is heading. 

What is the Purpose of a Topic Sentence?

The purpose of a topic sentence is to make your writing clear and organized. Think of it like this: if you're telling a story, you wouldn't jump from one topic to another without letting your friends know, right? That would be confusing!

Similarly, in writing, a topic sentence helps your reader know what to expect in each paragraph. It's like a mini-map for your essay. 

When you read the topic sentence, you instantly get a sense of what the paragraph will discuss.

Here's why topic sentences are important:

  • Guides the Reader : It helps the reader understand what each paragraph is about. It's like a helpful signpost along the reading journey.
  • Keep Your Writing Organized: Just like you wouldn't mix up ingredients when cooking, a topic sentence keeps your ideas in order. It makes sure each paragraph has a clear focus.
  • Connects Your Ideas : Topic sentences connect one paragraph to the next. They create a smooth flow in your essay, like linking train cars together.
  • Helps You Stay on Track : As a writer, a topic sentence helps you stay on topic. It reminds you of what you wanted to say in that paragraph.

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Where Is The Topic Sentence Placed?

The placement of a topic sentence in a paragraph is crucial for conveying the main idea and guiding the reader's understanding. 

Typically, the topic sentence is positioned at the beginning of a paragraph. This serves as a clear and concise statement that introduces the central theme or point that the rest of the paragraph will discuss and support. 

Elements of a Good Topic Sentence

A good topic sentence possesses several key elements that distinguish it as an effective component of your writing:

  • Clarity : It should be clear and straightforward, leaving no room for ambiguity or confusion about the paragraph's main point.
  • Specificity : A strong topic sentence is precise and specific, focusing on a single aspect of the broader topic to maintain a clear direction.
  • Relevance : It must be directly related to the thesis statement or overall purpose of your writing, ensuring that it contributes to the central argument.
  • Conciseness : It should be concise and to the point, avoiding unnecessary wordiness and getting straight to the heart of the matter.
  • Connection : A good topic sentence should establish a clear link to the previous paragraph or the essay's overarching theme, creating a seamless flow of ideas.

Although most of the essay paragraphs must have a topic sentence. But there are some cases when there is no need to add it at all. For example, you can omit if the paragraph continues to develop a story or idea that you introduced in the previous paragraph. 

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How to Write a Topic Sentence - 5 Simple Steps

Writing an effective topic sentence is a skill that can significantly improve your writing. Follow these five precise steps to craft a compelling topic sentence:

Identify the Main Idea

Be specific and concise, connect to the thesis, check for unity, engage the reader.

Let's break down each of the five steps for writing a topic sentence in more detail:

Before writing your topic sentence, take a moment to identify the main idea of the paragraph. What specific point of view or information in the paragraph do you want to convey?

This is the crux of your paragraph and should be crystal clear in your mind before you start writing.

Once you've identified the main idea, express it in a specific and concise manner. Avoid general statements that lack depth or detail.

Specificity adds clarity to your writing and helps readers understand precisely what you're discussing.

Your topic sentence should align with the thesis statement of your essay or the overall purpose of your document.

This connection ensures that every paragraph contributes directly to your central argument or message. It also keeps your writing coherent and focused.

Ensure that your topic sentence serves as the glue that holds the paragraph together. All the supporting sentences in the paragraph should relate to and reinforce the main idea presented in the topic sentence.

This unity creates a logical and cohesive flow within your writing.

Consider your topic sentence as the hook that captures the reader's attention. Craft it in a way that intrigues the reader and entices them to continue reading.

This engagement is crucial, as it sets the tone for the entire paragraph and encourages readers to invest their time in your content.

Topic Sentences Examples 

Here are five examples of topic sentences, along with their respective topics and controlling ideas:

  • Topic: Climate change
  • Controlling Idea: Growing threat to global ecosystems
  • Topic: Time management skills
  • Controlling Idea: academic success
  • Topic: Benefits of regular exercise
  • Controlling Idea: Extend beyond physical health
  • Topic: Artificial intelligence
  • Controlling Idea: reshaping the job market
  • Topic: Digital marketing strategies
  • Controlling Idea: Transforming business audience reach

Common Pitfalls in Crafting Topic Sentences

When writing a topic sentence, it's important to be aware of common pitfalls and things to avoid to ensure its effectiveness in your writing. 

Here are key things to steer clear of:

  • Vagueness and Ambiguity

Avoid using vague or ambiguous language in your topic sentence. A topic sentence should clearly convey the main idea of the paragraph without leaving readers guessing.

  • Overly Broad Statements

Steer clear of making sweeping, overly broad statements in your topic sentence. Keep it focused on a specific aspect of the topic to maintain clarity.

  • Lack of Connection

Ensure your topic sentence connects logically to the previous paragraph or the overall theme of your essay. Avoid abrupt transitions that disrupt the flow of your writing.

Avoid restating the thesis or repeating information from the essay introduction in your topic sentence. Instead, use it to introduce new ideas or aspects of your argument.

Topic sentences introducing complex sentences or information that may confuse readers. Keep it concise and straightforward. 

In conclusion, writing effective topic sentences is a skill that can significantly elevate your writing. 

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your topic sentences are clear, concise, and engaging.

Remember to identify the main idea, connect to your central argument, engage your readers from the very beginning. Avoid common pitfalls like vagueness, repetition, and lack of relevance, as discussed earlier.

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Whether you need assistance with crafting compelling topic sentences or comprehensive writing support, we can help you out.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a topic sentence and a thesis statement.

A topic sentence is a sentence found at the beginning of a paragraph and introduces the main point of that specific paragraph.

A thesis statement, on the other hand, is usually found in the introductory paragraph of an essay and presents the overall argument or main idea of the entire document. It acts as a guidepost for the entire piece of writing, while topic sentences are specific to individual paragraphs within the document.

What are some good transition words for writing a topic sentence?

Some good topic sentence starters include:

  • Additionally
  • Furthermore
  • In contrast
  • On the other hand
  • Nevertheless
  • In conclusion

These words can help you introduce and connect ideas between paragraphs and provide a smooth transition into the main point of each paragraph.

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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Writing Topic Sentences — Purpose, Structure, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is a topic sentence?

A topic sentence in academic writing identifies how a body paragraph relates to the overall purpose of an essay stated in the thesis statement . Topic sentences are usually at the beginning of a paragraph and identify the paragraph’s controlling idea.

write topic sentence essay

While an essay’s thesis statement identifies the point of the essay in its entirety, the topic sentence has a much narrower focus, as it relates only to the paragraph in which it is located.

Topic sentence vs. thesis statement

What is the purpose of a topic sentence?

The purpose of a topic sentence is to inform the reader of the main idea of the paragraph and how it connects to the overall objective of the essay. An effective topic sentence accomplishes one or more of the following:

Makes a claim

Supports other claims made in the paper

Identifies the purpose of the rest of the paragraph

Relates the paragraph to the purpose of the paper

Precedes information that defends a claim

Purposes of a topic sentence

How to write a topic sentence

To write a topic sentence, incorporate the following guidelines:

Determine the thesis of the essay.

Identify the main supports that help prove the thesis.

Use each main support to structure a topic sentence for each paragraph.

Compose a sentence that answers the following questions:

What will the paragraph prove?

How does the paragraph connect to the thesis?

How to write a topic sentence

Where is the topic sentence in a paragraph?

Topic sentences can be placed at the beginning or end of a paragraph.

Although it does not need to be the first sentence, the topic sentence should be placed at the beginning of the paragraph so the reader can quickly identify the purpose of the paragraph.

While not a common placement for a topic sentence, some writers use topic sentences at the end of a paragraph. Writers who choose this method want the reader to deduce the main point of the paragraph by presenting the evidence first.

Topic sentence examples

The following list identifies topic sentences based on the provided thesis statements for five-paragraph essays:

Thesis Statement: Capital punishment should be banned because it is inhumane, unconstitutional, and ineffective at deterring crime.

Support Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence: The inhumane nature of the death penalty proves it should be abolished.

Support Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence: Capital punishment should be outlawed because it violates the Constitution.

Support Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence: Because the death penalty does not effectively deter criminal behavior, states should not continue to use it.

Thesis Statement: College athletes should be financially compensated because they sacrifice their minds and bodies, cannot hold an outside job, and increase the school’s revenue.

Support Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence: Student athletes should be paid for their performance because of sports’ impact on their minds and bodies.

Support Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence: Because most college athletes cannot play their sport and hold a job, colleges should give them a living wage.

Support Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence: Student-athletes’ ability to increase their college’s revenue proves they should be awarded financial compensation.

Example topic sentences

Thesis Statement: Using alternative energy sources can help lessen the impact of global climate change.

Support Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence: Through the widespread use of solar power, countries can limit the environmental impact of other energy sources.

Support Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence: Utilizing more wind turbines as a power source can help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Support Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence: Using geothermal power will effectively decrease the world's reliance on fossil fuels.

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How to Write a Good Topic Sentence

Last Updated: February 2, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,243,523 times.

Perfecting the skill of writing topic sentences is essential to successful writing. A topic sentence usually comes at the beginning of a paragraph and lets your reader know what to expect from each paragraph. Think of it as the preview for a movie or a headline in a newspaper, highlighting the “main point” that’s to come in that paragraph. [1] X Research source Make sure your topic sentences are up to par, and the rest of your writing will feel like a breeze.

Writing a Successful Topic Sentence

Step 1 State your main idea clearly.

  • Keep in mind that this is not an invitation to simply announce your topic. “Today I’m going to discuss the benefits of gardening” is not an effective topic sentence. You should be able to make your intentions clear without stating them explicitly.
  • The topic sentence in this example states a clear direction (“health benefits of gardening”) that you can then elaborate on in your paragraph.

Step 2 Balance the topic sentence between specifics and general ideas.

  • Don’t write too vague or general an idea or you will never be able to discuss it in a single paragraph. This is too general: “The United States suffered a lot during the Civil War.”
  • Don’t write too narrow of a statement. There’s nothing much to talk about then, because it’s probably a fact. This is too narrow: “Christmas trees are either cedars or firs."
  • Instead, aim for a good balance: “Sherman’s destruction in the South during the Civil War also caused incredible suffering.” This is big enough to relate to the broader idea of an essay, but not so narrow that there’s nothing left to discuss.

Step 3 Hook your reader.

  • Describe a character. This can be a physical or emotional description.
  • Use dialogue. If there is a relevant conversation that will attract your reader’s attention, consider using part of it to start your paragraph.
  • Portray an emotion. Use the opening sentence to portray an emotion to your reader.
  • Use detail. While you don’t want to write a run on sentence by creating too much detail, it’s a good idea to create interest using sensory language in your topic sentence.
  • Avoid rhetorical questions. While you want your reader to formulate questions in his or her mind, you do not want to formulate the questions yourself.

Step 4 Keep it short and sweet.

  • Avoid presenting only facts in your topic sentence. While facts may be interesting, they do not introduce the reader to your paragraph nor do they draw the reader in. If you wish to include a fact, also include your own input. For example, instead of writing “All dogs need food,” try “All dogs need regular care, including healthy food, and children are the best ones to do it.” Alternatively, save your facts to use as evidence in the body of your paragraph.

Step 6 Use the topic sentence as a transition.

  • Using transitional elements, such as “In addition” or “In contrast,” is a good way to show the relationship between your ideas.
  • For example: “Although gardening has many health benefits, people still need to exercise caution when outside.” This topic sentence establishes a connection to the main idea of the previous paragraph (“health benefits of gardening”) and points to the direction of the new paragraph (“things to be cautious of”).

Planning Your Topic Sentences

Step 1  Write an...

  • You don’t have to write a formal outline using Roman numerals and the like. Even a loose, idea-based outline can help you know what you want to discuss.

Step 2 Understand the connection...

  • A topic sentence, unlike a thesis statement, doesn’t have to present an argument. It can present a “preview” of what the paragraph will argue or discuss.

Step 3 Look at some examples.

  • For example, a topic sentence could look like this: “In addition, increasing funding for public roads in Jackson County will improve local residents’ quality of life.” The rest of the sentences in this paragraph would relate to the main idea of public roads and how they will help benefit local residents.
  • This is not as successful a topic sentence: “Increased funding for public roads in Jackson County has decreased traffic by 20%.” While this is probably an interesting fact for your argument, it’s too narrow for a topic sentence. The topic sentence has to direct the whole paragraph.

Avoiding Common Problems

Step 1 Avoid introducing yourself.

  • Unless it is an opinion piece, avoid using ‘I’ in your topic sentences.

Step 2 Make sure your wording is clear.

  • Rather than stating something like “In the story, Amelia did many good things such as help out her friends, talk to her parents, and support her team at school” say something like “As a result of the many activities Amelia participated in, she was recognized for her positive influence on the community.”

Step 4 Avoid starting with a quote.

Sample Topic Sentences

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Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Avoid using words like you or we because it implies you know the reader, which you don’t. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • In formal writing, avoid contractions such as “don’t,” “can’t,” and “isn’t.” Also avoid other common contractions like “would’ve” and “could’ve” which are commonly used. Instead type them out to look like “do not,” “can not”, “is not”, “would have”, and “could have.” Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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  • ↑ http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/topic-sentences
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/paragraphs-and-topic-sentences.html
  • ↑ http://arts.uottawa.ca/writingcentre/en/hypergrammar/writing-paragraphs
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/paragraphs_and_paragraphing/index.html
  • ↑ https://stlcc.edu/student-support/academic-success-and-tutoring/writing-center/writing-resources/topic-sentence-paragraph.aspx
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/paragraphs/topicsentences
  • ↑ https://www.rit.edu/ntid/sea/processes/paragraph/process/sentence
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
  • ↑ https://www.touro.edu/departments/writing-center/tutorials/topic-sentence/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/2/57/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/paragraphs/
  • ↑ http://www.writingcentre.uottawa.ca/hypergrammar/partopic.html

About This Article

Megan Morgan, PhD

If you’re trying to write a good topic sentence, start by clearly stating your main idea, which should include the topic and the position you’re taking on it. Aim to write a sentence that’s broad enough for discussion but narrow enough to be covered in a single paragraph. If you can, start with a hook, like a detail, character, or emotion that would draw in your readers. For more advice from our reviewer on writing a good topic sentence, like how to make it effective while keeping it short and sweet, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Paragraphs & topic sentences.

A paragraph is a series of sentences that are organized and coherent, and are all related to a single topic. Almost every piece of writing you do that is longer than a few sentences should be organized into paragraphs. This is because paragraphs show a reader where the subdivisions of an essay begin and end, and thus help the reader see the organization of the essay and grasp its main points.

Paragraphs can contain many different kinds of information. A paragraph could contain a series of brief examples or a single long illustration of a general point. It might describe a place, character, or process; narrate a series of events; compare or contrast two or more things; classify items into categories; or describe causes and effects. Regardless of the kind of information they contain, all paragraphs share certain characteristics. One of the most important of these is a topic sentence.

TOPIC SENTENCES

A well-organized paragraph supports or develops a single controlling idea, which is expressed in a sentence called the topic sentence. A topic sentence has several important functions: it substantiates or supports an essay’s thesis statement; it unifies the content of a paragraph and directs the order of the sentences; and it advises the reader of the subject to be discussed and how the paragraph will discuss it. Readers generally look to the first few sentences in a paragraph to determine the subject and perspective of the paragraph. That’s why it’s often best to put the topic sentence at the very beginning of the paragraph. In some cases, however, it’s more effective to place another sentence before the topic sentence—for example, a sentence linking the current paragraph to the previous one, or one providing background information.

Although most paragraphs should have a topic sentence, there are a few situations when a paragraph might not need a topic sentence. For example, you might be able to omit a topic sentence in a paragraph that narrates a series of events, if a paragraph continues developing an idea that you introduced (with a topic sentence) in the previous paragraph, or if all the sentences and details in a paragraph clearly refer—perhaps indirectly—to a main point. The vast majority of your paragraphs, however, should have a topic sentence.

PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE

Most paragraphs in an essay have a three-part structure—introduction, body, and conclusion. You can see this structure in paragraphs whether they are narrating, describing, comparing, contrasting, or analyzing information. Each part of the paragraph plays an important role in communicating your meaning to your reader.

Introduction : the first section of a paragraph; should include the topic sentence and any other sentences at the beginning of the paragraph that give background information or provide a transition.

Body : follows the introduction; discusses the controlling idea, using facts, arguments, analysis, examples, and other information.

Conclusion : the final section; summarizes the connections between the information discussed in the body of the paragraph and the paragraph’s controlling idea.

The following paragraph illustrates this pattern of organization. In this paragraph the topic sentence and concluding sentence (CAPITALIZED) both help the reader keep the paragraph’s main point in mind.

SCIENTISTS HAVE LEARNED TO SUPPLEMENT THE SENSE OF SIGHT IN NUMEROUS WAYS. In front of the tiny pupil of the eye they put , on Mount Palomar, a great monocle 200 inches in diameter, and with it see 2000 times farther into the depths of space. Or they look through a small pair of lenses arranged as a microscope into a drop of water or blood, and magnify by as much as 2000 diameters the living creatures there, many of which are among man’s most dangerous enemies. Or , if we want to see distant happenings on earth, they use some of the previously wasted electromagnetic waves to carry television images which they re-create as light by whipping tiny crystals on a screen with electrons in a vacuum. Or they can bring happenings of long ago and far away as colored motion pictures, by arranging silver atoms and color-absorbing molecules to force light waves into the patterns of original reality. Or if we want to see into the center of a steel casting or the chest of an injured child, they send the information on a beam of penetrating short-wave X rays, and then convert it back into images we can see on a screen or photograph. THUS ALMOST EVERY TYPE OF ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION YET DISCOVERED HAS BEEN USED TO EXTEND OUR SENSE OF SIGHT IN SOME WAY. George Harrison, “Faith and the Scientist”

In a coherent paragraph, each sentence relates clearly to the topic sentence or controlling idea, but there is more to coherence than this. If a paragraph is coherent, each sentence flows smoothly into the next without obvious shifts or jumps. A coherent paragraph also highlights the ties between old information and new information to make the structure of ideas or arguments clear to the reader.

Along with the smooth flow of sentences, a paragraph’s coherence may also be related to its length. If you have written a very long paragraph, one that fills a double-spaced typed page, for example, you should check it carefully to see if it should start a new paragraph where the original paragraph wanders from its controlling idea. On the other hand, if a paragraph is very short (only one or two sentences, perhaps), you may need to develop its controlling idea more thoroughly, or combine it with another paragraph.

A number of other techniques that you can use to establish coherence in paragraphs are described below.

Repeat key words or phrases. Particularly in paragraphs in which you define or identify an important idea or theory, be consistent in how you refer to it. This consistency and repetition will bind the paragraph together and help your reader understand your definition or description.

Create parallel structures. Parallel structures are created by constructing two or more phrases or sentences that have the same grammatical structure and use the same parts of speech. By creating parallel structures you make your sentences clearer and easier to read. In addition, repeating a pattern in a series of consecutive sentences helps your reader see the connections between ideas. In the paragraph above about scientists and the sense of sight, several sentences in the body of the paragraph have been constructed in a parallel way. The parallel structures (which have been emphasized ) help the reader see that the paragraph is organized as a set of examples of a general statement.

Be consistent in point of view, verb tense, and number. Consistency in point of view, verb tense, and number is a subtle but important aspect of coherence. If you shift from the more personal "you" to the impersonal “one,” from past to present tense, or from “a man” to “they,” for example, you make your paragraph less coherent. Such inconsistencies can also confuse your reader and make your argument more difficult to follow.

Use transition words or phrases between sentences and between paragraphs. Transitional expressions emphasize the relationships between ideas, so they help readers follow your train of thought or see connections that they might otherwise miss or misunderstand. The following paragraph shows how carefully chosen transitions (CAPITALIZED) lead the reader smoothly from the introduction to the conclusion of the paragraph.

I don’t wish to deny that the flattened, minuscule head of the large-bodied "stegosaurus" houses little brain from our subjective, top-heavy perspective, BUT I do wish to assert that we should not expect more of the beast. FIRST OF ALL, large animals have relatively smaller brains than related, small animals. The correlation of brain size with body size among kindred animals (all reptiles, all mammals, FOR EXAMPLE) is remarkably regular. AS we move from small to large animals, from mice to elephants or small lizards to Komodo dragons, brain size increases, BUT not so fast as body size. IN OTHER WORDS, bodies grow faster than brains, AND large animals have low ratios of brain weight to body weight. IN FACT, brains grow only about two-thirds as fast as bodies. SINCE we have no reason to believe that large animals are consistently stupider than their smaller relatives, we must conclude that large animals require relatively less brain to do as well as smaller animals. IF we do not recognize this relationship, we are likely to underestimate the mental power of very large animals, dinosaurs in particular. Stephen Jay Gould, “Were Dinosaurs Dumb?”

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When you write strong, clear paragraphs, you are guiding your readers through your argument by showing them how your points fit together to support your thesis. The number of paragraphs in your essay should be determined by the number of steps you need to take to build your argument. To write strong paragraphs, try to focus each paragraph on one main point—and begin a new paragraph when you are moving to a new point or example.

A strong paragraph in an academic essay will usually include these three elements:

  • A topic sentence. The topic sentence does double duty for a paragraph. First, a strong topic sentence makes a claim or states a main idea that is then developed in the rest of the paragraph. Second, the topic sentence signals to readers how the paragraph is connected to the larger argument in your paper. Below is an example of a topic sentence from a paper by Laura Connor ‘23 that analyzes rhetoric used by Frederic Douglass, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Karl Marx. In her paper, Connor argues that Marx’s rhetoric was most effective in driving social change. In his numerous writings, Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws. This topic sentence makes a claim that will then need to be supported with evidence: readers can expect that the sentence will be followed by a discussion of what Marx saw as the flaws in capitalism, which will in turn help them understand Connor’s thesis about how these three authors used their rhetoric to effect social change. A topic sentence signals to your readers what idea is most important in that paragraph—and it also helps you know if you’ve effectively made your point. In this case, Connor has set up the expectation for readers that by the end of the paragraph, they will understand Marx’s view of the flaws in capitalism. Imagine that, instead of writing “Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws,” Connor had begun that paragraph with a descriptive sentence. For example, she could have written something like this: “Marx wrote a critique of capitalism.” While that sentence describes something that happened, it does not give readers information about what will be in the rest of the paragraph—and it would not have helped Connor figure out how to organize the paragraph.
  • Evidence. Once you’ve made a claim in your topic sentence, you’ll need to help your readers see how you arrived at that claim from the evidence that you examined. That evidence may include quotations or paraphrased material from a source, or it may include data, results, or primary source material. In the paragraph that follows Connor’s topic sentence above, she offers several quotations from Marx that demonstrate how he viewed the flaws in capitalism.
  • Analysis. It’s not enough to provide evidence to support a claim. You have to tell your readers what you want them to understand about that evidence. In other words, you have to analyze it. How does this evidence support your claim? In Connor’s paragraph, she follows her presentation of evidence with sentences that tell readers what they need to understand about that evidence—specifically that it shows how Marx pointed to the flaws in capitalism without telling his own readers what to think about it, and that this was his strategy. It might be tempting to end your paragraph with either a sentence summarizing everything you’ve just written or the introduction of a new idea. But in a short paragraph, your readers don’t need a summary of all that you’ve just said. And introducing a new point in the final sentence can confuse readers by leaving them without evidence to support that new point. Instead, try to end your paragraph with a sentence that tells readers something that they can now understand because they’ve read your paragraph. In Connor’s paragraph, the final sentence doesn’t summarize all of Marx’s specific claims but instead tells readers what to take away from that evidence. After seeing what Marx says about capitalism, Connor explains what the evidence she has just offered suggests about Marx’s beliefs.

Below, you’ll find Connor’s complete paragraph. The topic sentence appears in blue . The evidence appears in green . Connor’s analysis of the evidence appears in yellow .  

Example paragraph  

In his numerous writings, Marx critiques capitalism by identifying its flaws. By critiquing the political economy and capitalism, Marx implores his reader to think critically about their position in society and restores awareness in the proletariat class. T o Marx, capitalism is a system characterized by the “exploitation of the many by the few,” in which workers accept the exploitation of their labor and receive only harm of “alienation,” rather than true benefits ( MER 487). He writes that “labour produces for the rich wonderful things – but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces—but for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty—but for the worker, deformity” (MER 73). Marx argues capitalism is a system in which the laborer is repeatedly harmed and estranged from himself, his labor, and other people, while the owner of his labor – the capitalist – receives the benefits ( MER 74). And while industry progresses, the worker “sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class” ( MER 483). But while Marx critiques the political economy, he does not explicitly say “capitalism is wrong.” Rather, his close examination of the system makes its flaws obvious. Only once the working class realizes the flaws of the system, Marx believes, will they - must they - rise up against their bourgeois masters and achieve the necessary and inevitable communist revolution.

Not every paragraph will be structured exactly like this one, of course. But as you draft your own paragraphs, look for all three of these elements: topic sentence, evidence, and analysis.

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How To Write An Essay

Topic Sentence

Barbara P

Learn How to Write a Topic Sentence that Stands Out

Published on: Jan 13, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

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As a student, you have probably heard the term "topic sentence" thrown around a lot in your English or writing classes. But do you really understand what it means and how important it is for effective writing?

Well, many students struggle with crafting strong topic sentences that effectively convey their ideas. They may find themselves unsure of how to make their topic sentence stand out in a sea of other ideas.

In this blog, we will explore the art of writing a great topic sentence, with examples and tips to help you enhance your skills. By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of how to craft a topic sentence that will make your writing clear, concise, and engaging.

So let’s get started!

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What is a Topic Sentence?

A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph in an essay that introduces the main idea or topic of that paragraph. It serves as a roadmap for the reader, letting them know what to expect in the upcoming paragraph. 

Purpose of Topic Sentence

The purpose of a topic sentence is to clearly and concisely convey the main point of the paragraph to the reader. 

It helps to guide the reader through the essay, making it easier for them to follow the overall argument or narrative.

Features of a Good Topic Sentence

A good topic sentence has a few key features. Let’s take a look: 

  • Expresses the main idea of the paragraph or essay clearly and concisely.
  • Is specific and focused , avoiding vague or overly general statements.
  • Introduces the main point and is typically located at the beginning of the paragraph or essay.
  • Presents a claim or position that is arguable or debatable, which the rest of the paragraph or essay will support.
  • Can be a complete sentence or a concise phrase that effectively conveys the main idea.
  • Is relevant to the thesis statement and overall topic of the essay.
  • Engages the reader by creating interest and highlighting the significance of the topic.
  • Is well-written and avoids grammar and spelling errors.
  • Provides a roadmap for the rest of the paragraph or essay by indicating what will be covered.
  • Encourages coherence and unity in the writing by linking the paragraph or essay to the broader topic.

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Types of Topic Sentences

There are several different types of topic sentences that can be used in writing to introduce the reader through a paragraph or essay.

Simple Statement Topic Sentence This is the most common type of topic sentence, which straightforwardly states the main point or idea of the paragraph or essay.

Example: The rise of social media has revolutionized the way people communicate with each other.

Complex Topic Sentence This type of topic sentence is more nuanced and may require some explanation or elaboration to fully understand.

Example: While the rise of social media has had many positive effects on communication, it has also led to concerns about privacy and online harassment.

Pivot Topic Sentence A pivot topic sentence begins by connecting the current paragraph or idea to the previous one, before pivoting to introduce a new point or idea.

Example: Building on the idea of social media's impact on communication, it is important to consider how it has also affected business and marketing strategies.

Question Topic Sentence A question topic sentence poses a question that the rest of the paragraph or essay will answer or explore.

Example: How has social media changed the way businesses interact with customers and advertise their products?

Command Topic Sentence This type of topic sentence gives a directive or instruction, often used in persuasive or argumentative essays.

Example: Support local businesses by shopping at independently owned stores instead of large chains.

How to Write a Topic Sentence?

Here are a few instructions to help you write a good topic sentence. 

Step#1 Clearly State The Main Idea

A topic sentence is the first paragraph of the paragraph. It must clearly explain the particular subject that would be discussed in the paragraph. This should be stated in very clear language so that the reader can easily understand the idea. 

Also, it should include a bit of your personal opinion and also the main idea. 

Step#2 Hook Your Reader

Grab your reader's attention with an intriguing topic sentence. It would excite and make the reader curious about the content and convince them to read the particular part. 

Look out for some amazing hook examples and see what fits your essay type. 

Use a meaningful and relevant question or a fact as a topic sentence of the paragraph. Make sure that you have identified your audience and are developing everything accordingly. 

Step#3 Keep It Short and Precise

The paragraph topic sentence must be expressive enough that a reader understands your point of view effortlessly. This is only possible if you keep everything to the point, short, and meaningful. 

Choose the words in such a way that they help you express your idea in an ideal way. Avoid using complex sentences and use independent clauses.  

A topic sentence acts as a link between a paragraph and the main thesis statement. It should be specific and connected to the overall essay. Keeping it short and precise helps maintain the paragraph's flow and its relevance to the rest of the writing.

Step#4 Give A Reasonable Opinion

The body paragraph explains a topic sentence. This is why it is important that you should write this sentence in such a way that it can be explained in the paragraph.  If you are mentioning a fact in the topic statement, make sure that you have authentic evidence to support it. 

While the topic sentence is an integral part of the paragraph, it should stand out and possess a distinctiveness that sets it apart from the other sentences. This can be achieved by employing transition words and establishing connections between sentences.

Step#5 Use The Topic Sentence As A Transition

The topic sentences that serve as transition sentences can be considered a guide for the readers. This way, they can help the reader to move through the essay in a flow. 

Write this sentence in such a way that it creates a gateway between the previous paragraph and the rest of the essay. Moreover, it will also help keep the essay organized, and the reader understands the point of a paragraph.

Step#6 Look For Some Good Examples

Examples can help you learn a thing in a better way. If you are new to writing topic sentences, it can help to look at some examples. Find some great examples of topic sentences relevant to your essay topic.

Difference Between Topic Sentence and Thesis Sentence

Here's a table outlining the differences between a topic sentence and a thesis statement:

Good Topic Sentence Examples

Here are ten examples of good topic sentences:

  •  "Despite the advancements in technology, traditional forms of communication are still essential in today's society."
  • "The theme of power is prevalent throughout Shakespeare's play, Macbeth."
  • "In recent years, there has been a growing concern over the impact of climate change on our planet."
  • "The legalization of marijuana has been a topic of debate for many years." "Education is the key to success in life."
  • "The rise of social media has greatly impacted the way we communicate with one another."
  • "The effects of childhood trauma can have a lasting impact on mental health."
  • "The concept of justice is explored in depth in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird."
  • "Eating a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining good health."
  • "The Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on the world as we know it today."

The Bottom Line!

An opening sentence is crucial to grab your reader's attention and set the tone for your piece of writing. The topic sentence introduces the controlling idea and acts as an important sentence in the essay outline. 

Effective topic sentences are necessary for a well-structured and organized essay. It's an integral part of the writing process that should not be overlooked. 

Make sure to spend time crafting a compelling topic sentence that clearly conveys your main point and guides your readers throughout your essay. You can even take ideas from an AI essay generator to get started.

However, if you find yourself struggling to write a good opening sentence, don't worry! CollegeEssay.org is here to help you with all your writing needs. We have the best online essay writing service providing top-quality essays that are sure to impress your professors.

So, why wait? Contact our essay writing service now and take the first step toward academic success!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a topic sentence.

A topic sentence can be multiple sentences long. The first sets the context for your ideas, while the second provides more depth on what you are saying beyond just stating it outright.

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Chapter 4: Structuring, Paragraphing, and Styling

4.3 Topic Sentences

Amanda Lloyd

Function and Elements of a Topic Sentence

A   topic sentence  is usually the first sentence of a body paragraph. The purpose of a topic sentence is to identify the topic of your paragraph and indicate the function of that paragraph in some way.

In order to create an effective topic sentence, you should do the following:

  • Use a transitional device to effortlessly segue from the idea discussed in the previous paragraph.

When choosing a transitional device, you should consider whether your new paragraph will build onto the topic of your previous paragraph, begin to develop a new key idea or sub-claim, or present a counterargument or concession.

See section 4.6 for information regarding when to begin a new paragraph and section 4.7 for help with transitional words and phrases.

  • Clearly identify the key idea or sub-claim that you intend to expand upon in your new paragraph.

Even if you are building onto the idea of the previous paragraph, you will still need to identify the sub-claim in your topic sentence. When constructing a topic sentence, you may feel as though you are stating the obvious or being repetitive, but your readers will need this information to guide them to a thorough understanding of your ideas.

  • Make a connection to the claim you make in your thesis statement.

It might help to think of your topic sentence as a mini thesis statement. In your body paragraph, you should be expanding upon the claim you make in your thesis. For this reason, you should link your topic sentence to your thesis statement. Doing so tells your readers, “This is the point I mentioned in my thesis that I now intend to support and either prove or explain further.”

To connect to your thesis, you should consider the function of the body paragraph, which will usually depend upon the type of essay you are writing; for example, your topic sentence should suggest whether your goal is to inform or persuade your readers (your topic sentence should indicate whether or not you have an opinion or perspective on the topic).

4.3 Topic Sentences by Amanda Lloyd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write Effective Topic Sentences: The Dos and Don’ts

How to Write Effective Topic Sentences: The Dos and Don'ts

Topic sentences are the key to unlocking the power of your paragraphs. An excellent topic sentence serves as a road map for your readers, guiding them through the main points of your essay with ease. It is a concise and precise sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph in a way that is clear and engaging. A good topic sentence makes a strong argument or statement, supported by examples, quotations, or other evidence.

When writing an essay, it’s important to check that your topic sentences meet certain criteria. To help you with this, here is a checklist of qualities that make a topic sentence effective:

1. It introduces the main idea: Your topic sentence should clearly state what the paragraph is going to be about. It should give the reader a brief overview of the main points that will be discussed.

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2. It is specific: A good topic sentence is not vague or general. It focuses on a specific idea or aspect of the larger topic.

3. It supports the thesis statement: Your topic sentence should relate to the main idea or argument of your essay. It should connect back to the thesis statement and help to further develop your argument.

Students often struggle with writing effective topic sentences. They may find it difficult to come up with ideas or to check if their topic sentences meet the necessary criteria. However, with a few basic tips and some practice, anyone can become a thorough and successful essayist.

In this article, we will provide you with an overview of the dos and don’ts of writing effective topic sentences. We will show you examples of good and bad topic sentences, and provide you with several helpful tips to make the writing process easier. So if you’re ready to learn the nuts and bolts of topic sentences, read on!

Understanding the Importance of Topic Sentences

Topic sentences are a key element in writing, especially when it comes to essays and academic papers. They serve as a guide for the reader, helping them understand the main idea of a paragraph or section. Topic sentences are like the nuts and bolts that hold an essay together, providing structure and coherence to the entire piece.

One of the most important functions of a topic sentence is to introduce the main point or argument of the paragraph. It should be clear and concise, giving the reader a preview of what is to come. A well-written topic sentence sets the tone for the rest of the paragraph and helps the reader stay focused on the main idea.

Another crucial function of topic sentences is to provide specificity and precision. Rather than using vague or general statements, topic sentences should be specific and direct. They should clearly state the main point or argument and avoid excessive fluff or unnecessary words. By being precise, topic sentences make it easier for the reader to understand and follow the writer’s ideas.

Moreover, topic sentences help to organize and structure an essay. They act as a roadmap, guiding the reader through the writer’s thoughts and arguments. By including topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph, the writer ensures that their ideas are presented in a logical and cohesive way. This not only makes the essay easier to read and understand, but it also helps the writer stay on track and avoid getting off-topic.

Furthermore, topic sentences play a crucial role in supporting the main thesis of an essay. They serve as the foundation for the arguments and evidence that will be presented in the rest of the paragraph. A good topic sentence not only introduces the main point but also provides a preview of the supporting details that will be discussed further. This helps the reader understand the purpose and relevance of the paragraph in relation to the overall thesis.

In addition, topic sentences serve as a checklist for the writer. They help the writer check if their paragraphs meet certain key qualities, such as coherence, relevance, and support. By comparing each topic sentence with the main thesis, the writer can ensure that they are staying on topic and that each paragraph contributes to the overall argument of the essay.

To sum up, topic sentences are essential in guiding the reader through an essay. They introduce the main point, provide specificity, help organize the essay, and support the main thesis. Without topic sentences, an essay can become a road of extra words and ideas, lacking coherence and direction. So, for students and essayists alike, understanding the importance of topic sentences is crucial to writing excellent and effective essays.

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The role of topic sentences in effective writing

1. Introduce the main idea: A topic sentence should introduce the main idea of the paragraph or section it belongs to. It sets the stage for what will be discussed and helps the reader understand the purpose of the upcoming text.

2. Be specific: Good topic sentences are precise and focused. They avoid vague or general statements and instead provide a clear direction for the reader to follow. For example, instead of saying “The essay will discuss various reasons for climate change,” a more specific topic sentence could be “Deforestation, industrial emissions, and transportation contribute to climate change.”

3. Make it arg

The Dos of Writing Narrative Topic Sentences

  • Be specific: A narrative topic sentence should be precise and direct. It should give your readers a clear idea of what is to come and avoid vague language or generalizations. For example, instead of saying “I had a great summer vacation,” you can say “My trip to the Grand Canyon was the highlight of my summer vacation.”
  • Include a hook: To grab your readers’ attention right from the start, include a hook in your narrative topic sentence. This can be a question, a surprising fact, or a vivid description that entices your readers to continue reading.
  • Show, don’t tell: Use descriptive language and provide specific examples to engage your readers and make your narrative more engaging. Instead of simply stating what happened, show the action and use sensory details to paint a vivid picture in your readers’ minds.
  • Follow a logical sequence: Your narrative topic sentence should set the stage for the rest of your narrative. Make sure the points you mention in the topic sentence are presented in a logical and organized manner. This will help your readers follow along easily and understand the flow of your story.
  • Check grammar and spelling: Before finalizing your topic sentence, double-check for any grammar or spelling mistakes. A well-written topic sentence not only contains the right words but also shows that you have paid attention to grammar and punctuation.

By following these dos when writing your narrative topic sentences, you can ensure that your readers are captivated from the start and eager to read more. Remember to keep them precise, engaging, and well-structured to effectively convey your narrative ideas. With the right topic sentence, your narrative writing is sure to be a success!

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Choosing a clear and specific topic for your sentence

  • Start with a brief overview of your main argument or idea. This will set the tone for the rest of your paragraph and help guide your readers.
  • Identify the major ideas or points you want to address within the paragraph. You can use bullet points or create an outline to organize your thoughts.
  • Avoid using quotations or references to other papers or essayists in your topic sentence. Instead, focus on your own ideas and arguments.
  • Show the importance or relevance of your topic by using real-life examples or concrete evidence. This will give your readers a better understanding of what you are discussing.
  • Make sure your topic sentence meets the basic grammar rules and sentence structure. Check for proper punctuation, subject-verb agreement, and sentence clarity.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your topic sentence is clear, specific, and effective in introducing your paragraph’s main idea. Remember, the topic sentence is like the rubber hitting the road – it sets the tone and gives your readers an overview of what they can expect within the paragraph. So, rev up your ideas, make them specific, and stop avoiding the extra effort needed to write good topic sentences!

Using active voice to engage the reader

One of the functions of topic sentences is to introduce the main point or argument of a paragraph. When you use active voice in your topic sentence, you make it clear who or what is performing the action, which adds specificity and clarity to your writing. For example, instead of saying “Quotations are useful to support your argument,” you can write “Using quotations supports your argument.” This direct and active sentence makes it clearer who is using the quotations and what purpose they serve.

In addition, using active voice in topic sentences can help you avoid certain grammatical pitfalls. For example, the overuse of passive voice can lead to wordiness, lack of clarity, and a disconnect between the subject and the action. Active voice can help you create more concise and precise topic sentences that clearly and effectively convey your message.

Using active voice can also help you vary the structure of your topic sentences, which adds interest and keeps the reader engaged. Instead of always using the standard subject-verb-object format, you can mix it up by starting with a different part of speech or by adding extra details. For example, instead of saying “Students should stop using vague language in their essays,” you can write “To achieve success as an essayist, students should avoid using vague language in their papers.” This more complex sentence structure adds variety and depth to your writing.

One important point to keep in mind when using active voice in your topic sentences is to ensure that it aligns with the overall purpose of your essay or paper. Active voice works well in certain types of writing, such as argumentative or persuasive essays, where your main goal is to convince the reader of your point of view. However, in other types of writing, such as informative or descriptive essays, passive voice may be more appropriate. It’s crucial to consider the genre and intended audience of your writing to determine the most effective use of active voice.

Crafting concise and focused sentences

So, what’s the best way to craft these sentences and ensure they’re concise and focused? Here are some dos and don’ts to help you:

  • Use precise and thorough language: Ensure that your topic sentence clearly and accurately expresses the main idea of your paragraph.
  • Introduce your topic: Start your topic sentence by introducing the topic or the main point you’re going to discuss in the paragraph.
  • Include specific details or examples: Support your topic sentence by providing specific examples or evidence that further illustrate your main idea.
  • Show the connection: Clearly show how your topic sentence connects to the overall argument or thesis statement of your essay or paper.
  • Use parallel structures: Use parallel structures to make your topic sentence more effective and easier to read.

The Don’ts:

  • Avoid vague or general statements: Make sure your topic sentence is focused and avoids generalizations.
  • Avoid grammar mistakes: Double-check your topic sentence for grammar errors to ensure clarity and precision.
  • Avoid excessive quotations: While quotations can be useful, they should be used sparingly and in a way that supports your main argument.
  • Avoid being too brief or too long: Find a balance between providing enough information and being concise.
  • Avoid unrelated topics: Stay on topic and avoid introducing unrelated ideas or topics in your topic sentence.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your topic sentences are effective in guiding your readers and setting up the main ideas of your paragraphs. Remember, the topic sentence is like the nuts and bolts of your essay or paper, so it’s important to craft them with care.

The Don’ts of Writing Narrative Topic Sentences

  • Avoid unrelated ideas: Make sure that your topic sentence is closely related to the main argumentative points of your essay. It should be a brief overview of what is to come in the paragraph. Introducing unrelated ideas can confuse the reader and weaken the overall structure of your essay.
  • Avoid excessive quotations: While incorporating quotations can be helpful, it’s important not to rely too heavily on them. Your topic sentence should be your own words and express your own ideas. Quotations should be used to support and enhance your argument, not to replace your own thoughts.
  • Avoid grammar and spelling errors: No matter how strong your ideas are, they’re likely to be diminished if they’re accompanied by grammar and spelling mistakes. Take the time to proofread your topic sentences and ensure they’re free of errors. This will help to maintain the credibility of your writing.
  • Avoid overly general statements: Topic sentences should be specific and to the point. Avoid using general statements that could apply to any topic. Instead, strive for specificity and precision to give your paragraphs a clear and focused direction.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can write effective topic sentences that serve as a roadmap for your essay. Remember to be specific, avoid unrelated ideas, use your own words, check for grammar and spelling mistakes, and stay away from overly general statements. Following these guidelines will help you create topic sentences that support your argumentative points and lead to the success of your essay.

What are topic sentences and why are they important in writing?

Topic sentences are the main ideas or key points of a paragraph or an essay. They serve as a guide for the reader and help to organize and structure the writing. They are important because they provide a clear focus and direction for the reader and help to maintain coherence and unity in the writing.

What are the key qualities of effective topic sentences?

Effective topic sentences should be clear and concise, capturing the main idea of the paragraph in a single sentence. They should be specific and focused, providing enough information for the reader to understand the main point. Additionally, they should be original and unique to the writer’s perspective.

What are some dos and don’ts when writing topic sentences?

When writing topic sentences, it is important to do the following: be clear and concise, make sure the sentence is specific and focused, include the main point, and make it unique. On the other hand, it is important to avoid vague or general statements, including multiple ideas in one sentence, and using cliches or overused phrases.

How can I improve my topic sentence writing skills?

To improve your topic sentence writing skills, you can start by practicing writing clear and concise sentences that capture the main idea of a paragraph. You can also read and analyze good examples of topic sentences in published works to see how they are constructed. Additionally, seeking feedback from others, such as teachers or peers, can help you identify areas for improvement and develop your skills.

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What Is A Topic Sentence

Last updated on: Jun 13, 2023

What is a Topic Sentence - An Easy Guide with Writing Steps & Examples

By: Nova A.

11 min read

Reviewed By: Melisa C.

Published on: Mar 12, 2019

What is a Topic Sentence

A topic sentence is the opening sentence at the beginning of each paragraph. These sentences tell the readers about the main idea that will be discussed in that paragraph. 

It is most important part of a body paragraph, and knowing how to write a good topic sentence is essential for writing an essay . However, writing an effective topic sentence could be tough. 

If you find it difficult to write clear and engaging topic sentences, you are not alone. But don’t worry! 

This blog will help you understand topic sentences better with examples. Also, you’ll get step-by-step guide and tips for writing more effective topic sentences. 

So let’s dive in!

What is a Topic Sentence

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What is a Topic Sentence in a Paragraph?

A topic sentence is the opening sentence of the body paragraphs of your essay. It introduces the main idea of that paragraph.

So what is the purpose of a topic sentence? 

It serves as a guidepost, indicating the main purpose and point of the paragraph. Essentially, it is a concise and direct statement that captures the essence of what you want to convey.

A topic sentence is defined by the following characteristics:

  • It is the first sentence of a paragraph
  • It indicates the main idea of the paragraph
  • Acts as a signpost and transition sentence, ensuring clarity and cohesiveness of an essay.

Why are Topic Sentences Important? 

Topic sentences are an essential component of body paragraphs , especially in academic writing which is more formal. Here’s why good these sentences are necessary for an essay:

  • They help maintain the organization and coherence of the essay. 

Topic sentences act as a roadmap for your essay, providing a clear path for your readers to follow. They establish the main ideas or arguments of each paragraph, allowing your essay to flow logically and coherently. 

By presenting a central focus in each paragraph, they help you maintain a strong sense of organization. Also, they prevent your essay from becoming a jumbled collection of random thoughts.

  • They enhance clarity and readability.

Well-crafted topic sentences promote clarity and conciseness in your writing by summarizing the main idea in a concise manner.

Moreover, they serve as signposts that signal the beginning of a particular discussion. This creates a smooth reading experience and reduces the chances of confusion.

  • They help the reader skim through the essay.

These sentences provide readers with a preview of what each paragraph will discuss. This helps them grasp the main point before delving into the rest of the paragraph.

They also enable the readers to quickly grasp the content of a paragraph. This makes it easier for them to skim through the main ideas of the essay without reading it word-by-word.

Topic Sentence vs Thesis Statement: Main Differences

Topic sentences are similar to thesis statements as they fulfill a similar purpose: they show the reader what the paragraph or essay is about. 

However, a thesis statement is written at the end of the essay introduction, and it presents the main idea of the entire paper or essay. Whereas, a topic sentence presents the main idea of a specific paragraph, and is the first sentence of that paragraph.

Here are the major differences between topic sentences and thesis statements:

Difference between a Topic Sentence and a Thesis Statement

How to Write a Topic Sentence? Here are 4 Simple Steps 

If you think about it, writing such a sentence seems like a simple task. All you have to do is write one line about the idea you’ll discuss, and you’re done. 

Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You need to follow some conditions to write good opening lines for your body paragraphs. 

Here are the steps to write engaging topic sentences:

1. Develop your Thesis Statement 

Writing a specific and self-defining thesis statement is the first step in writing an essay. A thesis statement is necessary as it lays out the main points or structure of your entire essay. 

Having a thesis statement helps you figure out what your body paragraphs will be about. This, in turn, helps you identify each paragraphs controlling idea and craft a topic sentence.

2. Identify the Controlling Ideas of Your Body Paragraphs

Once you have a thesis statement for your essay, identify the main idea or central theme of the paragraphs.

Ask yourself, "What is the key point I want to convey in this paragraph?" This will serve as the focus and topic of your paragraph. Moreover, identifying your main points will also help you make an essay outline.

Here’s an example of how you can identify the main ideas of your body paragraphs:

3. Write your Topic Sentence

Now that you know the main idea of each paragraph, you should attempt to write your topic sentences. It is not necessary that you get the sentences right the first time. Try different variations and see which of the sentences explains the paragraph idea in a better way. 

Ensure that your topic sentence relates directly to your thesis statement or the main argument of your essay. The topic sentence should support and reinforce the overall message you want to convey in your writing.

The example below shows topic sentences based on the main ideas identified in step 2:

4. Revise and Make your Topic Sentences Better

A strong topic sentence should be clear, concise, and directly related to your thesis statement. They should also be logically connected to the previous paragraph. It is important that you revise, make them better, and rewrite the sentences as you progress with the paper. 

Make sure that they reflect the main theme of the paragraph and are according to the paragraph’s content. Use appropriate transition words for essays when transitioning from one paragraph to another.

Read on to learn about different types of topic sentences. They will help you to write, rewrite, and revise your opening sentences in the best ways.

What are the Different Types of Topic Sentences?

Here are some common types of topic sentences you can incorporate in your essay.

[Infographic]

  • Statement of Fact or Information

This type of topic sentence presents a straightforward statement of fact or information that sets the stage for the paragraph. It provides essential background knowledge or introduces a key concept. 

  • Hook or Shocker  

This kind of sentence presents a shocking statement of fact about the paragraph’s key idea. This type of topic sentence aims to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. 

  • Illustration or Example

An illustration or example topic sentence provides a specific instance or anecdote to support the main idea of the paragraph. It helps to clarify and reinforce your argument by providing concrete evidence or a real-life scenario. 

  • Question or Thought-Provoking Statement  

A topic sentence in the form of a question or thought-provoking statement engages readers by encouraging them to seek an answer. It stimulates curiosity and anticipation for what follows in the paragraph. 

You can also watch this video that explains topic sentences in a simple way: 

Topic Sentence Examples

‘What is a topic sentence example?’

Check out some helpful and effective topic sentence examples to help you get started.

  • Professional baking is a lot more than mixing some flour, eggs, and sugar into a bowl and putting it into the oven; it requires precision, attention to detail, and dedication to the craft.
  • Writing is a thorough and time-consuming process, but with some dedicated practice, you can become a better writer.
  • Learning a foreign language opens doors to several new opportunities that are not only available when a person is familiar with his mother tongue. 
  • Home remodeling is an exciting project, but without proper designer skills and taste, it could turn into a disaster.
  • Several human activities are the main reasons behind global environmental pollution, and excess usage of plastic is one such cause.

Helpful Tips for Writing Better Topic Sentences 

You’ve read some great examples, but how can you write similarly effective topic sentences yourself? Here are some amazing tips to help you out.

  • Be Clear and Concise: Focus on expressing the main idea of the paragraph in a concise and direct manner. Avoid unnecessary details or convoluted language that may confuse your readers.
  • Consider the Paragraph's Focus: Avoid including multiple ideas or concepts within a single topic sentence. Instead, focus on one central point for each paragraph.
  • Vary Your Sentence Structure: To maintain reader interest and engagement, vary the structure of your topic sentences. Experiment with different types, such as simple sentences, rhetorical questions, or even shocking facts.
  • Use Strong and Descriptive Language: Choose powerful and descriptive words that accurately capture the essence of your main idea. Avoid vague or generic language that lacks impact. Instead, opt for words that evoke emotions or create vivid imagery.
  • Seek Feedback: Consider sharing your writing with others and seeking feedback on your paragraphs. Ask for input on clarity, coherence, transitions, and overall effectiveness.

A great topic sentence directs the reader about the main content of the paragraph. It is brief and engages the reader. 

Remember, mastering the art of writing effective topic sentences takes practice and refinement. As you develop your writing skills, focus on crafting clear and engaging topic sentences that align with your thesis statement.

However, we understand that writing essays can still be challenging, especially when faced with tight deadlines or complex assignments.

That's where 5staressays.com comes in! 

If you’re short on time or lack good writing skills, you can team up with a professional essay writer. Our ‘ write my essay ’ service works with professional and subject-expert writers that help you write engaging and A-worthy essays. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the topic sentence located in your essay.

Topic sentences come at the beginning of body paragraphs. They are the first sentence of a paragraph and introduces the main idea of that paragraph. 

Can a topic sentence be a question?

Yes, a topic sentence could be a question. You can use a rhetorical question or an interrogative sentence to engage your reader and encourage them to read on.

How long is a topic sentence?

It depends on the depth of the idea. Usually, it is just one sentence, but in some cases, it could be composed of two sentences. However, the first few lines of the paragraph should be able to present its main idea effectively.

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As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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Topic Sentence Generator

Create a strong topic sentence for your essay or paper, start your essay with a strong topic sentence, our topic sentence generator helps you:, establish a clear focus for your paragraph.

  • Introduce your main idea effectively
  • Set the stage for the rest of your essay
  • Engage your readers from the beginning

A powerful topic sentence is crucial for setting the stage for your essay or paper and engaging your readers from the very beginning. Our Topic Sentence Generator helps you create a strong, clear topic sentence that introduces your main idea effectively and sets the stage for the rest of your essay. By using our generator, you can ensure your essay starts off on the right foot.

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How to Write a Topic Sentence for an Argumentative Essay

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by  Antony W

September 13, 2022

How to Write a Topic Sentence for an Argumentative Essay

In this guide, we’ll look at how to write a topic sentence for an argumentative essay. And don’t worry, it’s an incredibly simple thing to do, so you don’t necessary have to overthink anything here.

Key Takeaways 

  • A topic sentence begins every paragraph of your argumentative essay.
  • The purpose of the topic sentence is to communicate the main idea you intend to cover in the paragraph, so it should be clear, sensible, and coherent.
  • If possible, include new information in your topic sentence to make your writing stand out.
  • You can use transition words such as “another” and “even though” to start a topic sentence in your argumentative essay.
  • Use compound and complex sentences to strengthen your paragraphs.
  • You can use reasonable options, but make sure you can support them so that they’re convincing.

What Is a Topic Sentence in an Argumentative Essay?

A topic sentence is the opening statement in every paragraph of an argumentative essay. It provides an idea of what you’ll cover in the paragraph.

A topic sentence should be vast so that it can support many subtopics in the rest of its paragraphs.

It’s important to note that a topic sentence in an argumentative essay is completely different from the thesis statement.

A thesis statement states the repeated focus in an entire writing. A thesis makes a major point that you will discuss in the rest of the argument.

A topic sentence on the other hand will introduce the topics of every supporting paragraphs to back up the thesis.

What is the Purpose of a Topic Sentence in an Argumentative Essay?

You need a topic sentence because it makes the idea of the main paragraph more clear and sensible for coherence.

The topic sentence joins sentences of a given paragraph, backs up what the paper claims, explains what a paragraph says, and claims mini thesis statements.

Tips for Writing a Topic Sentence for an Argumentative Essay

Here are 4 useful tips that will help you write a good topic sentence for an argumentative essay:

1. Use New Information

You should write a topic sentence that’s interesting to read so that it immerses your readers deeply into your essay.

Try as much as you can to make the information you provide look new. By doing so, way it will be far from being another fact statement.

2. Use a Topic Sentence Later in the Opening Paragraph

Many students often choose to write their topic sentence as the first thing in every paragraph. While that’s the standard approach, you can be a bit flexible.

In other words, instead of having your topic sentence in every first sentence of a paragraph, you can write it after the hook in an opening paragraph to grab the reader’s attention and that makes him or her want to read more.

3. Try Transition Words

Transitional words can be used on opening topic sentences or on sentence that begin with supporting paragraphs.

You can use transitional words like “another”, “although” or “even though” to start your new paragraph

4. Make your Topic Sentence Compound and Complex

To make your topic sentence high level with a stronger feels, consider the use of compound and complex sentences.

For compound sentences, use independent clauses – preferably two – and then connect them using a comma and conjunction.

For complex sentences, use independent and subordinate clauses and link them with a comma and subordinating conjunction.

Here are examples of compound and complex sentences:

  • Complex sentence : When planes fly, they follow paths used by other planes for centuries. “When” at this point is the subordinate conjunction.
  • Compound sentences : The colonial period was a period of intrusion, but it was monitored by strict social nods. In this case, “but” is the coordinating conjunction.

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1. Clearly State Your Major Idea

Since a topic sentence is the first statement in every paragraph, it is important to make it more clear, straight to the point and easy to digest.

Avoid using extra, unnecessary words as it makes understanding more difficult.

Make sure you include controlling ideas and topics because the sentences that follow thereafter should relate to the topic sentence.

Avoid using an opening statement like “Today we are going to discuss the benefits of afforestation”.

After all, a topic sentence is not an invitation, which allows announcement of topics at hand.

2. Use the Topic Sentence as a Transition

Topic sentences that work as transitions guide readers through arguments on essays.

This makes sure they are not only on track but also don’t get lost in words.

3. Keep it Short and Concise

Don’t have your readers figure out your intentions in your argumentative essay are; just use the topic statements to show them the aim of your essay.

So make your topic sentence more specific than your thesis.

When you use short sentence on your essay you make your paragraph retain its flow.

The shorter you keep the sentences the more you clearly bring out your intentions.  

4. Balance the Topic Sentence between Specifics and General Ideas

Topic sentences ought to relate to the thesis statement on your essay. Importantly, ensure the topic sentence is broad and balanced.

Avoid the use of general ideas because they will be a bit challenging to discuss. Avoid the use of narrow statements instead aim for a balance that is good.  

Also, hook your readers more by describing characters, portray emotions, use dialogues, details but avoid rhetorical questions.

5. Make Use of Reasonable Opinions

The topic sentence is supposed to outline things that can be supported by concrete evidence. That’s why we need topic sentences in paragraphs.

You are allowed to highlight an opinion on your topic sentence but only make the move when you are certain of backing it up with the paragraph that follows.

Facts are good but avoid them because they won’t introduce the reader to your main idea.

If you find it necessary, consider an input of your own. For example, instead of writing, “All patients need treatment”, you can say, “All patients need regular care, like food, water and nurses are the best for it”.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word documents

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Microsoft's Copilot Pro AI offers a few benefits for $20 per month. But the most helpful one is the AI-powered integration with the different Microsoft 365 apps. For those of you who use Microsoft Word, for instance, Copilot Pro can help you write and revise your text, provide summaries of your documents, and answer questions about any document.

First, you'll need a subscription to either Microsoft 365 Personal or Family . Priced at $70 per year, the Personal edition is geared for one individual signed into as many as five devices. At $100 per year, the Family edition is aimed at up to six people on as many as five devices. The core apps in the suite include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Also: Microsoft Copilot vs. Copilot Pro: Is the subscription fee worth it?

Second, you'll need the subscription to Copilot Pro if you don't already have one. To sign up, head to the Copilot Pro website . Click the Get Copilot Pro button. Confirm the subscription and the payment. The next time you use Copilot on the website, in Windows, or with the mobile apps, the Pro version will be in effect.

How to use Copilot Pro in Word

1. open word.

Launch Microsoft Word and open a blank document. Let's say you need help writing a particular type of document and want Copilot to create a draft. 

Also: Microsoft Copilot Pro vs. OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus: Which is worth your $20 a month?

A small "Draft with Copilot" window appears on the screen. If you don't see it, click the tiny "Draft with Copilot icon in the left margin."

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2. Submit your request

At the text field in the window, type a description of the text you need and click the "Generate" button.

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Submit your request.

3. Review the response and your options

Copilot generates and displays its response. After reading the response, you're presented with a few different options.

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Review the response and your options.

4. Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft

If you like the draft, click "Keep it." The draft is then inserted into your document where you can work with it. If you don't like the draft, click the "Regenerate" button, and a new draft is created. 

Also: What is Copilot (formerly Bing Chat)? Here's everything you need to know

If you'd prefer to throw out the entire draft and start from scratch, click the trash can icon.

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Keep, regenerate, or remove the draft.

5. Alter the draft

Alternatively, you can try to modify the draft by typing a specific request in the text field, such as "Make it more formal," "Make it shorter," or "Make it more casual."

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Alter the draft.

6. Review the different versions

If you opt to regenerate the draft, you can switch between the different versions by clicking the left or right arrow next to the number. You can then choose to keep the draft you prefer.

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7. Revise existing text

Copilot will also help you fine-tune existing text. Select the text you want to revise. Click the Copilot icon in the left margin and select "Rewrite with Copilot."

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Revise existing text.

8. Review the different versions

Copilot creates a few different versions of the text. Click the arrow keys to view each version.

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Review the different versions.

9. Replace or Insert

If you find one you like, click "Replace" to replace the text you selected. 

Also: ChatGPT vs. Microsoft Copilot vs. Gemini: Which is the best AI chatbot?

Click "Insert below" to insert the new draft below the existing words so you can compare the two.

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Replace or Insert.

10. Adjust the tone

Click "Regenerate" to ask Copilot to try again. Click the "Adjust Tone" button and select a different tone to generate another draft.

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Adjust the tone.

11. Turn text into a table

Sometimes you have text that would look and work better as a table. Copilot can help. Select the text you wish to turn into a table. Click the Copilot icon and select "Visualize as a Table."

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Turn text into a table.

12. Respond to the table

In response, click "Keep it" to retain the table. Click "Regenerate" to try again. Click the trash can icon to delete it. Otherwise, type a request in the text field, such as "remove the second row" or "make the last column wider."

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Respond to the table.

13. Summarize a document

Copilot Pro can provide a summary of a document with its key points. To try this, open the document you want to summarize and then click the Copilot icon on the Ribbon. 

Also: The best AI chatbots

The right sidebar displays several prompts you can use to start your question. Click the one for "Summarize this doc."

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Summarize a document.

14. Review the summary

View the generated summary in the sidebar. If you like it as is, click the "Copy" button to copy the summary and paste it elsewhere.

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Review the summary.

15. Revise the summary

Otherwise, choose one of the suggested questions or ask your own question to revise the summary. For example, you could tell Copilot to make the summary longer, shorter, more formal, or less formal. 

Also: The best AI image generators

You could also ask it to expand on one of the points in the summary or provide more details on a certain point. A specific response is then generated based on your request.

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Revise the summary.

16. Ask questions about a document

Next, you can ask specific questions about any of the content in a document. Again, click the Copilot icon to display the sidebar. In the prompt area, type and submit your question. Copilot displays the response in the sidebar. You can then ask follow-up questions as needed.

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Ask questions about a document.

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IMAGES

  1. Topic Sentence: Definition, Examples and Useful Tips for Writing A

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  2. How to write a good topic sentence in Academic Writing

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  3. How to Write a Good Topic Sentence: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    write topic sentence essay

  4. How to Write a Good Topic Sentence: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    write topic sentence essay

  5. How To Write A Topic Sentence For An Informative Essay

    write topic sentence essay

  6. The topic sentence is a key element to writing on topic

    write topic sentence essay

VIDEO

  1. Argumentative essay writing

  2. the writing process from paragraph to essay s1

  3. How to write a topic sentence (2)

  4. How to write a topic sentence (3)

  5. Essay: The Topic Sentence (Requirements & Problems)

  6. Components of essay

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write Topic Sentences

    Step 1: Write a thesis statement The first step to developing your topic sentences is to make sure you have a strong thesis statement. The thesis statement sums up the purpose and argument of the whole paper. Thesis statement example

  2. How to Write Masterful Topic Sentences for Essays

    Matt Ellis Updated on June 2, 2022 Students A topic sentence, usually the first sentence in a paragraph, introduces the main idea of that paragraph and sets its tone. A topic sentence is especially important in essays, where topics change from paragraph to paragraph.

  3. How To Write a Topic Sentence (With Examples and Tips)

    1. Identify the main point in your piece of writing Think about the overall topic for your writing. Decide how you can introduce this idea to your readers with an interesting opening sentence. 2.

  4. How to Write a Strong Topic Sentence + Examples

    To write a good topic sentence, there are several steps to take. Writing a Good Topic Sentence: 5 Steps Step 1: Decide what you're going to write about. When you see the essay prompt, you'll have some time to think through what you want to say and why. You have to decide if it's a persuasive essay, informative, narrative, or descriptive.

  5. How to Write a Topic Sentence: 3 Topic Sentence Examples

    Follow these steps to write an effective topic sentence for each body paragraph of your essay or paper: 1. Have a thesis statement. You need to know what your paper or essay is about to determine the topic sentences. Construct a thesis statement at the beginning of your writing process. 2. Outline your paper.

  6. Using Topic Sentences

    A topic sentence states the main point of a paragraph: it serves as a mini-thesis for the paragraph. You might think of it as a signpost for your readers—or a headline—something that alerts them to the most important, interpretive points in your essay.

  7. How to Write Powerful Topic Sentences (Tips & Samples)

    Regarding topic sentence placement, there are two common approaches: 1. The first is to place it at the paragraph beginning, which is the most common method. This approach immediately lets the reader understand the paragraph's main point, providing a framework for supporting details or examples.

  8. 5 Simple Steps to Write a Topic Sentence with Examples

    1. What is a Topic Sentence In An Essay? 2. Elements of a Good Topic Sentence 3. How to Write a Topic Sentence - 5 Simple Steps 4. Common Pitfalls in Crafting Topic Sentences What is a Topic Sentence In An Essay? In an essay, a topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph, and it gives us a sneak peek into what the paragraph will talk about.

  9. Topic Sentences

    Topic sentences are idea indicators, or "signs" that help guide a reader along from idea to idea. Topic sentences have a topic and an angle, just like thesis sentences. But the angle of topic sentences usually is smaller in range than that of the thesis sentence. Very often the topic remains the same from thesis to topic sentence, while the ...

  10. How to Write a Great Topic Sentence

    In this article, you'll learn a sequence of steps to help you create great topic sentences: First, you'll need to come up with a question that your paper will answer. For instance, you might try to address how watching violence affects the way children play with toys. 1. Start With a Question.

  11. Writing Topic Sentences

    Examples What is a topic sentence? A topic sentence in academic writing identifies how a body paragraph relates to the overall purpose of an essay stated in the thesis statement. Topic sentences are usually at the beginning of a paragraph and identify the paragraph's controlling idea.

  12. How to Write a Good Topic Sentence: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    Part 1 Writing a Successful Topic Sentence Download Article 1 State your main idea clearly. Because your topic sentence is likely the first sentence of the paragraph, it needs to clearly state the subject matter of your paragraph without being wordy or difficult to understand.

  13. Paragraphs & Topic Sentences

    A well-organized paragraph supports or develops a single controlling idea, which is expressed in a sentence called the topic sentence. A topic sentence has several important functions: it substantiates or supports an essay's thesis statement; it unifies the content of a paragraph and directs the order of the sentences; and it advises the ...

  14. Anatomy of a Body Paragraph

    First, a strong topic sentence makes a claim or states a main idea that is then developed in the rest of the paragraph. Second, the topic sentence signals to readers how the paragraph is connected to the larger argument in your paper.

  15. How to Write a Topic Sentence

    The first step is to write the thesis statement. The next step is to outline the paper. A clear outline will help to organize the ideas, research, and evidence into paragraphs. Once the thesis statement and an outline for the paper are created, the topic sentences should be drafted. Be sure your topic sentence reviews what you wrote in the ...

  16. How to Write a Topic Sentence

    1. What is a Topic Sentence? 2. Types of Topic Sentences 3. How to Write a Topic Sentence? 4. Difference Between Topic Sentence and Thesis Sentence 5. Good Topic Sentence Examples What is a Topic Sentence? A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph in an essay that introduces the main idea or topic of that paragraph.

  17. 4.3 Topic Sentences

    4.1 Basic Essay Structure; 4.2 Body Paragraphs: An Overview; 4.3 Topic Sentences; 4.4 Supporting Evidence; ... which will usually depend upon the type of essay you are writing; for example, your topic sentence should suggest whether your goal is to inform or persuade your readers (your topic sentence should indicate whether or not you have an ...

  18. How To Write A Topic Sentence

    How To Write A Topic Sentence | Essay Writing Part 3 Struggling to write a sustained argument? Read this post to learn how to write a topic sentence that connect to your thesis statement.

  19. How to Write Effective Topic Sentences: The Dos and Don'ts

    1. It introduces the main idea: Your topic sentence should clearly state what the paragraph is going to be about. It should give the reader a brief overview of the main points that will be discussed. #1 Bestselling Book for Essay Writers See Contents & Details 2. It is specific: A good topic sentence is not vague or general.

  20. What is a Topic Sentence & How to Write it

    3. Write your Topic Sentence. Now that you know the main idea of each paragraph, you should attempt to write your topic sentences. It is not necessary that you get the sentences right the first time. Try different variations and see which of the sentences explains the paragraph idea in a better way.

  21. 30 Examples of Topic Sentences (by grade level)

    Elementary students often write simple topic sentences that focus solely on the main idea of the paragraph. Some examples of topic sentences for this age group include: When we had a snow day, I made snow angels, drank hot cocoa, and went sledding. Students should not have to do homework because it takes a lot of time.

  22. Topic Sentence Generator

    A powerful topic sentence is crucial for setting the stage for your essay or paper and engaging your readers from the very beginning. Our Topic Sentence Generator helps you create a strong, clear topic sentence that introduces your main idea effectively and sets the stage for the rest of your essay. By using our generator, you can ensure your ...

  23. How to Write a Topic Sentence for an Argumentative Essay

    The topic sentence joins sentences of a given paragraph, backs up what the paper claims, explains what a paragraph says, and claims mini thesis statements. Tips for Writing a Topic Sentence for an Argumentative Essay. Here are 4 useful tips that will help you write a good topic sentence for an argumentative essay: 1. Use New Information

  24. How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word ...

    For those of you who use Microsoft Word, for instance, Copilot Pro can help you write and revise your text, provide summaries of your documents, and answer questions about any document.