What is a topic sentence? A topic sentence, the first sentence of a paragraph, presents the main concept discussed in the paragraph. It must contain sufficient information to support numerous examples and subtopics without being too broad to obscure the essay’s intended purpose. The remaining sentences in the paragraph will act as supporting statements, providing evidence and examples for the main idea.
Importance of topic sentences
In essays or articles, where subjects can shift from one paragraph to another, a topic phrase is particularly crucial. The topic sentences, superficially, may seem to serve the purpose of only acting like the initial or introductory sentence of a paragraph. But it has numerous other purposes that make it an important part of essays.
- Topic sentences link paragraphs together to improve the sentence flow and make reading easier.When topic sentences are not used, switching between paragraphs can feel abrupt and jarring to the reader. Authors can maintain the rhythm of their writing using topic sentences and facilitate smooth transitions.
- Topic sentences show the reader a sample of what to expect from the paragraph. The readers can determine from the topic sentence whether the paragraph will comprise a narrative, a list, anecdotal evidence, statistical data, persuasive opinions, or some other form of evidence.
- If two conflicting viewpoints are presented in a single paragraph, authors can use more than one topic sentence to inform the readers about the changes in the main concept. For example, paragraphs that “compare and contrast” require more than one topic sentence. In these kinds of paragraphs, authors can start with a topic sentence introducing the first idea and follow it up with proof or evidence supporting the idea. Then they can introduce the second topic sentence conveying the opposing viewpoint, followed by proof or evidence supporting it.
Different types of topic sentences
The different types of topic sentences include:
This topic sentence is used by authors to make a general observation or statement and then elaborate on it in the body of the paragraph.
New studies are emerging indicating the link between climate change and the emergence of numerous new virus strains.
Interrogative or question
This is used by writers in less formal settings. Authors can start a paragraph using implicit or explicit questions related to the topic of discussion to engage the readers.
How many nations are ready to adapt to rising sea levels?
Complex topic sentences are used when the author is discussing a complicated concept that encompasses multiple ideas. Such topic sentences cover more than a single core idea.
Although many people believe that a mother bird will reject its chick if it is touched by humans, the truth is that birds do not abandon their babies after humans touch them.
Authors can use their topic sentences to make explicit demands or pleas to their readers. This will be helpful in breaking the monotony of the essay.
Let’s look at the data from the latest research.
Though topic sentences are generally responsible for facilitating a smooth transition between paragraphs, occasionally they are purely transitional. These function best when the main topic shifts abruptly by highlighting the switch.
But not everybody agrees.
Pivot sentences are not found at the beginning of a paragraph but rather in the middle, indicating a change in the topic. Conjunctive adverbs like however,furthermore, and meanwhile are frequently used with them.
However, the undisputed king of tennis, Roger Federer, was dethroned in 2008 at Wimbledon.
How to create good topic sentences
A good topic sentence can be created using some simple steps:
1. Determine the key point of your essay
Writers should first form an understanding of the topic of the essay and then create topic sentences to attract the attention of readers. Constructing a good thesis statement can assist the writer in forming better topic sentences.
2. Have an outline for the essay
The author should form a plan or roadmap beforehand on the topics they want to discuss in a paragraph and the evidence they want to use as supporting statements.
3. Be coherent and clear
Writers should make their topic sentences clear and comprehensible so that the reader can form a clear understanding of what to expect in the paragraph.
4. Share opinions
It is advisable to share the opinion or viewpoint of the author in the topic sentence to attract the attention of the reader. Authors should also refrain from writing obvious facts in the topic sentences.
5. Use specific wordings
The topic sentences ought to be precise enough so that the authors can use a few sentences in the paragraph to support them.
6. Transitions should be added between paragraphs
To give the essay or paper a throughline,authors can create topic sentences that refer to the prior paragraph. A topic sentence can make a reference to the preceding paragraph while introducing the next part by using transitional words.
7. Use new, relevant information
Instead of usingan obvious fact that everybody knows as the topic sentence, authors can give new information. It is also important to present them in an interesting way.
8. Create a compound or complex topic statement
Compound or complex topic statements feel advanced and stronger. Authors can create such topic statements to add a high level of sophistication to their text.
What is the difference between a topic sentence and a thesis statement?
Many beginner writers and students confuse thesis statements with topic sentences. In essence, thesis statements establish the major idea discussed in the entire essay or paper, as opposed to topic sentences, which introduce the central concept of a paragraph.
Both of these sentences are responsible for giving the readers a sample of what to expect, but in entirely different capacities. Suppose a person is writing a thesis about the different compounds present in coffee and the health benefits it offers.
The thesis statement will be a generalized statement indicating that there are numerous compounds in coffee that benefit the health of humans. But the topic sentence of each paragraph will introduce any single health benefit or compoundpresent in the coffee.
Is it necessary to place the topic sentence at the beginning of a paragraph?
Topic sentences are typically found at the beginning of a paragraph. But this does not mean that they cannot be placed elsewhere in the paragraph. In some cases, when the details discussed can be summarized into a general statement, topic sentences can be included at the end.
Similarly, in some paragraphs where multiple concepts are discussed, topic sentences may be used in the middle of the paragraph. The placement depends on the number of topics being discussed and the way they are discussed.
- Merriam Webster – topic sentence – Definition
- Wikipedia – Topic sentence
- wikiHow – How to Write a Good Topic Sentence
- Scribbr – How to Write Topic Sentences | 4 Steps, Examples & Purpose
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