What is a Topic Sentence – Easy Guide with Examples
Many students ask, ‘What is a topic sentence in your introduction?’
Topic sentences are the opening sentences of the paragraphs. These sentences tell the readers about the main idea that will be discussed in the paragraph. However, writing these sentences could be tough.
Many students are confused about what is a topic sentence and do not know how to use this tool to increase reader engagement. Essay writing depends on these sentences and, therefore, learning them is necessary.
If you are also one of such students who do not know about it, it is completely fine. You are not alone. We are here to help you understand these sentences and use them effectively.
Just as a movie trailer highlights the main scenes, giving the audience an idea of what the movie is about, a topic sentence highlights the main idea of that particular paragraph.
Learn more about the topic sentence definition and how to write them in this blog.
What is a Topic Sentence?
A topic sentence is the opening sentence of the body paragraph of your essay that summarizes the main idea being discussed in the rest of the paragraph. Now you know what is a topic sentence in a body paragraph.
What is the purpose of a topic sentence? It informs the reader about the main thought or theme and the details presented in the rest of the paragraph.
It also helps to mark the start of a new idea. Otherwise, without it, it would seem like a continuation of the previous paragraph.
They are similar to your thesis statement – just as it sums up the main idea of the entire paper, a topic sentence introduces the idea of the particular paragraph.
It should be according to the structure and organization of the essay or the paper you are working on. The rest of the paragraph should support that main or controlling idea. What is a good topic sentence? In a nutshell, it should be:
- Specific and present the main focus of the thesis statement
- Present in the first sentence of the paragraph
- The paragraph’s main introduction
A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph, and it keeps the readers glued to your essay. Therefore, spend some time developing engaging and targeted topic sentences for your essay or research paper.
Difference between a Topic Sentence and a Thesis Statement
‘What is a topic sentence vs thesis statement?’
A thesis statement is added at the end of the introduction, and it presents the main idea of the entire paper or essay. A topic sentence is different from it as it presents the main idea of a paragraph only.
Topic sentences follow the lead of the thesis statement while it is self-explanatory and highlights the main theme of the essay or paper.
Why are Topic Sentences Important?
‘What is the purpose of a topic sentence?’
First, a topic sentence tells the reader about the main and controlling idea of the paragraph. It is important because you cannot begin writing a paragraph without highlighting the main idea and point. Doing so will confuse the reader only.
Moreover, they also help the reader skim the main ideas without reading the entire essay or paper word by word. This helps in knowing the main ideas that are discussed in it.
What is a Topic Sentence in an Essay?
In an essay, a topic sentence refers to the main sentence that conveys the information about the main idea and theme of the essay. Its sole purpose is to inform the readers about what the writer will discuss in the essay.
What is a Topic Sentence in a Paragraph?
The topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. It informs the readers about the main idea that will be discussed in the paragraph. It sets the stage for what is to come and prepares the readers for it.
How to Write a Topic Sentence?
If you think about it, writing such a sentence seems like a simple task. All you have to do is write a few lines about the idea you’ll discuss, and you’re done. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. To write good topic sentences, certain guidelines must be followed.
Below are the steps to write engaging topic sentences.
1. Develop and Write your Thesis Statement
Writing a specific and self-defining thesis statement is the first step in writing a paper or essay. A thesis statement is always presented at the end of the introductory paragraph.
To write effective topic sentences, you should learn how to write a thesis statement that explains the purpose of your writing.
A topic sentence sums up the key controlling idea of the paragraph.
Example Thesis Statement: Global pollution is increasing with leaps and bounds, and humans are playing a significant role in
2. Prepare the Essay Outline and Topic Sentences
Based on the thesis statement, outline your essay or paper. Decide the number of paragraphs and ideas you would discuss in the paper and plan their content. Divide your researched material into paragraphs and prepare topic sentences for each paragraph.
It is not necessary that you get the sentences right the first time. Try different variations and see which of the sentences explain the paragraph idea in a better way. Divide the ideas and supporting information into paragraphs.
The topic sentences will be more specific than the thesis statement. Why is it so? Because the thesis statement summarizes the entire paper while the topic sentences summarize the main paragraph idea only.
Example Topic Sentence: Plastic waste is contributing to more than 70% of global pollution. This pollution expands to both above and under the sea as each year, a significant number of marine life suffers due to plastic waste in the sea.
This topic sentence is more specific than the thesis statement given above.
3. Expand the Topic Sentences with Evidence
Once you have added the topic sentence, the rest of the paragraph will follow the lead of the topic sentence. It should flow logically and include relevant and substantial evidence to prove the point added and discussed in the sentence.
This sentence keeps your paragraph glued to the main idea and focused on a single idea or theme. For example, you can mention how plastic waste is increasing the population and the way it is affecting the ecosystem.
4. Revise and Make your Topic Sentences Better
Usually, the topic sentences begin as simple sentences. 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.
It gives an idea of what the paragraph will talk about but does not give complete details. As mentioned earlier, it is like a movie trailer, not the entire movie.
To make your topic sentences stronger and more impactful, make sure that you present the connection between the paragraphs. The connection should be logical and clear and present a clear transition between the paragraphs.
Use appropriate transition words for essays and add them into the topic sentences when transitioning from one paragraph to another.
What are the Different Types of Topic Sentences?
Below are the common types of topic sentences;
- Overview or Specific Preview - This kind of sentence previews the main points discussed in the paragraph.
Example: Thanksgiving is a traditional holiday that was started by the Red Indians and Pilgrims. The idea was to share the fruits of the newly founded America together.
- Shocker - This kind of sentence presents a shocking statement of fact about the paragraph’s key idea.
Example: Do you know that the first even Thanksgiving was celebrated almost four thousand years ago?
- Descriptive Kind of Sentence - This sentence describes the main idea or event discussed in the paragraph.
Example: Hot and delicious Turkey, bright red cranberries, the aroma of freshly baked bread and potatoes, and delicately spiced pumpkin pie. These words are synonymous with Thanksgiving.
- Personal Anecdote - Presents the writer’s personal affiliation and connection with the main topic.
Example: Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. When I think of it, I think of delicious food, family get-togethers, and lots of fun.
- Question Type Sentence - This kind of sentence is in the form of a question, and the paragraph answers it.
Example: Ever thought about how many people have celebrated Thanksgiving ever since it had started about four thousand years ago?
These are the main kinds of topic sentences. Others include complex topic sentences that introduce the main idea while transitioning from the previous paragraph or idea and the topic sentences that propose two sentences.
The second sentence presents a contrast to the first one. Some other types of sentences include declarative, interrogative, and imperative types of sentences.
Examples of Topic Sentences
‘What is a topic sentence example?’
Learning through examples is easier than when you try to learn something blindly. Below, we have added 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 the bowl and putting it into the oven. It requires precision, and above all, it requires attention to detail and dedication to the craft.
- Writing is a thorough process, but by following some easy-to-follow strategies and exercises, you can become a better writer in a short time. Practice is one such strategy.
- Learning a foreign language opens doors to several new opportunities that are not only available when a person is familiar with his mother tongue. Learning Spanish is a great option for an English speaker.
- Home remodeling is an exciting project, but without proper designer skills and taste, it could turn into a disaster. Online interior designing classes and courses are a great way of adding to your skills.
- Several human activities are the main reasons behind global environmental pollution. Excess usage of plastic and plastic waste is one such cause and reason.
A great topic sentence directs the reader about the main content of the paragraph. It is brief, and if it engages the reader.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you identify a topic sentence?
A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph and introduces the main idea of the paragraph. The said statement should explain what will be discussed in the paragraph.
Can a topic sentence be a question?
No, a topic sentence could not be a question. It must be a declarative statement that informs the readers about the writer’s claim.
How many sentences are in a topic sentence?
It depends on the depth of the idea. Usually, it is one sentence long but in some cases, it could be two or even three sentences long. The first sentence will state the main idea while the other two sentences explain this main idea.
Is a topic sentence the main idea?
Yes, since the main idea of the paragraph is given in this sentence, it could be said that a topic sentence is the main idea of the paragraph.