How to Write a Topic Sentence

August 22, 2022

This is the definitive guide on how to write a topic sentence. Whether you’ve written an essay before or you’ve started learning how to write research papers, you’ll find this guide incredibly helpful.

There’s more to research and essay writing than picking a topic, conducting your research, and presenting your findings in a well-written document. You need to understand the structure of the document well and then write every section following the established academic standards.

Taking the 5-paragraph essay structure as an example, every paragraph in the body section of the paper should have a topic sentence. The topic sentence presents your main idea for that particular paragraph. You will then follow the sentence with additional support information before concluding with a closing link that transitions a reader to the next paragraph (or idea).

Our goal with this guide is very simple.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about a topic sentence, including what it is, why it’s important, and how to write it.

Let’s get started.

What is a Topic Sentence?

A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph that expresses the overall theme of the work. It must include enough detail to allow for various subtopics and illustrations without becoming so wide that the point that it makes writing unclear.

Topic sentences direct the reader by introducing the rest of the paragraph’s subject. In addition to having a close relation to the overall theme of the work, a topic sentence provides the specific issue that is the emphasis of a paragraph.

Note that a topic sentence is different from a thesis statement. 

A thesis statement is a sentence that conveys the main point of a piece of writing repeatedly. An essay’s thesis statement comes after the hook and/or topic sentence in the first paragraph to make a point you will back by examples throughout the essay.

A topic sentence, on the other hand, is the sentence you use to back up the thesis by introducing ideas in every supporting paragraph.

Why is a Topic Sentence Important?

A topic sentence is important because is serve to introduce a paragraph and connect it to the essay’s thesis statement. Each topic sentence contains two components: a topic (the subject of the paragraph) and a controlling idea (the direction the paragraph will take). Consider the following examples of topic sentences in which the topic is bolded and the controlling idea is italicized.

How to Write a Topic Sentence

The following are the steps for writing a topic sentence:

  • Identify the primary point of your writing. Consider the overall subject of your writing. Determine how you can engage your readers with an intriguing opening sentence.
  • Include the “what” and the “why” in a sentence that connects to your main idea. This will help a reader to understand how your main idea relates to the main point.
  • Compose an opening sentence for your piece of writing that utilizes the “what” and “why” structure to introduce the work’s central point. Place this sentence immediately before your thesis statement to serve as an introduction to both the thesis and the central idea of your essay.
  • Create a sentence that begins each supporting paragraph by introducing the section’s new topic and reintroducing readers to the piece’s central idea. Maintain the “what” and “why” structure as you construct new topic sentences for each paragraph.

Tips to Help You Write a Topic Sentence

The following tips will help you write topic sentences for your essays better – and in the shortest time possible.

1. Make Sure Your Topic Sentence Isn’t Ambiguous

You require a topic sentence that contains some specifics, but it should pique your reader’s interest with an opinion that isn’t vague by any means. A vague sentence makes it more difficult to write a paragraph that clearly supports your points.

2. Select a Reasonable Point of View

While your topic sentence should succinctly summarize the point you’re making in the paragraph, you want to choose a reasonable opinion that you can easily support with facts and statistics.

3. Use Your Topic Sentence as a Transition & Be Concise

Along with conveying the purpose of the following paragraph to the reader, your topic sentence should act as a transition from the previous paragraph. Without a transition, the essay can feel disjointed and choppy.

You also have to make your topic sentence concise.

Remember, a lengthy, drawn-out topic sentence increases the likelihood of losing your reader. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to discern the point of a sentence that runs on for an extended period. You want a concise, clear sentence that captivates the reader but also leaves room for you to elaborate on it in the subsequent paragraph.

4. Start Writing Your Essay Early

If your teacher assigns you an essay or informs you that an essay test is approaching, do not wait until the day before to begin preparing. You must plan or study, and you must allow yourself time to do so. If you are aware that it will take you some time to write something, begin planning it as soon as you receive the assignment.

This may be the most critical obstacle to avoid. If you find yourself in over your head while writing, never be afraid to seek assistance. Consult a friend or your teacher for assistance in revising the essay.

5. Create an Outline for the Work

Along with planning, ensure that your outline is well written and planned. It will act as a guide for you as you write the essay. Without it, you risk writing an essay that is disorganized and does not clearly illustrate your point.

6. Use New Information

Instead of an obvious statement, create a topic sentence that provides readers with something to consider (something everybody knows). When you write a topic sentence, you should present the information in a way that is not merely factual.

Final Thoughts

Topic sentences are critical components of papers and essays because they bolster the central thesis. A strong topic sentence functions as a mini-thesis, bolstering the main thesis while maintaining the paragraph’s subject clear to the reader.

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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