What are your chances of acceptance?

Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.

Duke University

Your chancing factors

Extracurriculars.

topic sentence example for an essay

How to Write a Strong Topic Sentence + Examples

Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications.

See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.

Show me what areas I need to improve

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. 

topic sentence example for an essay

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

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!

topic sentence example for an essay

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

topic sentence example for an essay

topic sentence example for an essay

What is a Topic Sentence? (Definition, Examples, How to Use)

Topic sentence

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.

Topic sentence

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.

Topic sentence

Different types of topic sentences

The different types of topic sentences include:

Simple statement

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.

Purely transitional

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 using an 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.

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 compound present in the coffee.

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

Inside this article

topic sentence example for an essay

Fact checked: Content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. Learn more.

topic sentence example for an essay

About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

Core lessons

  • Abstract Noun
  • Accusative Case
  • Active Sentence
  • Alliteration
  • Adjective Clause
  • Adjective Phrase
  • Adverbial Clause
  • Appositive Phrase
  • Body Paragraph
  • Compound Adjective
  • Complex Sentence
  • Compound Words
  • Compound Predicate
  • Common Noun
  • Comparative Adjective
  • Comparative and Superlative
  • Compound Noun
  • Compound Subject
  • Compound Sentence
  • Copular Verb
  • Collective Noun
  • Colloquialism
  • Conciseness
  • Conditional
  • Concrete Noun
  • Conjunction
  • Conjugation
  • Conditional Sentence
  • Comma Splice
  • Correlative Conjunction
  • Coordinating Conjunction
  • Coordinate Adjective
  • Cumulative Adjective
  • Dative Case
  • Declarative Statement
  • Direct Object Pronoun
  • Direct Object
  • Dangling Modifier
  • Demonstrative Pronoun
  • Demonstrative Adjective
  • Direct Characterization
  • Definite Article
  • Doublespeak
  • Equivocation Fallacy
  • Future Perfect Progressive
  • Future Simple
  • Future Perfect Continuous
  • Future Perfect
  • First Conditional
  • Gerund Phrase
  • Genitive Case
  • Helping Verb
  • Irregular Adjective
  • Irregular Verb
  • Imperative Sentence
  • Indefinite Article
  • Intransitive Verb
  • Introductory Phrase
  • Indefinite Pronoun
  • Indirect Characterization
  • Interrogative Sentence
  • Intensive Pronoun
  • Inanimate Object
  • Indefinite Tense
  • Infinitive Phrase
  • Interjection
  • Intensifier
  • Indicative Mood
  • Juxtaposition
  • Linking Verb
  • Misplaced Modifier
  • Nominative Case
  • Noun Adjective
  • Object Pronoun
  • Object Complement
  • Order of Adjectives
  • Parallelism
  • Prepositional Phrase
  • Past Simple Tense
  • Past Continuous Tense
  • Past Perfect Tense
  • Past Progressive Tense
  • Present Simple Tense
  • Present Perfect Tense
  • Personal Pronoun
  • Personification
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Parallel Structure
  • Phrasal Verb
  • Predicate Adjective
  • Predicate Nominative
  • Phonetic Language
  • Plural Noun
  • Punctuation
  • Punctuation Marks
  • Preposition
  • Preposition of Place
  • Parts of Speech
  • Possessive Adjective
  • Possessive Determiner
  • Possessive Case
  • Possessive Noun
  • Proper Adjective
  • Proper Noun
  • Present Participle
  • Quotation Marks
  • Relative Pronoun
  • Reflexive Pronoun
  • Reciprocal Pronoun
  • Subordinating Conjunction
  • Simple Future Tense
  • Stative Verb
  • Subjunctive
  • Subject Complement
  • Subject of a Sentence
  • Sentence Variety
  • Second Conditional
  • Superlative Adjective
  • Slash Symbol
  • Topic Sentence
  • Types of Nouns
  • Types of Sentences
  • Uncountable Noun
  • Vowels and Consonants

Popular lessons

topic sentence example for an essay

Stay awhile. Your weekly dose of grammar and English fun.

topic sentence example for an essay

The world's best online resource for learning English. Understand words, phrases, slang terms, and all other variations of the English language.

  • Abbreviations
  • Editorial Policy

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Example of a great essay | Explanations, tips & tricks

Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks

Published on February 9, 2015 by Shane Bryson . Revised on July 23, 2023 by Shona McCombes.

This example guides you through the structure of an essay. It shows how to build an effective introduction , focused paragraphs , clear transitions between ideas, and a strong conclusion .

Each paragraph addresses a single central point, introduced by a topic sentence , and each point is directly related to the thesis statement .

As you read, hover over the highlighted parts to learn what they do and why they work.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about writing an essay, an appeal to the senses: the development of the braille system in nineteenth-century france.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

Lack of access to reading and writing put blind people at a serious disadvantage in nineteenth-century society. Text was one of the primary methods through which people engaged with culture, communicated with others, and accessed information; without a well-developed reading system that did not rely on sight, blind people were excluded from social participation (Weygand, 2009). While disabled people in general suffered from discrimination, blindness was widely viewed as the worst disability, and it was commonly believed that blind people were incapable of pursuing a profession or improving themselves through culture (Weygand, 2009). This demonstrates the importance of reading and writing to social status at the time: without access to text, it was considered impossible to fully participate in society. Blind people were excluded from the sighted world, but also entirely dependent on sighted people for information and education.

In France, debates about how to deal with disability led to the adoption of different strategies over time. While people with temporary difficulties were able to access public welfare, the most common response to people with long-term disabilities, such as hearing or vision loss, was to group them together in institutions (Tombs, 1996). At first, a joint institute for the blind and deaf was created, and although the partnership was motivated more by financial considerations than by the well-being of the residents, the institute aimed to help people develop skills valuable to society (Weygand, 2009). Eventually blind institutions were separated from deaf institutions, and the focus shifted towards education of the blind, as was the case for the Royal Institute for Blind Youth, which Louis Braille attended (Jimenez et al, 2009). The growing acknowledgement of the uniqueness of different disabilities led to more targeted education strategies, fostering an environment in which the benefits of a specifically blind education could be more widely recognized.

Several different systems of tactile reading can be seen as forerunners to the method Louis Braille developed, but these systems were all developed based on the sighted system. The Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris taught the students to read embossed roman letters, a method created by the school’s founder, Valentin Hauy (Jimenez et al., 2009). Reading this way proved to be a rather arduous task, as the letters were difficult to distinguish by touch. The embossed letter method was based on the reading system of sighted people, with minimal adaptation for those with vision loss. As a result, this method did not gain significant success among blind students.

Louis Braille was bound to be influenced by his school’s founder, but the most influential pre-Braille tactile reading system was Charles Barbier’s night writing. A soldier in Napoleon’s army, Barbier developed a system in 1819 that used 12 dots with a five line musical staff (Kersten, 1997). His intention was to develop a system that would allow the military to communicate at night without the need for light (Herron, 2009). The code developed by Barbier was phonetic (Jimenez et al., 2009); in other words, the code was designed for sighted people and was based on the sounds of words, not on an actual alphabet. Barbier discovered that variants of raised dots within a square were the easiest method of reading by touch (Jimenez et al., 2009). This system proved effective for the transmission of short messages between military personnel, but the symbols were too large for the fingertip, greatly reducing the speed at which a message could be read (Herron, 2009). For this reason, it was unsuitable for daily use and was not widely adopted in the blind community.

Nevertheless, Barbier’s military dot system was more efficient than Hauy’s embossed letters, and it provided the framework within which Louis Braille developed his method. Barbier’s system, with its dashes and dots, could form over 4000 combinations (Jimenez et al., 2009). Compared to the 26 letters of the Latin alphabet, this was an absurdly high number. Braille kept the raised dot form, but developed a more manageable system that would reflect the sighted alphabet. He replaced Barbier’s dashes and dots with just six dots in a rectangular configuration (Jimenez et al., 2009). The result was that the blind population in France had a tactile reading system using dots (like Barbier’s) that was based on the structure of the sighted alphabet (like Hauy’s); crucially, this system was the first developed specifically for the purposes of the blind.

While the Braille system gained immediate popularity with the blind students at the Institute in Paris, it had to gain acceptance among the sighted before its adoption throughout France. This support was necessary because sighted teachers and leaders had ultimate control over the propagation of Braille resources. Many of the teachers at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth resisted learning Braille’s system because they found the tactile method of reading difficult to learn (Bullock & Galst, 2009). This resistance was symptomatic of the prevalent attitude that the blind population had to adapt to the sighted world rather than develop their own tools and methods. Over time, however, with the increasing impetus to make social contribution possible for all, teachers began to appreciate the usefulness of Braille’s system (Bullock & Galst, 2009), realizing that access to reading could help improve the productivity and integration of people with vision loss. It took approximately 30 years, but the French government eventually approved the Braille system, and it was established throughout the country (Bullock & Galst, 2009).

Although Blind people remained marginalized throughout the nineteenth century, the Braille system granted them growing opportunities for social participation. Most obviously, Braille allowed people with vision loss to read the same alphabet used by sighted people (Bullock & Galst, 2009), allowing them to participate in certain cultural experiences previously unavailable to them. Written works, such as books and poetry, had previously been inaccessible to the blind population without the aid of a reader, limiting their autonomy. As books began to be distributed in Braille, this barrier was reduced, enabling people with vision loss to access information autonomously. The closing of the gap between the abilities of blind and the sighted contributed to a gradual shift in blind people’s status, lessening the cultural perception of the blind as essentially different and facilitating greater social integration.

The Braille system also had important cultural effects beyond the sphere of written culture. Its invention later led to the development of a music notation system for the blind, although Louis Braille did not develop this system himself (Jimenez, et al., 2009). This development helped remove a cultural obstacle that had been introduced by the popularization of written musical notation in the early 1500s. While music had previously been an arena in which the blind could participate on equal footing, the transition from memory-based performance to notation-based performance meant that blind musicians were no longer able to compete with sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997). As a result, a tactile musical notation system became necessary for professional equality between blind and sighted musicians (Kersten, 1997).

Braille paved the way for dramatic cultural changes in the way blind people were treated and the opportunities available to them. Louis Braille’s innovation was to reimagine existing reading systems from a blind perspective, and the success of this invention required sighted teachers to adapt to their students’ reality instead of the other way around. In this sense, Braille helped drive broader social changes in the status of blindness. New accessibility tools provide practical advantages to those who need them, but they can also change the perspectives and attitudes of those who do not.

Bullock, J. D., & Galst, J. M. (2009). The Story of Louis Braille. Archives of Ophthalmology , 127(11), 1532. https://​doi.org/10.1001/​archophthalmol.2009.286.

Herron, M. (2009, May 6). Blind visionary. Retrieved from https://​eandt.theiet.org/​content/​articles/2009/05/​blind-visionary/.

Jiménez, J., Olea, J., Torres, J., Alonso, I., Harder, D., & Fischer, K. (2009). Biography of Louis Braille and Invention of the Braille Alphabet. Survey of Ophthalmology , 54(1), 142–149. https://​doi.org/10.1016/​j.survophthal.2008.10.006.

Kersten, F.G. (1997). The history and development of Braille music methodology. The Bulletin of Historical Research in Music Education , 18(2). Retrieved from https://​www.jstor.org/​stable/40214926.

Mellor, C.M. (2006). Louis Braille: A touch of genius . Boston: National Braille Press.

Tombs, R. (1996). France: 1814-1914 . London: Pearson Education Ltd.

Weygand, Z. (2009). The blind in French society from the Middle Ages to the century of Louis Braille . Stanford: Stanford University Press.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.

An essay is a focused piece of writing that explains, argues, describes, or narrates.

In high school, you may have to write many different types of essays to develop your writing skills.

Academic essays at college level are usually argumentative : you develop a clear thesis about your topic and make a case for your position using evidence, analysis and interpretation.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

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.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Bryson, S. (2023, July 23). Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks. Scribbr. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/example-essay-structure/

Is this article helpful?

Shane Bryson

Shane Bryson

Shane finished his master's degree in English literature in 2013 and has been working as a writing tutor and editor since 2009. He began proofreading and editing essays with Scribbr in early summer, 2014.

Other students also liked

How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples, academic paragraph structure | step-by-step guide & examples, how to write topic sentences | 4 steps, examples & purpose, what is your plagiarism score.

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.

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.

Logo for Pressbooks@MSL

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.

Feedback/Errata

Comments are closed.

What Is a Topic Sentence?

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

A topic sentence is a  sentence , sometimes at the beginning of a paragraph , that states or suggests the main idea (or topic ) of a paragraph.

Not all paragraphs begin with topic sentences. In some, the topic sentence appears in the middle or at the end. In others, the topic sentence is implied or absent altogether.

Examples and Observations

  • " Salva and the other boys made cows out of clay. The more cows you made, the richer you were. But they had to be fine, healthy animals. It took time to make a lump of clay look like a good cow. The boys would challenge each other to see who could make the most and best cows." (Linda Sue Park, A Long Walk to Water . Clarion, 2010)
  • " Momma bought two bolts of cloth each year for winter and summer clothes. She made my school dresses, underslips, bloomers, handkerchiefs, Bailey's shirts, shorts, her aprons, house dresses and waists from the rolls shipped to Stamps by Sears and Roebuck. . . ." (Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings . Random House, 1969)
  • " You discover what it is like to be hungry. With bread and margarine in your belly, you go out and look into the shop windows. Everywhere there is food insulting you in huge, wasteful piles; whole dead pigs, baskets of hot loaves, great yellow blocks of butter, strings of sausages, mountains of potatoes, vast Gruyère cheeses like grindstones. A snivelling self-pity comes over you at the sight of so much food. You plan to grab a loaf and run, swallowing it before they catch you; and you refrain, from pure funk." (George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London . Victor Gollancz, 1933)
  • " The flavor that salt imparts to food is just one of the attributes that manufacturers rely on. For them, salt is nothing less than a miracle worker in processed foods. It makes sugar taste sweeter. It adds crunch to crackers and frozen waffles. It delays spoilage so that the products can sit longer on the shelf. And, just as importantly, it masks the otherwise bitter or dull taste that hounds so many processed foods before salt is added." (Michael Moss, Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us . Random House, 2013)
  • " The very idea of retirement is a relatively new invention. For most of human history, people worked until they died or were too infirm to lift a finger (at which point they died pretty fast anyway). It was the German statesman Otto von Bismarck who first floated the concept, in 1883, when he proposed that his unemployed countrymen over the age of 65 be given a pension. This move was designed to fend off Marxist agitation—and to do so on the cheap, since few Germans survived to that ripe old age." (Jessica Bruder, "The End of Retirement." Harper's , August 2014)
  • " Grandma's room I regarded as a dark den of primitive rites and practices. On Friday evenings whoever was home gathered at her door while she lit her Sabbath candles. . . ."  (E.L. Doctorow, World's Fair . Random House, 1985)
  • " Genealogy is an ancient human preoccupation. The God of Hebrew Scripture promised Abraham descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. The apostles Matthew and Luke claim that Abraham's lineage went on to include King David and eventually Jesus, though the specifics of their accounts are contradictory. Muslims trace Mohammed's line back through Abraham, to Adam and Eve." (Maud Newton, "America's Ancestry Craze." Harper's , June 2014)
  • " O nce, in a restaurant in Italy with my family, I occasioned enormous merriment, as a nineteenth-century humorist would have put it, by confusing two Italian words. I thought I had, very suavely, ordered for dessert fragoline —those lovely little wild strawberries. Instead, I seem to have asked for fagiolini —green beans. The waiter ceremoniously brought me a plate of green beans with my coffee, along with the flan and the gelato for the kids. The significant insight the mistake provided—arriving mere microseconds after the laughter of those kids, who for some reason still bring up the occasion, often—was about the arbitrary nature of language: the single 'r' rolled right makes one a master of the trattoria, an 'r' unrolled the family fool. . . ." (Adam Gopnik, "Word Magic." The New Yorker , May 26, 2014)
  • " In seventeenth-century Europe, the transformation of man into soldier took on a new form, more concerted and disciplined, and far less pleasant, than wine. New recruits and even seasoned veterans were endlessly drilled, hour after hour, until each man began to feel himself part of a single, giant fighting machine. . . ." (Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War . Henry Holt and Company, 1997)
  • " What is the appeal of train travel? Ask almost any foamer, and he or she will invariably answer, 'The romance of it!' But just what this means, they cannot really say. It's tempting to think that we are simply equating romance with pleasure, with the superior comfort of a train, especially seated up high in the observation cars. . . ." (Kevin Baker, "21st Century Limited: The Lost Glory of America's Railroads." Harper's , July 2014)
  • " Because science fiction spans the spectrum from the plausible to the fanciful, its relationship with science has been both nurturing and contentious. For every author who meticulously examines the latest developments in physics or computing, there are other authors who invent 'impossible' technology to serve as a plot device (like Le Guin’s faster-than-light communicator, the ansible) or to enable social commentary, the way H. G. Wells uses his time machine to take the reader to the far future to witness the calamitous destiny of the human race." (Eileen Gunn, "Brave New Words." Smithsonian , May 2014)
  • " I passed all the other courses that I took at my university, but I could never pass botany. . . ." (James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times . Harper & Row, 1933)
  • " What is there about this wonderful woman? From next door, she comes striding, down the lawn, beneath the clothesline, laden with cookies she has just baked, or with baby togs she no longer needs, and one's heart goes out. Pops out. The clothesline, the rusted swing set, the limbs of the dying elm, the lilacs past bloom are lit up like rods of neon by her casual washday energy and cheer, a cheer one has done nothing to infuse." (John Updike, "One's Neighbor's Wife." Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism . Knopf, 1983)
  • " Television. Why do I watch it? The parade of politicians every evening: I have only to see the heavy, blank faces so familiar since childhood to feel gloom and nausea. . . ." (J.M. Coetzee, Age of Iron . Random House, 1990)
  • " Anyone who has made the coast-to-coast journey across America, whether by train or by car, has probably passed through Garden City, but it is reasonable to assume that few travelers remember the event. It seems just another fair-sized town in the middle--almost the exact middle--of the continental United States. . . ." (Truman Capote, In Cold Blood . Random House, 1966)
  • " Rodeo, like baseball, is an American sport and has been around almost as long. . . ." (Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces . Viking Penguin, 1985)
  • " What a piece of work is a book! I am not talking about writing or printing. I am talking about the codex we may leaf through, that may be put away on a shelf for whole centuries and will remain there, unchanged and handy. . . ." (William Golding, A Moving Target . Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1982)

Characteristics of an Effective Topic Sentence

  • "A good topic sentence is concise and emphatic . It is no longer than the idea requires, and it stresses the important word or phrase. Here, for instance, is the topic sentence which opens a paragraph about the collapse of the stock market in 1929: "The Bull Market was dead."(Frederick Lewis Allen) Notice several things. (1) Allen's sentence is brief . Not all topics can be explained in six words, but whether they take six or sixty, they should be phrased in no more words than are absolutely necessary. (2) The sentence is clear and strong: you understand exactly what Allen means. (3) It places the keyword—'dead'—at the end, where it gets heavy stress and leads naturally into what will follow. . . . (4) The sentence stands first in the paragraph. This is where topic sentences generally belong: at or near the beginning." (Thomas S. Kane, The New Oxford Guide to Writing . Oxford Univ. Press, 1988)

Positioning a Topic Sentence

"If you want readers to see your point immediately, open with the topic sentence . This strategy can be particularly useful in letters of application or in argumentative writing. . . . "When specific details lead up to a generalization, putting the topic sentence at the end of the paragraph makes sense. . . . "Occasionally a paragraph's main idea is so obvious that it does not need to be stated explicitly in a topic sentence." (Andrea Lunsford, The St. Martin's Handbook . Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008)

Guidelines for Composing Topic Sentences

"The topic sentence is the most important sentence in your paragraph. Carefully worded and restricted, it helps you generate and control your information. An effective topic sentence also helps readers grasp your main idea quickly. As you draft your paragraphs, pay close attention to the following three guidelines:

  • Make sure you provide a topic sentence. . . .
  • Put your topic sentence first.
  • Be sure your topic sentence is focused. If restricted, a topic sentence discusses only one central idea. A broad or unrestricted topic sentence leads to a shaky, incomplete paragraph for two reasons:
  • The paragraph will not contain enough information to support the topic sentence .
  • A broad topic sentence will not summarize or forecast specific information in the paragraph."

(Philip C. Kolin, Successful Writing at Work , 9th ed. Wadsworth, 2010)

Testing for Topic Sentences

"When testing your article for topic sentences , you should be able to look at each paragraph and say what the topic sentence is. Having said it, look at all the other sentences in the paragraph and test them to make sure they support it. . . .

"If you find that you have come up with the same topic sentence more than once, you have two paragraphs doing the same work. Cut one of them out.

"If you find a paragraph that has several sentences that don't support the topic sentence, see if all the outlaw sentences support some other topic sentence and turn the one paragraph into two." (Gary Provost, "How to Test Your Articles for the 8 Essentials of Nonfiction." Handbook of Magazine Article Writing , ed. by Jean M. Fredette. Writer's Digest Books, 1988)

Frequency of Topic Sentences

"Teachers and textbook writers should exercise caution in making statements about the frequency with which contemporary professional writers use simple or even explicit topic sentences in expository paragraphs. It is abundantly clear that students should not be told that professional writers usually begin their paragraphs with topic sentences."  (Richard Braddock, "The Frequency and Placement of Topic Sentences in Expository Prose." Research in the Teaching of English . Winter 1974)

  • How to Teach Topic Sentences Using Models
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • Practice in Supporting a Topic Sentence with Specific Details
  • Paragraph Writing
  • Unity in Composition
  • Definition and Examples of Body Paragraphs in Composition
  • Development in Composition: Building an Essay
  • Best Practices for the Most Effective Use of Paragraphs
  • How to Write a Descriptive Paragraph
  • Understanding Organization in Composition and Speech
  • Definition and Examples of Analysis in Composition
  • Supporting Detail in Composition and Speech
  • Writers on Writing: The Art of Paragraphing
  • How To Write an Essay
  • Definition and Examples of Paragraphing in Essays
  • How to Help Your 4th Grader Write a Biography

Library homepage

  • school Campus Bookshelves
  • menu_book Bookshelves
  • perm_media Learning Objects
  • login Login
  • how_to_reg Request Instructor Account
  • hub Instructor Commons
  • Download Page (PDF)
  • Download Full Book (PDF)
  • Periodic Table
  • Physics Constants
  • Scientific Calculator
  • Reference & Cite
  • Tools expand_more
  • Readability

selected template will load here

This action is not available.

Humanities LibreTexts

12.2: Topic Sentences

  • Last updated
  • Save as PDF
  • Page ID 120098

Media Alternative

Listen to an audio version of this page (11 min, 10 sec):

What is a topic sentence and why is it useful?

Imagine reading one long block of text, with each idea blurring into the next. We are likely to lose interest in writing that is disorganized and spans many pages without breaks. Paragraphs separate ideas into logical, manageable chunks. By exploring one idea at a time, the writer has a chance to explain and support that idea. The reader can then digest the idea before moving on to the next, related paragraph.

A  topic sentence  is a sentence that summarizes the main idea of a paragraph, just as a thesis summarizes a whole essay. As the unifying sentence for the paragraph, the topic sentence is the most general, whereas other, supporting sentences provide more specific information, such as facts, details, or examples.

Each topic sentence should clearly relate to the essay's thesis. We will talk more about how to make that connection in the next sections, 12.3: Showing How a New Idea Fits in (Transitions)   and 12.4: Referring Back to Make the Connection (Cohesion) .

An illuminated light bulb representing an idea is surrounded by chalk drawings of ovals representing subsidiary ideas.

What makes a good topic sentence?

The goal of a topic sentence is to help readers focus on and remember the main idea of the paragraph. So the trick is to write a sentence that covers all the points of the paragraph but does not cram in too many words or details.  We want to give a sense of what the paragraph will contain without listing all the specifics.

Example \(\PageIndex{1}\)

Vague topic sentence : "First, we need a better way to educate students."

Explanation : The claim is vague because it does not provide enough information about what will follow, and it is too broad to be covered effectively in one paragraph.

Revised version : "Creating a national set of standards for math and English education will improve student learning in many states."

Explanation : The sentence replaces the vague phrase “a better way” and leads readers to expect supporting facts and examples as to why standardizing education in these subjects might improve student learning in many states.

In addition, we want to make sure that the topic sentence gets right to the point. A good topic sentence is clear and easy to follow.

Example \(\PageIndex{2}\)

Confusing topic sentence : "In general, writing an essay, thesis, or other academic or nonacademic document is considerably easier and of much higher quality if you first construct an outline, of which there are many different types."

Explanation : The convoluted sentence structure and unnecessary vocabulary bury the main idea, making it difficult for the reader to follow the topic sentence.

Revised version : Most forms of writing can be improved by first creating an outline.

Explanation : This topic sentence cuts out unnecessary verbiage and simplifies the previous statement, making it easier for the reader to follow. The writer can include examples of what kinds of writing can benefit from outlining in the supporting sentences.

Where should I put a topic sentence?

In academic   writing, the topic sentence is usually the first sentence or second sentence of a paragraph and expresses its main idea, followed by supporting sentences that help explain, prove, or enhance the topic sentence. In most college essays, placing an explicit topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph (the first or second sentence) makes it easier for readers to follow the essay and for writers to stay on topic.

However, ultimately what matters is whether the reader can easily pick up on the main idea of the paragraph.  Sometimes, especially in narrative or creative writing, a writer may choose to build up to the topic sentence or even leave it implied. The following examples illustrate varying locations for the topic sentence. In each example, the topic sentence is underlined.

Topic Sentence Begins the Paragraph (General to Specific)

Paragraphs that begin with the topic sentence move from the general to the specific. They open with a general statement about a subject and then discuss specific examples. This is the common pattern for most academic essays.

After reading the new TV guide this week I wondered why we are still being bombarded with reality shows, a plague that continues to darken our airwaves . Along with the return of viewer favorites, we are to be cursed with yet another mindless creation. Prisoner follows the daily lives of eight suburban housewives who have chosen to be put in jail for the purposes of this fake psychological experiment. A preview for the first episode shows the usual tears and tantrums associated with reality television. I dread to think what producers will come up with next season and hope that other viewers will express their criticism. These producers must stop the constant stream of meaningless shows without plotlines. We’ve had enough reality television to last us a lifetime!

Here, the first sentence tells readers that the paragraph will be about reality television shows, and it expresses the writer’s distaste for these shows through the use of the word bombarded. Each of the following sentences in the paragraph supports the topic sentence by providing further information about a specific reality television show and why the writer finds it unappealing. The final sentence is the concluding sentence. It reiterates the main point that viewers are bored with reality television shows by using different words from the topic sentence.

Topic Sentence Ends the Paragraph (Specific to General)

Sometimes, especially in persuasive writing, we might want to save the general statement for last, when we have given enough supporting details to convince the reader.  If we build up to the topic sentence, then the reader might feel they are coming to the conclusion along with us.  The risk is that the reader will want to know sooner where the paragraph is going.

In the paragraph below, the topic sentence comes last. Specific examples, a cat that tracked down its owners and a dog that can predict seizures, prepare us for the general conclusion: animals’ senses are better than humans’.

Last year, a cat traveled 130 miles to reach its family, who had moved to another state and had left their pet behind. Even though it had never been to their new home, the cat was able to track down its former owners. A dog in my neighborhood can predict when its master is about to have a seizure. It makes sure that he does not hurt himself during an epileptic fit. Compared to many animals, our own senses are almost dull.

Topic Sentence in the Middle of the Paragraph

Occasionally, a writer might choose to hook the reader or introduce a concept before giving the topic sentence in the middle of the paragraph. In the paragraph below, the underlined topic sentence expresses the main idea—that breathing exercises can help control anxiety. The preceding sentences enable the writer to build up to their main point by using a personal anecdote. The supporting sentences then expand on how breathing exercises help the writer by providing additional information. The concluding sentence restates how breathing can help manage anxiety.

For many years, I suffered from severe anxiety every time I took an exam. Hours before the exam, my heart would begin pounding, my legs would shake, and sometimes I would become physically unable to move. Last year, I was referred to a specialist and finally found a way to control my anxiety—breathing exercises . It seems so simple, but by doing just a few breathing exercises a couple of hours before an exam, I gradually got my anxiety under control. The exercises help slow my heart rate and make me feel less anxious. Better yet, they require no pills, no equipment, and very little time. It’s amazing how just breathing correctly has helped me learn to manage my anxiety symptoms.

If you notice that you have used a topic sentence in the middle of a paragraph in an academic essay, read through the paragraph carefully to make sure that it contains only one major topic.

Implied Topic Sentences

Some well-organized paragraphs do not contain a topic sentence at all, a technique often used in descriptive and narrative writing. Instead of being directly stated, the main idea is implied in the content of the paragraph, as in the following narrative paragraph:

Heaving herself up the stairs, Luella had to pause for breath several times. She let out a wheeze as she sat down heavily in the wooden rocking chair. Tao approached her cautiously, as if she might crumble at the slightest touch. He studied her face, like parchment, stretched across the bones so finely he could almost see right through the skin to the decaying muscle underneath. Luella smiled a toothless grin.

Although no single sentence in this paragraph states the main idea, the entire paragraph focuses on one concept—that Luella is extremely old. All the details in the paragraph can work together to convey the dominant impression of Luella’s age. In a paragraph such as this one, an explicit topic sentence such as "Luella was very old" would seem awkward and heavy-handed. Implied topic sentences work well if the writer has a firm idea of what he or she intends to say in the paragraph and sticks to it. One risk is that an implied topic sentence may be too subtle for the reader to catch.

Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

In each of the following sentence pairs, choose the more effective topic sentence and explain what makes it better.

  • This paper will discuss the likelihood of the Democrats winning the next election.
  • To boost their chances of winning the next election, the Democrats need to listen to public opinion.
  • The unrealistic demands of union workers are crippling the economy for three main reasons.
  • Union workers are crippling the economy because companies are unable to remain competitive as a result of added financial pressure.
  • Authors are losing money as a result of technological advances.
  • The introduction of new technology will devastate the literary world.
  • Rap music is produced by untalented individuals with oversized egos.
  • This essay will consider whether talent is required in the rap music industry.

Attributions

Some sections of the above are original content by Anna Mills and others are adapted from the following sources:

  • Writing for Success , created by an author and publisher who prefer to remain anonymous, adapted and presented by the Saylor Foundation and licensed  CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 .
  • Successful College Composition , also licensed CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 , which was itself adapted from Writing for Success .

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

topic sentence

People also read

How To Write An Essay - "The Secret To Craft an A+ Essay"

Learn How to Title an Essay Like a Professional Writer

How to Write an Essay Outline Like a Pro

Essay Format - An Easy Guide & Examples

What is a Thesis Statement, and How is it Written? - Know Here

Arguable and Strong Thesis Statement Examples for Your Essay

200+ Creative Hook Examples: Ready, Set, Hook

A Guide to Writing a 1000 Word Essay for School or College

All You Need to Know About a 500-word Essay

Different Types of Essay: Definition With Best Examples

Writing an Essay Introduction - Step by Step Guide

Transition Words for Essays - An Ultimate List

Jumpstart Your Writing with These Proven Strategies on How to Start an Essay

A Guide to Crafting an Impactful Conclusion for Your Essay

Amazing Essay Topics & Ideas for Your Next Project (2024)

Explore the Different Types of Sentences with Examples

Share this article

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!

On This Page On This Page -->

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.

Order Essay

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

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.

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Get Help

Keep reading

topic sentence

  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookies Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Refunds & Cancellations
  • Our Writers
  • Success Stories
  • Our Guarantees
  • Affiliate Program
  • Referral Program
  • AI Essay Writer

Disclaimer: All client orders are completed by our team of highly qualified human writers. The essays and papers provided by us are not to be used for submission but rather as learning models only.

topic sentence example for an essay

AFS

AFS Programs

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.

#1 Bestselling Book for Essay Writers

101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think

See Contents & Details

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.

#2 Bestselling Book for Essay Writers

College Essay Essentials A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing a Successful College Admission Essay

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!

#3 Bestselling Book for Essay Writers

How To Write A 5-Paragraph Essay

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.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California , and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.

Topic Sentences

Characteristics of a strong topic sentence.

decorative image

The topic sentence functions two ways: it clearly refers to and supports the essay’s thesis, and it indicates what will follow in the rest of the paragraph. As the unifying sentence for the paragraph, it is the most general sentence, whereas all supporting sentences provide different types of more specific information, such as facts, details, or examples. An effective topic sentence has the following characteristics:

  • A topic sentence has a topic and an angle, extracted from the thesis sentence.

Thesis : Although working for the national parks service may be considered by some to be a “summer job,” careers with the national parks offer mobility within the profession, support for continued learning, and satisfaction in knowing that you are contributing to the preservation and health of the country’s resources.

Weak example #1 : National Parks in the U.S. were created in 1916 under President Woodrow Wilson and currently offer hundreds of summer job opportunities per year.

Explanation : This sentence sticks with the topic, national parks, but does not offer an angle extracted from the ideas in the thesis. An essay should not have topic sentences and units of support that are not planned for in the thesis.

Stronger example : Workers with the national parks are encouraged and, in many cases, required to maintain current knowledge within their fields, which is offered through on-the-job training, attendance at seminars, and tuition assistance for appropriate college courses.

Explanation : Choose any part of the angle in the thesis to create a topic sentence with its own topic and angle.

Weak example #2 : National Parks work has provided me with many benefits.

Explanation : Although the thesis itself deals with benefits, a topic sentence derived from that thesis needs to more carefully extract a specific portion of that that thesis and make a point about that specific portion.

  • A topic sentence provides an accurate indication of what will follow in the rest of the paragraph.

Weak example : First, we need a better way to educate students.

Explanation : The claim is vague because it does not provide enough information about what will follow, and it is too broad to be covered effectively in one paragraph or short unit of support.

Stronger example : Creating a national set of standards for math and English education will improve student learning in many states.

Explanation : The sentence replaces the vague phrase “a better way” and leads readers to expect supporting facts and examples as to why standardizing education in these subjects might improve student learning in many states.

  • A good topic sentence is the most general sentence in the paragraph and thus does not include supporting details.

Weak example : Salaries should be capped in baseball for many reasons, most importantly so we don’t allow the same team to win year after year.

Explanation : This topic sentence includes a supporting detail that should be included later in the paragraph to back up the main point.

Stronger example : Introducing a salary cap would improve the game of baseball for many reasons.

Explanation : This topic sentence omits the additional supporting detail so that it can be expanded upon later in the paragraph, yet the sentence still makes a claim about salary caps – improvement of the game.

  • A good topic sentence is clear and easy to follow.

Weak example : In general, writing an essay, thesis, or other academic or nonacademic document is considerably easier and of much higher quality if you first construct an outline, of which there are many different types.

Explanation : The confusing sentence structure and unnecessary vocabulary bury the main idea, making it difficult for the reader to follow the topic sentence.

Stronger example : Most forms of writing can be improved by first creating an outline.

Explanation : This topic sentence cuts out unnecessary verbiage and simplifies the previous statement, making it easier for the reader to follow. The writer can include examples of what kinds of writing can benefit from outlining in the supporting sentences.

  • Characteristics of a Strong Topic Sentence. Revision and adaptation of pages 29-30, Creating Focused Paragraphs with Topic Sentences, at https://oer.galileo.usg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=english-textbooks. Authored by : Susan Oaks. Provided by : Empire State College, SUNY OER Services. Project : College Writing. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Creating Focused Paragraphs with Topic Sentences. Authored by : Kathryn Crowther, Lauren Curtright, Nancy Gilbert, Barbara Hall, Tracienne Ravita, Kirk Swenson. Provided by : GALILEO Open Learning Materials, University System of Georgia. Located at : https://oer.galileo.usg.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1007&context=english-textbooks . Project : Successful College Composition. License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • image of traffic sign with arrow and word success. Authored by : geralt. Provided by : Pixabay. Located at : https://pixabay.com/en/success-road-sign-traffic-sign-479568/ . License : CC0: No Rights Reserved

help for assessment

  • Customer Reviews
  • Extended Essays
  • IB Internal Assessment
  • Theory of Knowledge
  • Literature Review
  • Dissertations
  • Essay Writing
  • Research Writing
  • Assignment Help
  • Capstone Projects
  • College Application
  • Online Class

How to Write a Topic Sentence for an Argumentative Essay

Author Image

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.

Argumentative Essay Writing Help 

If you have multiple assignments to complete and your argumentative essay is running late, we can help.

You can order an argumentative essay online here and one of our best writers will help you get the work done.

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.

IMAGES

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

    topic sentence example for an essay

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

    topic sentence example for an essay

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

    topic sentence example for an essay

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

    topic sentence example for an essay

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

    topic sentence example for an essay

  6. samples of writing topic sentence , supporting sentences and concluding

    topic sentence example for an essay

VIDEO

  1. How to write a topic sentence (3)

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

  3. Three Sentences Essay

  4. Components of essay

  5. Leaving Cert English

  6. 2 12 Topic Sentence Example

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

    The most common example of this is in paragraphs that compare or contrast positions, in which case each perspective needs its own introduction.

  3. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    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 ...

  4. 12 Examples of Good Topic Sentences (and Why They Work)

    Check out these examples of good topic sentences. 12 Examples of Good Topic Sentences (and Why They Work) An introduction or thesis statement for a narrative essay is different than an introduction or thesis in an argumentative essay. It makes sense, then, that you'll write different types of topic sentences for different types of papers.

  5. Topic Sentences and Signposting

    Consider the following: "Does the promise of stability justify this unchanging hierarchy?" We may fairly assume that the paragraph or section that follows will answer the question. Questions are by definition a form of inquiry, and thus demand an answer. Good essays strive for this forward momentum. Bridge sentences.

  6. How to Write a Strong Topic Sentence + Examples

    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.

  7. 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. Write a sentence that connects to your main idea with a what and a why

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

    Writing How to Write a Topic Sentence: 3 Topic Sentence Examples Written by MasterClass Last updated: Sep 28, 2022 • 3 min read Learn how to write topic sentences to support the main thesis of any piece of writing. Learn how to write topic sentences to support the main thesis of any piece of writing.

  9. How to Write Topic Sentences Guide with Tips and Examples

    For instance, a topic sentence example may be an argumentative essay about the benefits of a plant-based diet. You could use topic sentences to introduce each essay section, such as the environmental benefits, health benefits, and ethical considerations. Within the section on environmental benefits, the following sections could explore specific ...

  10. What is a Topic Sentence? (Definition, Examples, How to Use)

    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 ...

  11. Example of a Great Essay

    Example of a Great Essay | Explanations, Tips & Tricks Published on February 9, 2015 by Shane Bryson . Revised on July 23, 2023 by Shona McCombes. This example guides you through the structure of an essay. It shows how to build an effective introduction, focused paragraphs, clear transitions between ideas, and a strong conclusion.

  12. Writing Topic Sentences

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

  13. 4.3 Topic Sentences

    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 ...

  14. Examples of Topic Sentences That Make the Purpose Clear

    Updated July 6, 2022 Image Credits What is a topic sentence? A topic sentence is the most important sentence in a paragraph. Sometimes referred to as a focus sentence, the topic sentence helps organize the paragraph by summarizing the information in the paragraph.

  15. Topic Sentence Definition, Examples, and Guidelines

    Richard Nordquist Updated on February 12, 2020 A topic sentence is a sentence, sometimes at the beginning of a paragraph, that states or suggests the main idea (or topic) of a paragraph. Not all paragraphs begin with topic sentences. In some, the topic sentence appears in the middle or at the end.

  16. 12.2: Topic Sentences

    A topic sentence is a sentence that summarizes the main idea of a paragraph, just as a thesis summarizes a whole essay. As the unifying sentence for the paragraph, the topic sentence is the most general, whereas other, supporting sentences provide more specific information, such as facts, details, or examples. Each topic sentence should clearly ...

  17. How to Write a Topic 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. It serves as a roadmap for the reader, letting them know what to expect in the upcoming paragraph. Purpose of Topic Sentence

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

    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.

  19. 30 Examples of Topic Sentences (by grade level)

    30 Examples of Topic Sentences (by grade level) » JournalBuddies.com 30 Examples of Topic Sentences (by grade level) Yes! You are invited to use our tips for writing topic sentences as well as the examples of topic sentences listed below to help your students perfect their paragraph writing skills.

  20. Characteristics of a Strong Topic Sentence

    Weak example: In general, writing an essay, thesis, or other academic or nonacademic document is considerably easier and of much higher quality if you first construct an outline, of which there are many different types.. Explanation: The confusing sentence structure and unnecessary vocabulary bury the main idea, making it difficult for the reader to follow the topic sentence.

  21. 10 Effective Topic Sentence Examples for Engaging Essays

    10 Effective Topic Sentence Examples for Engaging Essays Writing an effective topic sentence is trickier than it appears. You want a sentence that grabs the reader's attention and tells them what to expect from the essay. You also need the sentence to be concise and clear. Plus, it is not enough to develop a single topic sentence.

  22. What Are Good Sentence Starters for Essays?

    Below you'll find examples of sentence starters relevant to specific contexts. Topic sentence starters for essays. Topic sentences are like the sentence starters of an entire essay—they introduce what the paragraph or entire text is about so the readers know what to expect. This paper discusses . . . In this paper . . . Here, we discuss . . .

  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. PDF The Anatomy of a Body Paragraph

    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 ...

  25. How to Write a Topic Sentence for an Essay: Steps & Examples

    Thesis: The widespread use of social media has had a significant impact on society, affecting communication, relationships, and self-image. Topic sentence 1: Social media has transformed the way we communicate, providing new opportunities for connection and interaction. Topic sentence 2: The rise of social media has also had an impact on relationships, both positive and negative, with ...