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Topic sentences have three basic functions: Describe all and only the topic matter of the paragraph. Provide a transition from the preceding paragraph. The first requires your topic sentence to cover enough information, while the second limits the amount of information the topic sentence should cover.
All of the information in the paragraph should relate clearly to the topic sentence.
This means, reciprocally, that the topic sentence should be just broad enough to account for, with some detail, all the points you make in the paragraph. Make sure the topic sentence is sufficiently expansive and precise.
To help with this, use key words from the most important point s you make in the body of the paragraph. However, only the information in the paragraph should be covered by the topic sentence except in the case of compound topic sentences.
This means that the topic sentence should not be any broader than the topic matter in the paragraph requires. When revising your paragraphs, if you notice a difference between what the topic sentence covers and what the paragraph covers, you always have two options: Perhaps you will need to carefully add a few words to the topic sentence; or perhaps something important is missing from the paragraph, and you will need to add that.
On the other hand, perhaps your topic sentence is too broad, and you need to cut something from it; or perhaps your paragraph covers information irrelevant to the topic sentence, and you need to delete that information or find it a new home.
Compound topic sentences Sometimes a topic sentence works more like a section introduction, outlining information that will come over the next two or three paragraphs. In this case, you should use two topic sentences in the same paragraph, what we might call a compound topic sentence. The second topic sentence picks up one part of the first and covers all and only the information in the present paragraph.
The present paragraph would continue to discuss funding, while the next paragraph would take up location, starting with another topic sentence.
Connection to the thesis or overall argument Covering only the first basic function, the topic sentence is incomplete. We might know what the paragraph is about, but we need to know why this information is important to the main point of the essay.
The second function of the topic sentence clarifies this matter—connect the topic sentence to the thesis. How can the reader identify the connection between the point I make here and the overall point that I earlier set out to make?
As we saw with compound topic sentences, the topic sentence for a paragraph does not always need to relate directly to the thesis. For example, the topic sentences that follow a compound topic sentence refer to the compound topic sentence, but it refers to the thesis.
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This article was excerpted from Writing Extraordinary Essays. please just give me a topic! I can't think of anything! I have nothing to say! to come from a specific "sphere" so that we can discuss how the "size" of the topic influences how you write about that topic.
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Sep 08, · This essay will express my answer, give reasons to my answer to come to a reasonable conclusion. (That is an inappropriate thesis statement. It is not correct to write such statements in an academic essay.
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Second Grade Journal Writing Prompts — Recently, a lovely reader named Trina left a comment on our post about Elementary Writing 49 Ideas and Story Starters for Kids. She contributed 46 fabulous journal prompt and writing ideas, and I had to share them with you.