How to write a topic sentence

Clarity and structure come first when writing an essay. Think of topic sentences as the guiding lights that show you the way through the essay.  They are usually the first sentence of paragraph, and act as the road map for both your readers and you as the writer.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the crucial role of topic sentences in essays. They not only set the tone, provide direction, and connect your argument as a whole, but they also introduce the key points.

Purpose of a topic sentence

A topic sentence serves two essential purpose:

These two core purpose ensure that readers of your essay can quickly understand your main points and follow your argument.

Topic sentence vs. thesis statement

Both thesis statements and topic sentences help readers comprehend your research paper’s structure and main arguments. However, they differ in several ways.

Topic sentence vs. thesis statement example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)
By regulating blood sugar, lowering refined food intake, and restricting excessive protein intake, the ketogenic diet may help to reduce the prevalence of illness. Thesis statement, which is usually the first sentence of your introduction

Body paragraph

The ketogenic diet has been shown to assist people in regulating their blood sugar levels. Topic sentence, which is the first sentence of your body paragraph
....(body paragraph continues)

Steps on writing a topic sentence

Topic sentences are developed throughout the writing process. Follow these steps to ensure that each topic sentence and paragraph supports your thesis statement.

Step 1 – Create a thesis statement

Make sure you have a solid thesis statement before you start writing your topic sentences. The thesis statement summarizes the paper’s goal and argument.

Thesis statement example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)
....(introduction continues)
By regulating blood sugar, lowering refined food intake, and restricting excessive protein intake, the ketogenic diet may help to reduce the prevalence of illness. Thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of your introduction

Step 2 – Create an outline and start writing topic sentences

Next, sketch out the outline of your paper, including what you’ll say in each paragraph and what evidence you’ll use.

essay outline infographic (740 × 540 px) 3

Topic sentence example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)

Body paragraph

The ketogenic diet has been shown to assist people in regulating their blood sugar levels. Topic sentence, which is the first sentence of your body paragraph
....(body paragraph continues)

Step 3 – Enrich your arguments with evidence

The rest of the paragraph should follow the topic sentence and build on it with facts, examples, or reasoning.

Evidence example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)

Body paragraph

....(body paragraph starts)
Compared to a low-fat diet, a ketogenic diet was related to reduced HbA1c levels, a measure of long-term blood sugar management, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Westman et al., 2008). Evidence, which is usually the second sentence of your body paragraph
....(body paragraph continues)

Step 4 – Polish your topic sentences

Most topic sentences start as simple statements, but it’s important to edit them as you write to ensure they align with the content of each paragraph.

Types and examples of topic sentences

It’s helpful to understand the many forms of a topic sentence before writing one. We’ll go through the different categories and give some examples of topic sentences.

Simple statement

The most basic form of a topic sentence is this one, in which the author makes a broad assertion upon which the rest of the paragraph elaborates.

Simple statement topic sentence example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)

Body paragraph

There are several reasons why India has the worst pollution levels in the world. Simple statement topic sentence
....(body paragraph continues)

Question form (Interrogative)

As long as you don’t steer away from the subject, starting a paragraph with a question is a wonderful approach to get the reader engaged and involved.

Question form topic sentence example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)

Body paragraph

How many countries have plans in place to deal with rising sea levels? Question form topic sentence
....(body paragraph continues)

Complex form

You might want to utilize a complex topic sentence if you have a complicated topic with numerous concepts. Even though they are still considered “statements,” they include more than one primary point.

Complex form topic sentence example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)

Body paragraph

While the Internet has provided many new opportunities for organizations, companies must now consider updating their cybersecurity systems more than ever before. Complex form topic sentence
....(body paragraph continues)

Transitional form

While all topic sentences must deal with transitions to some extent, they can also be simply transitional in some circumstances. These are most effective when the topic shifts dramatically, as they bring attention to the transition (also see transition words and phrases).

Transitional form topic sentence example

Introduction

....(introduction starts)
....(introduction continues)

Body paragraph

If a random apple had not fallen upon the head of a young Isaac Newton, the world would not be the way it is today. Transitional form topic sentence
....(body paragraph continues)

Pique the reader’s attention with a hook

A “hook,” or anything that makes people want to read more, is frequently included in good topic sentences. While some are more frequent than others, there are a number of techniques to entice your readers:

Despite the massive turnout, only 1% of the teams were able to finish the first task.

What eventually persuaded the senator to change his mind?

Living with a dog has its challenges, but they aren’t quite as numerous as living without one.

Find a balance between general and specific

Learning how much to include and how much to leave for the rest of the paragraph is one of the most difficult aspects of creating topic sentences. You should:

Be clear!

Clarity is the most crucial aspect of topic sentences. Even if you pique the reader’s interest and make them want to read more, it won’t matter if they don’t understand what they’re reading. Make use of common academic words, active and passive voice, and verb tenses to be more clear.

Reminders and helpful hints

The use of topic sentences is crucial in academic writing. They help organize your ideas, enhance reader comprehension, and keep your readers interested.

Learning to create effective topic sentences is important for every academic project, including research papers, essays, and other writing assignments. So keep these in mind as you write to make your writing compelling and clear.

Ibrahim Akturk
Ibrahim Akturk
Content editor at Tamara Research. Translation major, huge coffee and baking nerd. Addicted to good music and great articles.