Writing a college paper requires you to know a lot of things. It also forces you to prepare a lot of details; otherwise, you risk getting a poor grade when your professor checks your paper.
A topic sentence is a sentence that appears at the start of a paragraph and acts as the guide or signal post of your work. Do not confuse a topic sentence with a thesis statement. Many college students, when doing their essays, tend to confuse the topic sentence with the main thesis of their paper. While the thesis statement appears at the end of the introductory paragraph, a topic sentence occurs at the beginning of a paragraph. Think of it as the center of your paragraph because everything that happens in the paragraph is centered on your topic sentence.
As alluded above, topic sentences are crucial in writing because:
When readers encounter your topic sentences, they immediately understand the meaning of that paragraph because your topic sentence acts as the summary of what you are going to discuss in your current paragraph. Therefore, do not neglect the use of topic sentences in your essay.
The conversation or argument that you are having in your essay relies on topic sentences to move forward. Reads can see that the start of a paragraph is about something new or something connected to the previous paragraph.
Topic sentences make it possible for readers to see that your work is moving from one position to another. Think of a topic sentence as a conveyor belt that propels machines. Your essay cannot go forward without the use of topic sentences.
When you start your paragraph with a topic sentence, you are letting your readers know that they have moved on to another part of your work. Students do not realize that readers find a text interesting if its paragraphs start with topic sentences. Since you are not limited about the number of topic sentences that you can have in your essay, use them consistently to ensure your readers your written work is interesting.
Readers can tell they have left the previous paragraph and began another one through an effective topic sentence. Without using topic sentences, you will find that your text looks like one statement that confuses readers.
There is no limit on the number of topic sentences your essay can have. Everything depends on the length of your paper. If you want a two-page essay on any topic, it is likely that your paper will have about three topic sentences, all of which will appear separately in each paragraph. It helps the readers understand the main idea of your paragraph. Due to the lack of exposure, most students include many topic sentences in one section, thus confusing their readers and making the work boring. Therefore, limit your topic sentences to the number of paragraphs in your paper. Remember that you do not need a topic sentence in the introduction since this part serves the purpose of informing your audience about the background of the topic. You could also say that a topic sentence acts as the controlling idea of your paper.
You may be wondering whether it is truly possible for someone like you to write a topic sentence like a pro. Well, we assure you that you will be writing better topic sentences by the time you are done reading this article for a week or more.
You will write better topic sentences when you first know the type of essay you are writing. Compare and contrast essays, argumentative papers, and other types of essays have topic sentences, but they differ in their approach. For example, let’s see how the first paragraph of a compare and contrast essay that discusses the problems the future generations will face due to climate change versus those faced by the current people.
“Future generations, unlike today’s community, will not have pure air, clean water, and enough food due to climate change.”
In this sentence, the word “unlike” makes all the difference because it shows a comparison. You cannot write such an essay without first knowing whether your paper is a compare and contrast, article review, or descriptive essay. Therefore, get to know what type of essay you want before you write it.
You cannot be good at writing topic sentences if you do not have an outline that guides your work. An outline is the most important thing in writing a topic sentence because it helps you follow a particular format. If you are not sure about what an outline is, it is simply a preview of your work. It highlights the path that your paper will take.
When writing your outline, you must consider the main points to include in your essay. Short sentences should be used since an outline is not comprehensive. Do not list examples in the outline since they will be used later in paragraphs. Write only the short points that relate to your subject. Your sentences are informed by a particular topic that you are wiring about. If your professor allows you to select a topic, go for the most interesting topics, such as global warming, teen pregnancy, rights of American workers, and maybe the issues future generations will face.
After writing down your outline, you should focus on writing the first part of your paper, which is the introduction. This is a part that gives a background of your paper and includes the thesis statement. Young people in college often struggle to come up with a written introduction due to a lack of previous experience. They have no idea about what a good introduction should look like. They realize that no new technology can help them. Nonetheless, every written paper must have an introductory paragraph, and the writer must reveal the idea or purpose of the paper. When you grasp the idea topic of your assignment, writing an introduction should be simple. In the introduction, your reader should also see the roadmap of your paper. A good introduction comprises one idea relating to a particular topic. For example, do not just write about teen pregnancy. Instead, talk about how teen pregnancy can be prevented or how the affected teens can manage this matter, which seems to affect their entire life.
A thesis statement excites your reader, but it must make sense and contain the central point or idea of your paper. Its argument must be clear to the readers. Students find it hard to craft a thesis because they do not start with understanding the primary idea of their paper. Ask yourself this question: What does my professor want me to do? Let’s now see a good thesis statement. Assuming you are writing an argumentative essay on whether American workers should receive a higher minimum wage, your thesis statement should look like this:
“American workers should receive a higher minimum wage because they are dedicated, competent, and loyal to their employers and government.”
Such a thesis reveals your argument, the idea of the paper, it is to the point, excites your reader, and helps you know how each topic sentence will follow. Therefore, you can see that a good thesis should clarify your argument to the reader, reveal the idea or logic behind your position, be to the point, help show the ideas to be discussed, grab the reader’s attention, and be easy to remember.
All of your topic sentences should grab the reader’s attention. You see, readers want to read an essay that is exciting to them or one that addresses their concerns. A topic sentence helps you achieve this goal. You may be wondering about the elements of an effective topic sentence. Well, you only need to be direct and logical at the same time. For example, if you are writing about the topic of preventing teen pregnancy, the following sentence is a good topic sentence that will surely capture the reader’s attention:
“Sensitization and provision of contraceptives can help reduce teen pregnancy.”
As you can see in this example, the sentence is direct to the main point and provides logic. A reader will want to know how the use of contraceptives will ensure a reduction in teen pregnancy. That is how a good topic sentence should look like.
Your topic sentence should, if possible, start with a transition so readers can follow the idea you present in the previous paragraph. However, you should be careful with the choice of transition words you choose. For example, if your paragraph is adding an extra point, then you should have transition words that make it clear to the reader. See the following examples of transition words and where they fit.
As you can see, transition words depend on the context of your sentence. Students like stating an argument without using any example of a transition word.
To become a pro in writing topic sentences, you need to know the key elements of a topic sentence. Let’s mention them below before expounding them in other sentences
Your topic sentence should have a transition word for readers to know that you are now shifting attention to another paragraph. Transition words depend on the message you want to convey. For example, Besides, Additionally, Moreover, and Also are used in descriptive essays, while Unlike, In Contrast, and Before are common in compare and contrast essays.
The topic in a topic sentence refers to the central idea that you want the paragraph to address. For example, “Teen pregnancy can be prevented through contraceptives.” In this sentence, contraceptives will act as the controlling idea of the entire paragraph, while teen pregnancy is the main idea of the entire paper. So, you should focus on how contraceptives will prevent teen pregnancy.
As for logic in a topic sentence, it helps show that your argument makes sense. A topic sentence without logic will discourage your readers. Logic is seen in how you frame your idea in the first paragraph.
Examples of topic sentences for different papers
We believe that you now have an idea of how to write a good topic sentence. However, we would like to give you several examples of topic sentences in different essays. The examples are necessary because you will need to complete some academic writing for your class work. The examples are divided according to the types of essays.
Let’s discuss some things about these sentences because each makes a good topic sentence so you can understand how topic sentences work and how you should approach them when writing compare and contrast essays. First, each sentence contains two differing sides. In the first sentence, the reader understands that France is better than the UK, according to John. Even without saying that you want to compare the two countries, the reader already understands the comparison because of the manner in which the sentence is structured. Second, the use of transition words makes it possible for readers to know this is a compare and contrast essay. For example, the first sentence contains the transition word “but,” which signifies that the writer is taking another direction. That is how you should write your topic sentences. Remember something. Once you write the above as the topic sentences, the next step is elaborating them. For example, you will tell the reader why John finds France to be a better place than the UK. You will also notice that the examples have the basis on which the argument will be based.
Note a few things about these topic sentences. One, each example is a topic sentence that will form the basis of the paragraph. You can only write one idea per paragraph, meaning that the first example will show how global warming will not cause food shortage. No other new information can be introduced in the paragraph except to use research to affirm or solidify the argument.
Two, the second and third sentences start with transition words. This implies that they are moving from the previous paragraphs. In other words, they are shifting to a new idea that will be argued in the next paragraph. Transition words work better when the paragraph is a continuation of some work. In other words, be mindful of the transition words you use. Take the example of the fourth sentence, which starts with the word “first.” This means that the reader will know that this is the first paragraph.
Three, the arguments provide the main idea, which is what we are calling the topic sentence. Something else you will notice with the arguments is that they are all interesting topics. As we mentioned earlier, ensure that your work addresses interesting topics that can excite readers to continue reading your work. Writing about a particular topic with no excitement will make your readers feel lost.
As you look at each sentence, you will notice a few things which you should implement when writing your topic sentences and essays. The first thing you will notice is that each contains a good topic sentence. A paper written without a clear idea tends to confuse readers. The second thing is that each addresses one idea and provides a reasonable opinion. These elements are related to the essay topic that the writer wants to write about. Whether you are writing a contrast or persuasive essay, you should ensure the ideas in your topic sentences have a central idea.
The second thing seen in the examples is the implication that the topic sentence provides a road map for the essay. The reader will follow the paper point by point and see that it makes sense because the focus sentence is well argued with supporting details provided. In essence, solid topic sentences help readers follow and act as the toggle menu that moves the text from one part to another. Topical sentences also ensure that the thesis statements are written well and proved. Remember that thesis statements are just the start of a paper. Their relevance makes sense only when a writer writes an effective topic sentence, which must be followed by convincing details to prove the argument. We, therefore, hope you can now write a topic sentence, which some people also call a focus sentence. You can also call it the first sentence in a body paragraph. You will always prove to be a pro and catch your reader’s attention if your first sentence is topical.
Narrative essays are equally popular in college and should follow the same style of topic sentences. We must emphasize that a topic sentence is a road map that helps your ideas flow and ensure your article or essay is clear to the reader and revolves around your main argument. Read the following examples of narrative essays before we provide our analysis and explain why they attract the reader’s attention.
Now, as you can see in the examples, the work is written in the first person or by using pronouns that suggest it is a unique work. As with the other essays, these examples will guide the students to emphasize the focus sentence and expand the paragraph by providing supporting details. The other thing noticeable about the examples is that they suggest the presence of a preceding paragraph. Typically, a preceding paragraph influences the idea you write about in the other paragraph. Also, you may notice that the statements capture the reader’s attention. That is the whole essence of writing solid topic sentences; they guarantee that a paper makes sense. At this point, let us emphasize that you should take time to write many topic sentence examples because they make your paragraphs sensible. The main point here is to perfect your essay writing skills.
As we conclude, let’s see the main points you need to remember.
Get A Good Essay Topic- You see, a good essay topic will help you identify the main points and give you a better essay grade. A good essay topic can be about global warming, challenges of academic writing, illness a child faces at a young age, problems students face in college, or dreams college students envisage. In short, choose an essay topic that will help you write a topic sentence without challenges. If you want to write a narrative essay, contrast essay, or persuasive essay but have no idea what to do, just go online and look for them.
Outline Your Body Paragraph with A Solid Topic Sentence- This means that your first paragraph will have an idea, and every other paragraph that comes will have an equally solid topic sentence. Essays are made of paragraphs, which must also have a reasonable opinion that is made possible by a solid topic sentence. Therefore, write topic sentence examples and select the best.
Use Transition Words for All Following Sentences- In short, let your essay appear to move from one part to another, not a crowded piece. You can get an article online to see how transition words help convey a message. Articles can be downloaded from scholarly sites. Other articles published on news channels may also prove useful. When you learn to use transition words, your essay flows.
Write a topic sentence. Write a paragraph. Write a lot. Keep writing
In short, we encourage you to keep writing your essays by following the guide provided above. You will become a pro before you know it.