The best way to understand the role of the topic sentence in paragraph development is to imagine that any given paragraph is a miniature essay that has its own thesis, support, and conclusion. The parts of a paragraph easily correspond to the parts of an essay:
|Essay Level||Paragraph Level|
|Thesis statement||Topic sentence|
|Body paragraphs||Supporting details, explanation, analysis|
Just as an effective essay starts off with an introduction that presents the paper's thesis statement and indicates the specific claim or argument that the essay will develop, each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that indicates the focus of that paragraph, alerting the reader to the particular subtopic that the paragraph will provide evidence to support.
A strong topic sentence should be placed at or near the beginning of a paragraph. In addition, this sentence should focus on a specific issue, avoid the use of direct quotations, and leave room for support and analysis within the body of the paragraph. Read on to learn more about creating an effective topic sentence.
Helpful tips for writing a thesis statement
What is a thesis statement?
- One singular sentence or claim in your first paragraph that presents your main topic or argument for your reader
- The rest of the paper elaborates on this point and provides evidence to prove it’s true
- Acts like a guide for the rest of the paper; in other words, after reading the thesis statement, a reader should know what to expect in the rest of the body paragraphs
Types of thesis statements:
- Think: What is the goal of your paper?
- Explanatory– An essay in which you explain something factual to an audience
ex: The Patriot army went to war against the British army in the Revolutionary War because of concerns over issues of taxes, land, and independence.
- Argumentative– Makes a claim that can be disputed or argued against. The claim can come in the form of an opinion, a proposal, or an interpretation.
ex: The most compelling reason to stop pollution is the effect that it is having on animals.
Is my thesis strong enough?
A good thesis statement :
- thoroughly answers the question or the prompt being asked
- is neither vague nor too specific