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Writing Program

Topic Sentence Lesson

Dominique Battles, English

The first sentence of a paragraph is referred to as the "Topic Sentence," since it announces the topic, or subject, of that particular paragraph. A good Topic Sentence will do the following things:

  1. Mention the particular point you plan to discuss in the paragraph. This "point" will come from the "Evidence" portion of your Thesis Sentence."
  2. Include your opinion about that point. This opinion is found in the "Opinion" portion of your Thesis Sentence.
  3. Relate back to thesis sentence by including wording from the "Topic" portion of your Thesis Sentence.

Example: The following topic sentence belongs to a paper arguing that the hero of the story is of Scottish (not English) cultural identity.

Topic Sentence: Degrevant's Scottish identity becomes further solidified in the poet's lengthy description of his coat-of-arms.

  • Particular Point: "coat of arms."
  • Opinion: "further solidifies" the hero's identity.
  • Relates back to the Thesis: the hero's "Scottish cultural identity."

Exercise:

In the Space below, write the Topic Sentences for each of the body paragraphs in your essay. When you're done, swap with the person next to you and assess each topic sentence for how it meets the criteria for a good topic sentence.