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What are Topic Sentences? A Comprehensive Guide with Examples

Published by at August 18th, 2021 , Revised On August 22, 2023

“Topic sentences briefly describe what each paragraph of an essay will explore and discuss. You can consider topic sentences as the heading or the headline for the paragraph.”

Topic sentences help to;

How to Write Topic Sentences

Topic sentences are written and rewritten throughout the essay writing process to make sure your essay is coherent and has a smooth and logical progression of ideas. However, before you can get to write topic sentences, you will be required to develop a strong and logical thesis statement that provides the paper’s purpose.

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Example Thesis Statement

Increasing consumption of processed food items has led to several environmental issues over the last decade or so. To save the planet from the disastrous consequences of increasing processed food production, it is vitally important to review and renew the existing production and consumption forms.

Once you have developed the thesis statement, you must prepare an outline to structure your essay correctly. Each paragraph in the outline will start with a topic sentence that will enable you to remember what you want to say and provide evidence you will use to support your arguments within that particular paragraph.

It should be noted that each topic sentence will introduce the focal theme of the corresponding paragraph and demonstrate how it relates to the thesis statement.

Example Topic Sentence

Studies have revealed that the meat industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution.

The remaining paragraph can progress logically from this statement to include arguments and evidence.

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Using Topic Sentences for Transitioning

Topic sentences are often used for transitioning between paragraphs in the paper. This means you can make use of transition words to give more weight and meaning to the statement. Here is a question that you should ask yourself;

  • How does the topic sentence that you created relates to the arguments and evidence presented in the previous paragraph?

Your topic sentence will be based on any of the following three strategies depending on the correlation between the paragraphs;

Highlight and Emphasize

You might consider making use of transitional words such as moreover, in fact, indeed, furthermore, as mentioned, indeed, certainly, although, however – where you want to expand and emphasize on the point you made in the preceding paragraph to add more weight and detail to your argument.

Also Read: How to Use Transitions in Essay

Certainly, water and land have been significantly affected by the ever-increasing quantities of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from cattle farms.

Condense and Anticipate

You can choose to present additional evidence in the new topic statement and briefly describe the preceding paragraph’s theme if you aim to discuss a different aspect of the same subject matter in the new paragraph.

Although cattle farming is believed to be the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, other forms of farming such as poultry farming are also having a damaging effect on our environment.

Making Comparison

If you must compare or contrast information in the new paragraph, your topic sentence should use appropriate transition words to highlight the comparison. For example, you can use transition words such as “on the other hand,” “in comparison,” and “however.”

On the other hand, it is not always easy to establish the exact cost associated with our dietary choices. For example, it is possible that the environmental impact of a specific plant-based food production house could be considerably greater than a small scale cattle farm.

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Introducing Multiple Paragraphs with a Single Topic Sentence

It is possible to use a single topic sentence to introduce several paragraphs at once. For example, if you see the above examples in a broader picture, you will realise that all of them belong to one larger argument: excessive meat consumption is causing severe environmental issues, and veganism is the choice that could potentially address the situation.

Making the food industry sustainable is a challenge that can be overcome by introducing plan based food products. This means that your first topic sentence can introduce several paragraphs.

Where to Place Topic Sentences?

It is common to have the topic sentence as the first statement of the paragraph, but this may not always be the case, and you may choose to place it in the middle or at the very end, which generally suggests a change of opinion.

Veganism appears to be the only sustainable option for the food industry, considering the evidence confirming the impact of cattle farming on the environment. On the other hand, it is not always easy to establish the exact cost associated with our dietary choices. For example, it is possible that the environmental impact of a specific plant-based food production house could be considerably greater than a small scale cattle farm.

The first statement in the above example emphasizes the focal point. The topic sentence will briefly describe whether the corresponding paragraph will provide the argument in support or against the main point.

However, as indicated before, you are always free to choose where to place the topic sentences to give more weight and strength to your arguments. But if in doubt, it would be best to start the paragraph with the topic sentence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a topic sentence example: “Increased access to technology has revolutionized communication, leading to significant changes in how people interact and share information in the modern digital age.”

About Alaxendra Bets

Avatar for Alaxendra BetsBets earned her degree in English Literature in 2014. Since then, she's been a dedicated editor and writer at ResearchProspect, passionate about assisting students in their learning journey.