Topic sentences can appear at any point in a paragraph (beginning, middle, or end). Topic sentences, on the other hand, are usually the first or second sentence in a paragraph. They serve as summaries of the paragraphs that surround them. Sometimes they even begin new paragraphs.
Many writers avoid using topic sentences because they believe them to be an essential part of writing. But this is not true - you can write excellent articles without including one. In fact, including a topic sentence every time you break a paragraph hurts more than helps. It makes your article seem less coherent and organized.
A good example is the New York Times. The newspaper includes a topic sentence in almost every paragraph of its articles. This may seem like a great idea at first: a short summary of what the paragraph is about right at the beginning!
But actually it's not that helpful. It turns out that most paragraphs in the New York Times contain both relevant and irrelevant information, so having a single sentence describing their overall content isn't that useful. The reader needs to decide for themselves what parts of each paragraph are important enough to remember for later. Including a topic sentence every time you break a paragraph removes all ambiguity - the reader knows exactly where they are in the article at any given moment.
The subject sentence is usually found at the beginning of the paragraph. It is frequently the opening sentence of the paragraph. The topic sentence of a paragraph must be broad enough to represent the overarching subject of the paragraph.
For example, if the topic sentence of a paragraph were written as "Football is a sport that requires skill and physical strength", it would be too narrow because it would only cover one aspect of the overall subject of sports. In this case, the topic sentence would need to be rewritten so that it can cover more than one aspect of the subject.
In order for the reader to understand the main idea of the paragraph, they need to know what that idea is before they read any further. So by placing the topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph, we are able to catch the reader's attention and get them interested in the topic before they have finished reading the entire paragraph.
This principle applies to paragraphs in essays too. If you want your essay to stand out from the rest, it is important that you include a strong topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph. This will help readers understand what concept is being explored or argued in that particular section of the essay.
There are several tools available online that can help with the process of writing topic sentences.
A topic phrase also expresses the writer's view regarding the issue. The topic sentence often but not always functions as an assertion about the topic of the paragraph.
Other useful indicators to help you identify the topic sentence include:
- If another sentence follows the topic sentence expressing a different view on the same topic, then this second sentence is the supporting sentence.
- If multiple sentences can be matched to the topic sentence, they are all supporting sentences.
- Only the first sentence of a paragraph is generally considered part of the topic sentence package. However, some writers may choose to start each new topic with the support of previous sentences, thus forming a small cluster of related ideas.
- The last sentence of the paragraph is most commonly the topic sentence, although it can also be used as supportive evidence if other sentences precede it.
Every paragraph should have a subject sentence that indicates the paragraph's major theme. The topic sentence often but not always follows a conjunctive adverb or conjunction, such as however, nevertheless, still, yet, nor, and but.
Examples of good topic sentences: "Still, there are many disadvantages to online shopping." (beginning with still) "However, buying from an online retailer can be convenient." (opening with however)
In the above examples, the first sentence discusses the problem while the second sentence offers a solution to it. These are called counter arguments because they answer the question "Why shouldn't I shop online?"
The goal of the topic sentence is to make the reader interested in the rest of the paragraph. It does this by giving a brief overview of the topic and/or by raising a question about it. The topic sentence should not contain information not included in the body of the essay. For example, if you were writing about the advantages and disadvantages of online shopping, the topic sentence could not say something like "This method is useful for people who live in remote areas" because that would not be relevant to whether or not you should shop online.