Topic Sentence: Key to Effective Paragraphs


Topic sentence is key
Topic sentence is key

Good paragraph organization is a key part of an outstanding text in a business or academic context. Well-crafted paragraphs include a topic sentence.

What is an effective paragraph?

Good paragraphs usually have three parts:

  • a topic sentence with a controlling idea
  • supporting details
  • a concluding sentence

Let’s look briefly at these three parts of an effective paragraph.

First, a good topic sentence tells the reader what the paragraph is about, makes a point about the topic, and links to the previous paragraph.

Second, the specific details In a good paragraph support, describe, or explain the main idea expressed in the topic sentence. The paragraph provides evidence, such as examples, facts and statistics.

Third, the concluding sentence of the paragraph acts as a transition to the next paragraph.

So a good paragraph has unity. It helps both the writer and reader.

Including these three features helps the writer properly organize the paragraph. And it helps the reader follow the argument or point of view more easily.

What is a topic sentence?

Write good a topic sentence
Write good a topic sentence

5 key points to remember about a topic sentence:

  1. A topic sentence gives the main idea of the paragraph. It is the most important sentence in the paragraph in fact. Avoid using expressions such as, “In my opinion,” or “I believe.”
  2. A topic sentence is a complete sentence – the subject and verb; it is not a question, fact or phrase or incomplete sentence. It should be focused.
  3. A topic sentence includes both a topic and controlling idea – or specific point in that paragraph. Think of the topic sentence as a clear, debatable and concise statement expressing a point of view.
  4. A topic sentence previews the organization of a good paragraph. As I already mentioned, a topic sentence helps the writer know what essential information to include in the paragraph. And it helps the reader know what to expect.
  5. A topic sentence usually appears first in an effective paragraph. However, it may come second after an opening transitional sentence. If you are presenting a number of details and facts first, you can end your paragraph with a topic sentence.

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