What Is a Topic Sentence in an Essay?

The topic sentence is the first sentence in each paragraph that contains the dominant idea. It should be focused, never a question or prediction. It should be one simple declarative statement. Its main function is to catch the reader’s attention, state the purpose of the essay, and provide direction. A true definition of style is the use of proper words at the right places. The following are tips on how to create the perfect topic sentence.


In an essay, signposts serve as the transition between big sections, giving readers a road map to follow. For example, in an essay about climate change, signposts may appear at the end of each section, followed by a counter-argument or more complex analysis. Signposts are important because they help keep your reader on track while creating a logical flow of ideas. The signpost is also a good way to remind readers of what they’ve already read.

A signpost also can be used at the beginning of a paragraph or section. Ideally, a signpost introduces the topic sentence of a paragraph or section. For example, “George Washington suffered from pain in his mouth because of his wooden dentures.” The signposts help the reader follow the writer’s logic. However, it is important not to overuse them as this could make your prose wordy and suggest that you don’t trust the reader.

Main idea

The main idea of a paragraph or essay is a question that a writer is trying to answer. If the main idea isn’t clearly expressed in the introduction, the reader may struggle to identify it. In this case, the main idea is located in the first sentence of the paragraph. The rest of the paragraph is meant to support the main idea. A good example of this is a paragraph about West Beach. It is known for its light-colored soft sand and long coastline. In low tide, children love to play in the surf or walk along the rocks.

When writing an essay, the main idea of a topic sentence should come through in each paragraph. It is often found at the beginning, middle, or end of a paragraph. It should be clearly stated and reflect the central idea of the paragraph. Often, topic sentences begin as simple statements and should be improved as you go along. For example, a meat industry essay will use specific statistics and research studies to prove its point.

Main idea of the paragraph

The purpose of a topic sentence in an essay is to direct the reader to the topic of the paragraph. A topic sentence should be broad enough to encompass a larger idea, yet narrow enough to be focused on a specific idea. Examples of topic sentences include character descriptions, use of dialogue, and portrayals of emotion. A topic sentence is often the first sentence of a paragraph. To write a good topic sentence, start by writing a short paragraph with a topic and an controlling idea.

The main body of an essay consists of several paragraphs, each of which has a topic sentence. Topic sentences are typically at the start of a paragraph, explaining what the paragraph is going to be about. It shows the continuity of the argument while also giving the reader an idea of where to find the rest of the paragraph. It also shows that a topic sentence relates to a previous paragraph. For example, if a paragraph is about how to succeed in a school, a topic sentence will indicate continuity in the argument.

Restates thesis statement

In an essay, the controlling idea is a word, phrase, or clause that expresses the writer’s position, attitude, or opinion. For instance, a writer might state that parents must work with schools to provide a better education for children. He may also state that the space program is not producing practical returns, and it should be abolished. Clearly, these three sentences will lead readers to the next paragraph, and will provide the most interesting and compelling content.

A topic sentence can be used to summarize or anticipate the content of the following paragraph. If a paragraph contains two opposing viewpoints, a topic sentence may be necessary for each. In a paragraph with a single topic, a topic sentence might be unnecessary. If the topic sentence is too long, it will be hard to follow the argument of the other paragraph. Therefore, a topic sentence should state an opinion that the writer can support in the next paragraph.

Introduces several paragraphs at once

An essay that introduces several paragraphs at once is known as a multi-paragraph composition. This type of writing is typically expository, descriptive, persuasive, narrative, or a combination of different types. The introductory paragraph sets the tone for the composition and begins with a general statement, then a thesis statement. A body paragraph follows with a topic sentence and supporting details. This type of composition is a good choice when a writer is attempting to explain a complex subject or idea.

An introduction is typically funnel shaped, beginning with the broadest topic, narrowing down to a thesis statement, and concluding with the main ideas. However, students often skip this step entirely, which is a mistake. While an introduction is a vitally important part of an essay, it shouldn’t be the only part of the essay. There are a few things you should know about an introduction paragraph before you start writing.

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