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Writing Topic Sentences. Topic sentences are statements of intent for each of the paragraphs you will . They state what you will tell the reader from your thesis, and the information you provide in the paragraph.

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writing topic sentences

Writing Topic Sentences

Topic sentences are statements of intent for each of the paragraphs you will . They state what you will tell the reader from your thesis, and the information you provide in the paragraph.

A good topic sentence will introduce what will follow in the paragraph to prove a part of your thesis.

You will begin with an introductory paragraph – interest grabber, commentary introducing your topic, and then your thesis statement.

For each of the points in your thesis statement you will have a paragraph with at least one supporting example.

You will finish with a concluding paragraph that restates your thesis statement, reviews your commentary, and draws some conclusions based on it.


In your writing, many of you simply gave a fact for a topic sentence. That does not work. It is wrong. You can’t use a fact for a topic sentence because a fact can’t be argued or discussed. Which of the following topic sentences can not be used because they are facts?

“The people who live on Mango Street want to get out in order to improve their lives.”

“There are only two kinds of people who live in the world: males and females”

“Marin is an adolescent girl who lives in the barrio with her father.”


There are two kinds of topic sentences:

Type one, A statement of opinion

A statement of opinion contains some form of judgment (a good or bad idea about something) and the paragraph will support the opinion in the topic sentence.


The computer is the greatest invention of the twentieth century.


There are two kinds of topic sentences:

Type two, A statement of intent

A statement of intent contains no opinion; instead, it informs the reader of what will be objectively explained in the paragraph using facts.


The common seasoning monosodium glutamate (MSG) has negative side effects.


What are the functions of a topic sentence?

  • An effective topic sentence will:
  • -Relate and link the intent of the paragraph to the point in the thesis statement.
  • -Within the paragraph set up a claim, argument, discussion based upon the point from the thesis statement that commentary (opinion of the writer) can be put forth in third person.
  • -Contain a controlling idea about the topic that needs to be developed in the sentences that follow a supporting example.

Atopic sentence must be a complete sentence to perform all the functions.

Weak:The part of the book that shows us the only option of a female is wait for rich man.

Better:The vignette Marin is essential to the discussion of the escape routes for adolescent females since it shows the only option to leave the barrio is to marry.


A topic sentence must predict or promise what follows, so it cannot be a question.

Incorrect:How many different roles are males and females asked to play?

Correct/Better:  It can be demonstrated that in Chicano society, there are two main roles for both males and females.


Phrases like “I think” or “in my opinion” may weaken topic sentences. Your writing is always your opinion, so you don’t need these phrases unless they are central to the idea that you are trying to teach the reader.

-Always write in the present tense

-Use the third person as there is no question as to whose opinion is being expressed.

Weak:   I think that it is important for every woman to carry a gun.

Better:  As violent criminals take over the city streets, women must carry a gun to protect themselves.


The topic sentence should provide clear relationships among all of its elements so that it can provide a framework for understanding the rest of the paragraph.

Weak:In this book, there are lots of vignettes which talk about women who want to get out of the barrio.

Better:The vignette Alicia Who Sees Mice is central to understanding the options adolescent females have for escaping the barrio (in the context of The House on Mango Street).


A topic sentence’s logic must be easy to understand so that the reader can use it as a key to the rest of the paragraph.

Weak:The last theme is that “Life options for an adolescent female,” the real meaning for it is that the choice for a teenager female.

Better:“The vignette Marin explores the theme of options for…”