Of all the types of sentences in the world, none has been more the bane of students all over the world than the topic sentence. Topic sentences have a large complicated role to fill and they are often quite esoteric. There are two types of topic sentences, the thesis statement, and the individual topic sentences for each paragraph. Topic sentences have a specific purpose, and they must be planned with thought and care. It should also be known that topic sentences have different rules as their scope changes. The rules of a thesis statement are not quite the same as the rule of a paragraph topic sentence for each individual paragraph.
Topic sentences are very important. It might seem that an astute reader could deduce the topic of a paragraph by reading it or simply looking at the title, but this is the fast track to ignoring the richness of what a topic sentence has to offer. The first thing about topic sentences is that they are there to give each paragraph a sense of identity, as well as insure that you, as the author, have no illusions of what a paragraph is going to be about. Without a clear topic, it is possible that a paragraph will veer into tangential territory, and this is no good.
Thesis statements are notoriously tricky, as they are like topic sentences for an entire paper. All of your topic sentences must somehow relate to the thesis statement, and yet the thesis statement can never be as broad as be able to be construed as meaningless. A thesis statement is what your paper is, more or less. Your thesis statement is just that, a statement, with the whole paper as evidence and backup showing that your thesis is true. Therefore, you must choose a thesis statement that encompasses everything you are planning to talk about.
Paragraph Topic sentences are a bit different. Instead of being broad and sweeping, paragraph topic sentences should be rather limiting in scope. They should come as the first or second sentence in a paragraph, perhaps after a transitional or introductory sentence. In any case, it is the job of a topic sentence to keep you invested in the paragraph. What is being talked about, and why is this interesting and relevant? That is the question that your topic sentence should be striving to answer.
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