How to Write a Topic Paragraph | Best Guide & Sample 2022
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When learning how to write a Topic paragraph, it is often a general expectation that body paragraphs in essays center around a single main idea that relates to the thesis statement. Creating clear topic sentences can help achieve this and make everything easier for both the writers and the readers. In the writer’s case, topic sentences help make it easier to remain relevant to the topic while building the main idea without going off track. For the readers, topic sentences inform them what each paragraph will focus on while demonstrating the connection between different ideas and paragraphs.
Generally, topic sentences appear early in body paragraphs, usually within the first or second sentence. Topic sentences have significant control over a paragraph because they act like mini-thesis statements for each paragraph. They also unify the content of their respective paragraphs. As a rule of thumb, the details that follow a topic sentence in a paragraph have to relate to it.
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- A host of important topics for paragraph writing
- Topic sentence examples for argumentative essays
How Do You Write a Topic Sentence for a Paragraph?
The first step in figuring out how to write a Topic paragraph is writing topic sentences. Writing stellar topic sentences is a useful skill that is essential to achieving success in writing. Topic sentences often come at the beginning of paragraphs and inform the readers what to expect in each paragraph. In a sense, topic sentences are like movie previews or headlines in newspapers. They highlight the main point that the paragraph will dwell on. Having up to par topic sentence writing skills will make writing a breeze for you. Below are some steps you can take when writing topic sentences for your essays.
Clearly State Your Main Idea
Because topic sentences will most likely be the first sentences of your paragraphs, ensure they clearly state the subject matter of each paragraph without being unnecessarily difficult to understand or too wordy. The sentence must include a topic and your opinion or a controlling idea. Ensure the subsequent sentences have details that relate to the topic sentence.
Find a Balance between General Ideas and Specifics
You cannot learn how to write a Topic paragraph without learning how to write well-balanced topic sentences. Topic sentences need to relate their respective paragraphs to the essay’s thesis statement. However, you need to ensure that the topic sentence establishes a balance between narrow and broad details.
Hook the Audience
Among the most vital roles of the topic, sentences are drawing the readers in. Raise questions in the minds of the readers that you intend to answer within the paragraph. One Effective Way of doing this is dropping your readers a straight into the action. There are several ways of doing this, whether your essay is fictional or nonfictional.
Keep the Sentence Short and Sweet
Topic sentences should put forward the writer’s intention without forcing readers to hunt it down. Thus, keeping a topic sentence short will help keep intentions clear. Topic sentences should act as a middle ground in paragraphs, i.e., they should be more specific than the thesis statement, but encompass the information provided in the paragraph. Also, keeping the topic sentences short will improve the flow of your paragraphs.
What Are the Three Positions of a Topic Sentence?
Experts on ‘how to write a Topic paragraph’ recommend that topic sentences go in one of three places:
- At the beginning of paragraphs, as a way of Deductive order by moving from the main idea to the subsequent, supporting sentences.
- At the end of paragraphs as a way of inductive order, where paragraphs begin with support sentences which culminate in the main idea.
- Have the topic sentence nowhere specific, with the assumption that the readers will understand what the main idea is, hence making the topic sentence implicit in the writing.
What Is an Example Paragraph?
An Example or illustration paragraph is useful for explaining or clarifying something, e.g., a person, concept, situation, or object. By illustrating, we can point out how something is. Illustrating with examples helps us provide instances that prove or show the readers, so they can understand how something is from our point of view.
What Is a Topic Sentence and Examples?
No guide on how to write a Topic paragraph is complete without information on topic sentences. Topic sentences are arguably among the most important sentences of any paragraph. Sometimes called focus sentences, topic sentences help organize paragraphs by summarizing the information the paragraphs provide. Formal writing dictates that topic sentences ought to be the first sentence of any paragraph.
Essentially, topic sentences inform the readers what to expect in the rest of the paragraph. Each sentence after the topic sentence has to provide information relevant to it by providing facts or describing the topic sentence in more detail. For instance, if a topic sentence is about the kinds of endangered species that reside in the ocean, then each sentence after it should expound on this subject.
Topic sentences also have to relate back to the thesis statement of the essay. The thesis statements are like roadmaps, which inform the readers how you treat the information you provide in the essay. Below are some examples of topic sentences:
- “There are numerous reasons why the pollution levels in town ABC are the highest in the world.” The topic, in this case, is the levels of pollution in town ABC, while the main idea is ‘numerous reasons.’
- “There are specific characteristics you need to be an effective CEO.” The topic, in this case, is ‘to be an effective CEO’ while the controlling idea is ‘specific characteristics.’
How Do You Write a Simple Paragraph?
The guidelines on how to write a Topic paragraph are more or less similar to writing simple paragraphs. Paragraphs are groups of intertwined sentences that focus on debating, explaining, or discussing a simple idea. Most paragraphs conventionally begin with indented lines. Novice writers or students often start writing paragraphs with seven sentences, while experts of composition recommend beginners to use nine sentence paragraphs. Depending on the content, however, this number could even rise to eleven.
Elements of Simple Paragraphs
Typically, simple paragraphs contain three major elements. The first is usually a declarative sentence, commonly known as a topic sentence. This sentence introduces the subject of the paragraph and sets the mood and tone.
The subsequent sentences explain, exemplify, and elaborate on the subject introduced in the topic sentence. These sentences also contain supporting details for different examples or explanations. The last element is the final sentence, also known as the concluding sentence, which finalizes the subject of discussion in the paragraph.
How Do You Identify a Topic Sentence?
One important lesson when learning how to write a Topic paragraph is discovering how to identify topic sentences. There are two common models of methods for identifying topic sentences, i.e., the derived model and the free model.
In the derived model, readers identify topic sentences in the context of a paragraph, and in terms of how each sentence within the paragraph effectively captures the theme of the paragraph. On the other hand, in the free model, readers identify topic sentences based on sentential features without context, i.e., without referring to other sentences within the paragraph.
What Are Main Ideas?
After finding a topic, you should focus on finding the main idea. Main ideas are the focal points of paragraphs and represent important thoughts about the subject. To figure out what the main idea of a paragraph is, ask yourself what the paragraph says about the idea, thing, or person.
What Are the Two Types of Topic Sentence?
There are two main kinds of topic sentences, i.e., technique based and thematic.
For most students, using technique-based topic sentences is a lot easier. These kinds of topic sentences effectively introduce paragraphs by illustrating how they will examine things like imagery or camera angles.
By exploring themes, authors can communicate messages to varying extents. However, such messages are usually only implicit. Thematic topic sentences ought to explicitly convey messages to essay readers. Basically, translate how you interpret the author’s messages for the readers.
How to Write a Topic Paragraph
What Is a Paragraph?
Before we embark on how to write a Topic paragraph, we first have to understand what a paragraph is. Paragraphs are a series of organized, coherent sentences that are related to one topic. Generally, all pieces of writing that exceed a few sentences should be in paragraphs. This is because paragraphs demarcate different subdivisions of the essay, thus helping readers understand the essay’s organization.
Paragraphs can have various kinds of information. For instance, paragraphs could contain one lengthy illustration of a specific point or a series of examples. They may describe characters, processes, places, or narrate series of events. Regardless of the information they contain, paragraphs share common features, one of them being topic sentences.
No tutorial on how to write a Topic paragraph is complete without touching on topic sentences. Well-organized paragraphs develop and support a single controlling idea. Topic sentences express such controlling ideas. The typical functions of a topic sentence include:
- Supporting or substantiating the thesis statement of an essay
- Unifying the content of a paragraph while directing the order of sentences
- Advising the readers on the subjects a paragraph will discuss, and how they will discuss it
Generally, readers look at the opening sentences of a paragraph to determine its perspective and subject. This is why any reasonable guide on how to write a Topic paragraph recommends writers to position the topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph. In some instances, however, it makes more sense to place one sentence before the topic sentence, e.g., a sentence that links the current paragraph to the previous paragraph, or a sentence that provides background information.
Although most paragraphs require topic sentences, there are some rare instances where paragraphs may not need one. For instance, paragraphs that narrate a series of events may not require topic sentences.
Any reasonable guide on how to write a topic paragraph should explain proper paragraph structuring. Most paragraphs in essays follow three-part structures that contain an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. This structure is common in paragraphs regardless of whether they describe, compare, contrast, analyze, or narrate information. Each section of the paragraph has an important role in conveying a specific meaning to the readers.
Ideally, this first section of the paragraph should contain the topic sentence along with any other sentences that provide background information or a transition.
This section comes after the introduction. It discusses or narrates the controlling idea using arguments, examples, analysis, and facts.
The last section of the essay, this part provides a summary of how the information in the body paragraphs connects to the main idea in the paragraphs.
Below is an example of a paragraph with a topic sentence and main idea. In this example, we capitalize on the topic sentence and the concluding sentence to keep the main point of the paragraph in the reader’s mind.
“SCIENTISTS HAVE DISCOVERED HOW TO SUPPLEMENT THE SENSE OF SIGHT IN MANY WAYS. In front of the people of a viewer’s eye, they place a monocle that is a mere 200 inches in diameter, which enables the viewer to see 2000 times farther into space. In addition, they can look through small pairs of lenses arranged as microscopes into drops of blood or water, and achieve magnifications of up to 2000 diameters of the tiny living organisms.
Many of these organisms are among humankind’s most lethal enemies. Alternatively, if you wish to see distant happenings on earth, then you can use some previously wasted electromagnetic waves that carry television images to recreate as light, by placing tiny crystals on a screen that contains electrons in a vacuum. If you wish to bring the happenings of ages ago as colored motion pictures, there is a solution for that too. By arranging collapsible molecules and silver atoms, scientists can force light waves into patterns of original reality.
If you want to view the chest of an injured person or the center of a steel casting, scientists can send information on beams of penetrating shortwave x-rays and then convert it into images, which you can view on a photograph or a screen. THEREFORE, IT IS SAFE TO SAY THAT ALMOST ALL KINDS OF DISCOVERED ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATIONS HAVE FOUND USE IN EXTENDING OUR SENSE OF SIGHT ONE WAY OR THE OTHER.”
In coherent paragraphs, individual sentences relate to the controlling idea or topic sentence. However, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to coherence. Coherent paragraphs contain sentences that flow smoothly into subsequent sentences without obvious jumps or shifts. Coherent paragraphs highlight the links between old information and new information to make readers clearly understand the structure of ideas.
Besides the flow of sentences, the coherence of the paragraph influences its length. For instance, if you have written lengthy paragraphs that fill double-spaced pages, carefully confirm where to start a new paragraph when the original paragraph veers from the main idea. On the other hand, if you have written a very short paragraph, i.e., a paragraph with only one or two sentences, you may wish to consider developing its controlling idea more effectively or combining it with another paragraph.
Techniques for Establishing Coherence
Below are some techniques you can implement to establish coherence in your paragraphs.
Repeat the Key Phrases or Words
Be consistent in your reference of key phrases or words, especially in paragraphs where you define important ideas or theories. Such repetition and consistency helps bind paragraphs together while helping the readers understand your descriptions or definitions.
Create Parallel Structures
You can create Parallel structures by constructing two or more sentences or phrases with similar grammatical structures and using similar parts of speech. Creating parallel structures helps make your sentences easier to understand. Additionally, repeating specific patterns in different series of consecutive sentences helps readers join the dots between ideas.
Use Transition Words between Paragraphs and Sentences
Transitional expressions help the readers follow a writer’s train of thought by emphasizing the relation between ideas. They also help readers identify connections that they would have otherwise misunderstood or missed entirely.
Consistency in Verb Tense, Number, and Point of View
Consistency in verb tense, number, and point of view is a subtle yet essential aspect of coherence. You effectively make paragraphs less coherent by making irregular shifts such as moving from past to present tense, shifting from ‘you’ to ‘one,’ or shifting from ‘they’ to ‘a man.’ Such inconsistencies and more can confuse the readers and make arguments difficult to follow.
All paragraphs should include topic sentences that identify the paragraph’s main idea. Use topic sentences to state the points you wish to make about the subject. In most instances, when writing a topic paragraph, position the topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph as the first sentence.
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