What is a Topic Sentence?

The lack of a strong topic sentence will make your paragraph much less effective.
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Creating effective arguments relies on organization of writing. Overall, paragraphs provide structure to an argument, but the organization of individual paragraphs develops from a topic sentence. The topic sentence provides the reader with a blueprint for understanding the argument you will present in a paragraph.

1 Characteristics of a Topic Sentence

The primary function of the topic sentence is to make it clear to the reader the main idea of the paragraph. Additionally, the topic sentence can be used to clarify the point or position you wish to take in that paragraph. While the goal of the topic sentence is to create a specific focus for a single paragraph, it should also present an idea that needs further development in the body of the paragraph. Purdue University's Online Writing Lab provides several examples of good topic sentences, including "Exercise is really good for one’s physical and mental health" and "It is important to plan your trips carefully."

Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.