How to Develop Topic Sentences

Updated August 31, 2017
Once you have developed a working thesis, it is time to start thinking about topic sentences for your paper. A topic sentence is usually the first sentence of a paragraph. Sometimes it can be two sentences long. The primary purpose of the topic sentence is to relate the content from the previous paragraph and to introduce the content of the new paragraph smoothly and efficiently. It is important to always include both parts in the topic sentence to really clarify your writing. For example, let us use the sample thesis from the previous essay: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores the disillusionment of 1920s American society particularly through diction, imagery, and allusions. Notice the subject, verb, object structure as well as the detail at the end. Here is an example of a good topic sentence to follow this thesis: One of the tools that The Great Gatsby uses to emphasize the disillusionment of 1920s American society is diction. In addition, make sure to mention if your are focusing on a certain character’s diction. Notice that the topic sentence follows the structure of the thesis with a narrower scope. Since this topic sentence immediately follows the thesis, it reminds the reader of the subject, verb, and object. It is good to have a few different words to rotate for your main idea throughout the paper. For example, you would not want to use disillusionment every time in your paper. Perhaps use a variation such as disappointment or facade to further describe the object of your paper. Make certain that you do not stray too far from your original idea in these variations. They should enrich your thesis, not take away from it.

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