What is a Topic Sentence?

Why Should I Use Topic Sentences?

When writing an essay for university, you must use topic sentences. These are sentences that go at the beginning of each paragraph in which you are about to discuss a new topic.

Their purpose is to improve the logical flow of the essay, and help the reader to see how you have structured your essay and why. The correct use of topic sentences will allow you to build upon your answer to your essay question (your ‘thesis statement’) as you go, making a strong argument to convince your reader of your point of view.

What Does a Topic Sentence Look Like?

Imagine you are writing a history essay about the reasons for the Holocaust. In the essay, you plan to write about six reasons the Holocaust occurred, and each reason you give will be discussed in two paragraphs.

That means that every second paragraph would use a topic sentence since it would be moving on to discuss another reason for the Holocaust. Here are some examples of topic sentences for this example essay:

‘The most significant cause for the Holocaust was the economic state of Germany.’

‘Another reason that the Holocaust occurred was due to Hitler’s personal views.’

Logical Flow for Your Essay

These sentences let the reader know what the paragraph will discuss (what the next point to be discussed in the essay is) and relate the paragraph back to the introduction. This gives the essay a nice flow, and shows that it has been well organised.

So, you can tell what the topic of the first body paragraph is by reading the topic sentence, which is the first sentence in the paragraph.

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