Time and time again, the importance and centrality of the thesis statement is drilled into our heads. We are encouraged to devote extensive time and energy to formulating a strong thesis statement. While it may be true that thesis statements are often the navigating force that sets the tone of the paper, a thesis statement is not the only important component of a strong paper.
I often come across papers that have a powerful, interesting, and engaging thesis statement, but lack the necessary supportive information to back up this claim. Here is where it is important to not only emphasize the thesis statement, but the topic sentence of every single paragraph. Without a strong topic sentence, every paragraph faces the risk of falling flat and becoming disconnected from the paper’s argument.
It is therefore helpful to think of every topic sentence as a “mini” thesis statement. Like a thesis statement, each topic sentence should provide a claim that sets the tone for the following paragraph. Although the topic sentence does not have to be the first sentence of the paragraph, it is important to connect the rest of the evidence and analysis of the paragraph with that topic sentence. Moreover, the topic sentence provides the framework for your paragraph. Whatever unique topic or claim is introduced by that topic sentence should be supported by the evidence and analysis you bring into the paragraph.
The essential element of every topic sentence is its connection to the greater overarching thesis statement. Every topic sentence should introduce a unique topic that connects and speaks to the greater claim you are making in the whole paper. When glancing through a paper one should be able to read the thesis statement and following topic sentences to have a general understanding of the paper’s claim and supporting evidence about a specific topic. I like to think of thesis statements and topic sentences as an outline, or roadmap for the entire paper.
When tackling a topic sentence, ask yourself the following questions to get started:
- What topic am I introducing into this paragraph?
- Am I making a unique claim that I can back up with evidence in this paragraph?
- How does this connect to my thesis?
Feel free to peruse this great site for more information on how to construct the best possible topic sentence!
Post Submitted By: Ashton