• Lit HT

Topic Sentences

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

The topic sentence is the most important sentence in your paragraph because it controls all other sentences.

A good topic sentence

-states the topic of the paragraph.

-contains a controlling idea.

Ways of focusing a topic sentence

Here are some ways that the controlling idea of a topic sentence focuses the paragraph onto one aspect of the general topic:

State your main topic clearly.

Balance the topic sentence between specifics and general ideas.

Hooks your reader.

Keep it short and focused.

Give a reasonable opinion.

Topic sentence is connected or linked to all of the supporting sentences within the paragraph.

From topic outline to topic sentence outline. Remember that a topic outline lists key words or phrases. A topic sentence outline lists complete sentences. A topic sentence outline arranges your ideas using logical writing structures (showing key points with supporting examples, explanations, etc.), in each of the essay paragraphs, linked and related to the topic in the thesis statement.

Illustrated below are examples of controlling ideas with the topic of soccer.

Ways of focusing the controlling idea which limits the topic sentence:

1. Place Soccer is now played in the United States.

2. Time Soccer has become popular within the last five years.

3. Quality Soccer is a physically demanding sport.

4. Similarities Soccer and American football have a lot in common.

5. Differences Soccer is more dangerous than tennis.

6. Number In a soccer team, there are two main groups of players.

7. List Soccer players can receive various kinds of penalties in a

game, if they break the rules.

8. Effect Famous soccer players create interest from soccer fans all

over the world.

9. Reason / Cause Soccer is dangerous for several reasons.

Topic sentences are not:

● Questions

● A statement of fact (an be proven true or false)

Notice the topic sentence writing pattern. Ask yourself…

● What is the topic?

● What is the controlling idea?

● What kind of controlling idea, is it?

Try it yourself!

Study the following topic sentences and write down the ways in which the topic of each sentence has been focused and underlined. You can use the type of controlling idea guide on the prior page.

The first sentence has been completed for you as an example.

1. Team sports develop an athlete’s [a] sense of fair play.

[a] Quality

2. Libraries have [a] three [b] basic kinds of materials.



3. Women [a] are paid less for equal work than men [b] in certain American companies.



4. Pollution [a] has caused three [b] major problems [c] in our town [d] over the last five years.





5. Air travel [a] is more convenient than train travel [b] for at least three [c] reasons.




Keep this worksheet as a topic sentence template.

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