Tuesday 25 July 2017

Writing a Topic Sentence in a Body Paragraph

Writing a Topic Sentence in a Body Paragraph

The topic sentence is the first sentence of a body paragraph. It introduces the point that your body paragraph will explore. Each topic sentence has to accomplish a few key things:

·         Link to the previous paragraph
·         Link back to the thesis statement
·         Introduce a new point that will be explored in the rest of the paragraph

A good topic sentence can do all of the above at the same time. It needs to clarify the new direction that you are taking your discussion in, but do it in a way that doesn’t confuse your reader.

Let’s look at an example to clarify what a topic sentence should look like. For the essay topic on sleeping times we introduced above, your first paragraph would be on why sleep is important and how it affects people.

Your topic sentence could be something like the following:

Sleep is a fundamental part of maintaining health and mental functioning.

Now, the reader knows that the paragraph will explain why sleep is important and how it affects health and functioning. You’ve effectively transitioned into your new paragraph. You’ve also linked to your thesis statement because you are talking about the effects of sleep, and laying the groundwork for the comparison of different amounts of sleep which your essay will do later.

However, there are times when your “topic sentence” might be more than just one sentence. You might have to spend a bit more time establishing the important transitions from the previous idea and setting up your new idea. For example, if we were to write the topic sentence component of the third paragraph, about how less than seven hours is detrimental, we might write it as follows:

However, despite the aforementioned benefits of sleep, one has to consider that different amounts of sleep affect individuals in different ways. Studies have shown that sleeping for less than seven hours per night can lead to a loss of functioning and less mental acuity.

These two sentences were needed here to perform the function of introducing your topic or idea for this paragraph. One sentence was used to transition from the previous paragraph, showing that not all sleep is equal by using the signpost word “however”. The second sentence indicated that this paragraph will talk about the detrimental effects of getting less than seven hours of sleep.

Make sure that your topic sentences clearly state what your paragraphs will be about. This makes it easier for readers to scan the contents of your essay by only reading the first sentence or two of each paragraph, and still being able to easily find their way.

Review Your Learning:
      A topic sentence (or topic sentences) come at the start of each body paragraph
      Topic sentences need to transition from previous paragraphs, show a link to the thesis statement, and introduce the main idea of the current paragraph

      You can use signposting to improve the logical flow of your paragraphs