The UVic Writer's Guide

The Topic Sentence

To make the significance of each paragraph clear, you must include a topic sentence. The topic sentence of this paragraph is the previous one because it includes the crucial words "You must include a topic sentence." Most often the topic sentence comes first, and the point made in the topic sentence is developed and supported by the rest of the paragraph. Without some kind of topic sentence, the paragraph is rudderless and the reader is lost.

Undeveloped essays may contain entire paragraphs of topic sentences, combining several expandable ideas into one block of unsupported assertions. If an idea is important enough to mention it is important enough to develop; if a general statement is worth making, it is worth supporting in detail.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated May 12, 1995