Topic sentence

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The topic sentence is a prescriptive grammatical term to describe the sentence in an expository paragraph which summarizes the main idea of that paragraph.[1][2] It is usually the first sentence in a paragraph.

Also known as a focus sentence, it encapsulates or organizes an entire paragraph. Although topic sentences may appear anywhere in a paragraph, in academic essays they often appear at the beginning.[2]

The topic sentence acts as a kind of summary, and offers the reader an insightful view of the writer’s main ideas for the following paragraph.[3] More than just being a mere summary, however, a topic sentence often provides a claim or an insight directly or indirectly related to the thesis. It adds cohesion to a paper and helps organize ideas both within the paragraph and the whole body of work at large.[4][5][6]

Its use is considered standard in the American educational system and most venues of writing mainly because it increases reading accessibility.


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