Topic sentence

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In prescriptive grammar, the topic sentence is 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]As the topic sentence encapsulates the idea of the paragraph, serving as a sub-thesis, it remains general enough to cover the support given in the body paragraph while being more direct than the thesis of the paper. [7]

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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