Types of topic sentences

As you may have read in one of our previous entries, a topic sentence is the part of a paragraph that contains the main idea of it. The rest of the information in the paragraph develops and supports this idea. The topic sentence usually includes two elements: the subject and the controlling idea. The former refers to the general topic we are talking about, and the latter is the specific aspect of the subject that the writer wants to develop in the rest of the paragraph.

The controlling idea could be a noun in the plural form which the writer could refer to throughout the paragraph, for instance, precautions, advantages, reasons, causes, effects, steps, ways, methods, types, characteristics, etc. An example of this is the topic sentence: “Learning a foreign language has several advantages” in which the subject is learning a foreign language and the controlling idea is the word advantages.

However, the topic sentence does not necessarily have to be one statement. Instead, it can be expressed in different ways. In this article, you will find examples of how the topic sentence mentioned above could be stated otherwise.

A question as a topic sentence

This is a good way to attract the reader’s attention towards the subject the writer wants to develop.

Example: Have you ever thought of the advantages of learning a foreign language?

Question and answer as the topic sentence

Giving the answer to the question may also encourage the
reader to continue finding out more about the topic.

Example: Are there a lot of advantages of learning a foreign language? Yes, you can have more job opportunities if you speak another language.

A command as the topic sentence

In this way, you can make the reader reflect on different aspects of
the topic.

Example: Think of all the advantages of learning a foreign language, such as studying abroad, meeting new people and many more.

Two sentences to introduce the topic

In the following example, the topic sentence is the second statement which makes a contrast with the first idea.

Example: Having good control of your mother tongue helps you succeed in several written tasks or oral presentations at work. However, communicating effectively in a foreign language has a lot of advantages.

A complex sentence with an adverbial clause

This kind of topic sentence has multiple options as you can see below. The first clause introduces a condition, time, place, reason or contrast with a subordinate conjunction and the second part of the clauses states the subject and the controlling idea.

These are some subordinate conjunctions you can use: Although, however, unless, if, because, as long as, as soon as, when, while, even though, even if, before, until, whenever or wherever.

Examples: Although having good control of your mother tongue helps you succeed in several written tasks or oral presentations at work, communicating effectively in a foreign language has a lot of advantages.

If you ever apply for studying abroad, you will realise that learning a foreign language has a lot of advantages.

When students have the need to communicate with people from other countries, they really see that learning a foreign language has a lot of advantages.

These are some of the options you have to create your own topic sentences. To enrich your vocabulary and search for more possibilities, visit WriteBetter and start improving your writing skills.


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