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How to Write the Main Topic Sentence

in an Essay

Sue Gench


steps to write a main topic sentence

main topic sentence examples


If you are to take a standardized basic writing skill test, such as US State Teacher Certification Basic Writing Skill, TOEFL or SAT-English, or need to improve your basic writhing skills, this lesson on main topic sentence aims at your needs.

The main topic sentence is usually the first sentence or statement in the introduction paragraph of an essay. In essence, the main topic sentence is the door by which the writer opens up a topic to the reader and delineates it in the essay later. Also, the term of thesis statement is frequently used, usually by academia, as an equivalent of the main topic sentence. A topic is defined as an idea we understand the meaning of, or, in so many words, topic and idea are interchangeable terms. If you have an idea you want to write on then you have a topic, and you must write your topic in a complete sentence in order to turn it into a main topic sentence and, at least, write one complete sentence. For example, nice weather, healthy diet, charity for the poor are all topics for which main topic sentence examples are given below.

1) The weather is nice today.

2) I like to eat healthy.

3) Charity for the poor works to the interest of society.

The first example, "The weather is nice today.", is a complete sentence representing the main topic: nice weather. As simple as this idea of weather quality, the main topic sentence implicates what ideas will follow it next. After reading this main topic sentence, the reader would expect to see the qualities of "a nice weather" in the essay, for example, such as "warm" and "sunny" instead of "cold" or "rainy", because the ideas of being warm and sunny support the main topic. In contrast, imagine that after the main topic sentence of the weather is nice today, the following supporting sentence is "because it is cold and rainy", which contradicts the main topic sentence. Although this is an exaggerated example for not sticking to the point, it is one of the most common writing mistakes people make. So make sure your sentences following the main topic sentence will support and discuss the main topic.

Exercise 1:

Now that you have an idea what a main topic sentence is, follow the steps below to write one.

Step 1: Think of a topic you want to write on. Here are more examples: women, motherhood and success is a topic, hard work and success is a topic; and you can make up main topic sentences out of them all.

Step 2: Now let'../Grammar/adjectives-examples.php">adjectives, nouns, verbs and phrases describing the topic of "woman, motherhood and success". What do you intend to write on this topic? For example, do you want to write on how women are coping with the society's pressure today-- both be a mother and have a successful career? Or, are you against the idea of "women can have it all" or against the idea of "one cookie-cut fulfillment", without choice, for all women? Think about what you have to say, what's your stand on this issue. Women, career, motherhood, success, society's pressure are the key words for this topic. What are the key words for the second topic hard work and success?

Step 3: Write at least one sentence to introduce your main topic using the keywords above. Make sure your main topic sentence is a complete sentence. An example of a main topic sentence for the above topic is:

"Today, women are expected to achieve both successful careers and motherhood, and they are certainly trying to measure up. But are they succeeding?" This is a main topic statement made up of one complex and one simple sentence (in the question form) for the topic: women, motherhood and success.

Now, write a main topic sentence on the topic: you are against the idea of women can have it all. Use the key words: women, career, motherhood, choice, fulfillment

Step 4: Following the steps above, write a main topic sentence for the topic: hard work and success.

Exercise 2:

This exercise is optional, and you need not do it for this lesson. But if you want to see how well your supporting questions will discuss the main topic, then do it.

Step 1: Think supporting questions for your topic sentence and write them all down.

Step 2: Answer each question and write your answers down.

Step 3: Read aloud each supporting question, answer and then revise it.

Exercise 3:

A. Following the steps above, make a main topic sentence describing a fact. Here are two examples of factual sentences:

"When it snows, more people are late to work."

"In fall, trees shed their leaves."

Exercise 4:

A. Make a sentence expressing your opinion of something. This sentence will be your main topic sentence. Unlike factual statements, opinions change from people to people, and we have our own subjective opinions others may agree or disagree with. For example, "Children need discipline beside freedom to express themselves without fear." is a statement expressing an opinion that is subjective, and not that everybody would agree with.

B. Ask one supporting question at a time using: what, who, when, where, why, or how.

C. Write an answer to each supporting question.

D. Read your answer aloud. Does your answer discuss or further explain the main topic? If so, keep it, otherwise remove it.

E. Revise your draft by reading it aloud.

statement is a sentence or sentences that declare(s) a fact or an opinion. Similarities and differences between a statement and sentence are:

Both a statement and sentence are complete thoughts we understand what they mean. The difference between the statement and sentence is that we know the author of a statement who made it, and it is a subjective opinion of a person others agree or disagree with. A statement may consist of more than one sentence. On the other hand, a sentence, without an author, expresses a complete thought, but we don't know who expressed that thought. Here is an example:

President Barack Obama stated that banking industry has acted recklessly. The banks' reckless acts have brought about the recent world-wide economic crisis. Here, President Obama makes a statement. He expresses his opinion on a matter, so this is a statement.

Here is a sentence for the same idea: Banks have acted recklessly, bringing about the recent world-wide economic crisis. This is a complete thought but doesn't identify an author who made it so it is only a sentence.

cookie-cut: idiom. the same standards for all, without considering the differences

Show me how to write supporting sentences




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