Both thesis and topic sentences should be specific, focused and clear. In addition, they are not questions or predictions. They are declarative statements and are necessary for the organization of an essay.
What is a Thesis Sentence?
A thesis sentence is the summary of the main points in a research paper or a thesis. It is a single sentence that is usually in the conclusion of the introductory paragraph. It helps to develop and organize the body of the thesis. It also contains the controlling idea of an essay and maintains its unity. Through this sentence, the opinions and the judgements of the writer too can be identified.
There are two types of thesis sentences: explanatory and argumentative. An explanatory sentence mentions the subject, whereas an argumentative sentence is a claim that the readers may agree or disagree with.
Features of a Good Thesis Sentence
- Provide the direction of the paper
- Have evidence
How to Write a Thesis Sentence
- Understands the topic
- Limit the scope
What is a Topic Sentence?
A topic sentence is a sentence that summarizes the main idea of a paragraph. It is also known as the focus sentence. This is the most important sentence in a paragraph. It can be anywhere in a paragraph, but usually, in academic essays, it is the first sentence.
The topic sentence is the main element in organizing a paragraph because the rest of the paragraph supports this sentence. This develops one main point in an essay. This not only summarizes the content of a paragraph but contains the main idea as well. A topic sentence maintains the coherence of paragraphs and the essay. There are two parts to a topic sentence. They are,
- The topic – subject of a paragraph
- Controlling idea – point of the paragraph. Guides and supports the paragraph. This may reveal the writer’s opinions as well.
Examples of Topic Sentences
- The world is very different now (John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech, 1961)
- Grandma’s room I regarded as a dark den of primitive rites and practices. (E.L. Doctorow, World’s Fair. Random House, 1985)
- You discover what it is like to be hungry. (George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London. Victor Gollancz, 1933)
Features of a Topic Sentence
- The first sentence or near the first sentence of a paragraph
- Introduces the paragraph
- Contains new information
- General enough to explore
- Strong (usually without starting from ‘there is’ or ‘there are’)
What is the Difference Between Thesis and Topic Sentence?
The key difference between thesis and topic sentence is that a thesis sentence contains the main idea of the paper or essay, while a topic sentence is a sentence that contains the main idea of a paragraph. Moreover, while a thesis sentence is broad, a topic sentence is narrow.
The following table summarizes the difference between thesis and topic sentence.
Summary – Thesis vs Topic Sentence
A thesis sentence is the summary of the main points in a research paper or a thesis. It occurs at the end of the introductory paragraph as the conclusion. It gives an insight into the essay or thesis. This statement should be based on evidence. A topic sentence, on the other hand, is a sentence that summarizes the main idea of a paragraph. Generally, it is the first sentence in a paragraph and contains the main idea. It maintains the coherence of paragraphs and the essay. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between thesis and topic sentence.