The Ins and Outs of Topic Sentences — Clear and Concise Gets the Point Across


Let's face it: it's a busy world, and while people really ought to read with concentration and ample time, that's not always the case. Sometimes, even after you've put in the work to produce something clear, concise, and informative, your document gets read by someone between bites of breakfast sandwich, in a rush to catch a train.

Readers who skim are a reality in the writing world, and that's why you need to have a firm grasp on the importance of topic sentences.

A topic sentence is a sentence often, though not always, at the beginning of its paragraph that summarizes the major points of that paragraph while the rest of the paragraph provides details to support the claims made in the topic. A reader who took all the topic sentences out of your document and strung them together should get a clear sense of what you're communicating , even if they don't know the nuts and bolts.

Put another way: if the reader goes through with a highlighter, these are the sentences you want to see in bright yellow.

Here's how to write an effective topic sentence:

  • State the point you're arguing.
  • Use any important keywords in the sentence.
  • Put the most important information first.
  • Include the most salient detail.
  • Be clear, to the point, and brief .
  • If you have a thesis statement at the beginning of your document, focus on the topic sentence's relevance to the thesis.

Topic sentences are important comprehension aids because they're memorable, direct, and give a sense of the entire paragraph at a glance. Because of this, it's hard to overstate the importance of topic sentences for any document where ease of comprehension is key.

Contact Hurley Write, Inc. today to learn more about structuring great informational and persuasive documents.

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