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Topic Sentences 


Making the Question

Part of Your Answer

Purpose of a Topic Sentence

A topic sentence essentially tells readers what the rest of the paragraph is about. All sentences after it have to give more information about that sentence, prove it by offering facts about it, or describe it in more detail. For example, if the topic sentence concerns the types of endangered species that live in the ocean, then every sentence after that needs to expound [elaborate] on endanged animals that live in the ocean (

For the purposes of this page, I'm going to organize topic sentences into three types:

Type One: for a short answer response

Type Two: for a short argumentative/ persuasive essay (ThinkCERCA)

Type Three: for a research paper

Type One: When writing a one-paragraph answer (Short Answer Response) remember to make the question part of your answer.


1. Make the question part of your answer. Use complete sentences.

   Where was Little Red Riding Hood going?


2. Do NOT begin your answer with "yes' or "no".

3. Do NOT use first person.

4. Do NOT use second person.

Type One
MQA anchor chart 2.jpg


1. What is your favorite thing to do?


2. Who is your hero?


3. Why do you like to read?


4. Who is the most important person in your life?


5. What is your favorite subject in school?


6. What is your favorite book to read?


7. What are you going to do this weekend?


8. What do you want to do when you grow up?


Consider these examples"

1. Why is football so important to the Fisher family? 

A. The family wants to support Erik in his passion of football.

B. Football is important to the fisher family because Erik's future revolves around football.

2. Why is Paul concerned that his brother will not be able to laugh off what happened to him during the game?

A. Paul is most likely concerned that his brother will not be able to laugh off what happed to him during the game because if he can't then it might break his will to pursue football altogether.

B. It was a very hard situation to recover from.

Which topic sentences actually answer the questions?

The topic sentence is, of course, just the beginning of your Short-Answer Response. The rest of the paragraph gives examples to support your answer, an explanation/ elaboration of your evidence, and a concluding sentence that sums up your point. We use the acronym TEEC (or APES or TREE).

A second type of topic sentence is a for a multi-paragraph essay.  The introductory paragraph ends with your thesis: Subject, Opinion, Reasons. The reasons are the topic sentences of the body paragraphs.


Thesis: A job interview can often make or break your chances of getting your dream job. There are several things you can do in an interview to increase the possibility of your success such as dressing properly, answering interview questions thoroughly, and asking good questions at the end of the interview.

This is what is called a three-point thesis and each of the points will be come the topic of a body paragraph. The topic sentences of each paragraph might look like this:

Topic Sentence #1: The way you dress can have a big impact an the interview panel's first impression of you.

Topic Sentence #2: An interview is an opportunity for potential employers to get to know you better, so it is important that you answer each question as completely as possible.

Topic Sentence #3: By preparing some thoughtful questions for the end of the interview, you can show the panel that you have prepared for the interview and want the job.

The third topic sentence is for research papers. It's just like the others in that it tells what the paragraph is about, but it's not based on a question and it's not based on a thesis. Instead, it's based on the research outline.

The topic sentence needs to be a broad sentence that tells what the paragraph is going to be about and that expresses what you learned for that paragraph.

Consider this first sentence:

The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker is about seven inches long and has a wingspan of fifteen inches, similar to the size of the common cardinal.

If this was the topic sentence, the paragraph could only be about the size of the bird.

Compare it to this one:

The Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, also known as the Picoides Borealis, has multiple defining characteristics. 

Now we know that the paragraph that will cover the many distinctive characteristics of the bird.



Consider these two:

(A) George Washington had an interesting childhood.

(B) George Washington was born on February 22, 1732.


Which one is a proper topic sentence?

A  or  B

Type Two
Type Three

Wrong :-(



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