Topic Sentence

When writing an essay answer for OL Literature, you are awarded 4 marks for organization. For the 4 questions, that adds up to 16 marks. Therefore, it is not a negligible aspect of your answer. Let’s breakdown how you can score well for your organization of an answer!

Organization is basically about the structure of you essay. One of the most important parts in that structure is the paragraphs. When writing one, remember that each paragraph should ideally contain one main idea. This main idea should be introduced in the first sentence (or at least the first two) of the paragraph. This is what you call the Topic Sentence. It is like a summary of the whole paragraph.

If your essay contains topic sentences at the beginning of each new point, it will be VERY MUCH EASIER for the examiner to understand your ideas.

So, here are few rules when writing the Topic Sentence

  1. It should appear in the first sentence of the paragraph.
  2. It should be as brief and as clear as possible.
  3. It should summarize the main point of the paragraph.

Ok. Now let’s take a look at some examples and then let us try it out!

Example 1 – The Lumber Room
Imagine that I want to write a paragraph about how the aunt treats the children. About how she takes revenge from Nicholas and seems to enjoy the pain that they go through. I want to talk about how she organizes outings just to psychologically torture the children. So, what should be my TOPIC SENTENCE? It needs to summarize my point and Be brief. Here’s one possibility:
The aunt is portrayed as a vindictive and malicious person. – This sentence captures the main idea I want to express in the para. It is brief and clear.

Now, if the Topic Sentences of my first, second and third paragraphs were as follows, how well organized would you say my essay structure is?

  1. The aunt is portrayed as a vindictive and malicious person.
  2. The aunt uses fear to control the children and expects blind obedience rather than true discipline.
  3. The aunt is not imaginative and tries to suppress the imagination and creativity of the children.

When the examiner reads the first sentences of each main point, (s)he will have a clear understanding of my organization/structure. My points will be crystal clear.

So, when you write essay type answers, remember to write the topic sentence right at the beginning of the paragraph.

Now, try writing a topic sentence for the paragraphs written below.

Paragraph 1 – In this para I want to write about how Nicholas is more powerful in his imagination that the aunt. He is able to see and imagine the story behind he tapestry. He is able to appreciate the beauty of everything in the Lumber room including the artistic teapot which he thinks is much more interesting than the dull one that the aunt uses. The aunt is a ‘woman of few ideas’ and she lacks creativity and tries to suppress the creativity of the children. Even when she plans outings for the children, she does not have much imagination.
Now try taking the above information and write an appropriate Topic Sentence for it!

If you need more help with Topic Sentences, visit this site which is quite resourceful –

One comment

  1. […] The topic sentence is usually placed at the beginning of a new paragraph. It gives the main point your trying to make in the paragraph clearly and briefly. In a really good answer, if the examiner reads the first sentences of each paragraph, the examiner will be able to know the flow of the argument. The writing will be so clear and easy to read. No confusions.Here’s an in-depth understanding/training on Topic Sentences! […]


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