Writing a good topic sentence

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The most important point to make here is that of having a strong first sentence which presents the main idea of your paragraph. This sentence is often called your topic sentence.

Example essay title:
“Young people these days spend far too much time watching television, on computers and playing video games. Children should be strictly limited to a maximum of two hours every day in front of a screen.” How far do you agree with this view?

Example paragraph with a topic sentence at the start:
One of the strongest arguments in favour of limiting the amount of time that youngsters spend in front of screens is that children need to be more active in order to have a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that there is an increasing number of overweight children in the developed world and that there is a link between the amount of time spent in front of screens and being overweight. If children were not allowed to be on screens, they would find other ways to entertain themselves, and this would include playing games and sports. Research also shows that active children grow into active adults so restricting screen time for children would have a life long impact on the people concerned.

This is a good topic sentence because it:
1. puts forward an argument
2. it uses some words from the title (which means you are hopefully answering the question!)
3. it tells you what the rest of the sentence is going to be about.
After this sentence you need to support what you have said. That means giving evidence which justifies what you said in your topic sentence. Often this is when you will bring in your sources from your wider reading.
More example paragraphs with topic sentences:

Online learning has its problems. Although student surveys always show students like to have access to materials online, the take up of purely online courses is low. When questioned, students find that studying online can be a lonely and unsatisfying experience. Not only do students miss the human interaction with other students, they also don’t like having to wait for answers to work that they have done.

The biggest benefit of going to university is not what you learn, but the people you meet there. Although the main reason to go to university is to study, many people go into careers and professions unrelated to their degree programme and soon forget the things they learned. However, the relationships that students make will often last a lifetime and friendships made at university can provide useful contacts in professional life.

One of the most important qualities for successful language learning is being confident. Much research has been done into how people learn languages and what type of people learn languages most successfully. It has been shown that people who are confident, who don’t worry about making mistakes and who take risks are the most successful ones. These type of people actually do better in language learning research projects than people who have the highest average marks in class.

Generally speaking, topic sentences are:
• Short
• Simple
• Clear
• Give a strong idea
• Often use phrases such as:
One of the main reasons for …..
One of the major factors in ………… is…………….
Generally speaking, ………
One of the strongest arguments against/ in favour of………is ….
One of the main advantages / disadvantages of ………….is ……

Read a whole example academic essay with an introduction, paragraphing and a conclusion here!