Topic Sentences and Thesis Statements: How do they differ?

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For many writers, topic sentences are transition tools that help their readers to transition smoothly between paragraphs. These sentences state the primary ideas paragraphs carry. They are like another form of “mini theses” that give readers a direction regarding where you are taking them. At times, this similarity in roles makes it possible for some inexperienced writers to confuse the functions of these elements. However, many clear differences exist between topic sentences and thesis statements. That is why our writing help discussion will show you these differences. So, remain with this post up to the end to learn more.

Thesis statements play different roles

Ideally, thesis statements are primary or controlling ideas that show your stand on the topic you are discussing. They set the stage ready to announce specific and narrowed perspective on a topic. Additionally, these statements appear once at the end of opening paragraphs for a shorter paper or at the end of the second or third paragraphs if your papers have longer introductory chapters. However, it is necessary to note that your thesis statement only appears once in the paper while it is necessary to have a topic sentence for each paragraph as you progress with the defense of your essay. Lastly, these statements set the general scope of writing projects and they point your readers to what lies ahead in your paper’s discussions.

Topic Sentences

We have already looked at the essence, meaning, as well as the primary functions of these statements in your writing assignments. As this section unfolds, we shall shift our attention to the details of topic sentences because they are the primary elements of our discussion.

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  • The positioning of topic sentences

Unlike thesis statements, topic sentences appear at the start of your paper’s paragraphs so that they can point the readers to what you intend to discuss. However, we have a few cases of exception where you may need to incorporate them after the first sentences. For example, if your paragraphs’ introductions require some background information, you may not use the topic sentences at the start of such paragraphs.

  • Creating connections to the thesis statements

Another feature of topic sentences is that they use keywords and phrases in thesis statements to tell the reader those parts of the thesis statements the paragraphs will discuss.

  • Creating links to preceding paragraphs

Unlike thesis statements whose primary goal is to point readers to what is coming, topic sentences serve two purposes. They connect the reader to preceding paragraphs while guiding them to what you intend to discuss in the current paragraphs.

  • They create a progressive flow of thoughts

Topic sentences help in the systematic flow of your assignments. Unlike thesis statements, these sentences use transitory words such as “moreover, similarly, in addition, first, and lastly.”

  • They play supportive a role

Another feature that differentiates hypotheses and topic sentences is that these sentences are supportive tools that uphold the validity of your thesis statements. However, the supportive role they play does not mean they are less important because without them, your audience will not see your thesis statements’ validity since it will be wanting due to lack of evidence to support your hypotheses. The symbiotic relationship that connects these two elements is similar to the one that exists between the egg and chicken. But without thesis statements, there is no need for the very existence of topic sentences. Inversely, thesis statement can exist without a topic sentence even though they will remain barren statements without proof and life.

  • They are general in nature

In addition, topic sentences are general in nature. They are general declarations that are followed by other sentences that give more information on the initial declaration. On the other hand, thesis statements are narrowed elements that need the support of similar arguments to prove their validity. Moreover, they stand on the validity of proof and evidence while topic statements require additional materials to serve their purpose.

  • They serve an organizational purpose

The last main difference between thesis statements and topic sentences is that they serve as organizational tools. They help you to organize your ideas so that your readers can understand your message better. On the other hand, thesis statements serve as overall roadmaps that require intensive debate to defend their validity.

Even though thesis statements share a few similarities, we still have many significant differences that separate them. For instance, these two components are different in their essence and function. In addition, the positioning of topic sentences differs with the thesis statements appearing at the end of your introductions while your topic statements appear at the beginnings of each of your paragraphs. Knowing the fundamental differences in the nature and function of these two elements will help you to know how you can use them appropriately.
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