Topic sentences and signposts make an essay's claims clear to a reader. Good essays contain both.  Topic sentences   reveal the main point of a paragraph. They show the relationship of each paragraph to the essay's thesis, telegraph the point of a paragraph, and tell your reader what to expect in the paragraph that follows. Topic sentences also establish their relevance right away, making clear why the points they're making are important to the essay's main ideas. They argue rather than report.  Signposts , as their name suggests, prepare the reader for a change in the argument's direction. They show how far the essay's argument has progressed vis-ˆ-vis the claims of the thesis. 

Topic sentences and signposts occupy a middle ground in the writing process. They are neither the first thing a writer needs to address (thesis and the broad strokes of an essay's structure are); nor are they the last (that's when you attend to sentence-level editing and polishing). Topic sentences and signposts deliver an essay's structure and meaning to a reader, so they are useful diagnostic tools to the writer—they let you know if your thesis is arguable—and essential guides to the reader

Forms of Topic Sentences

 Sometimes topic sentences are actually two or even three sentences long. If the first makes a claim, the second might reflect on that claim, explaining it further. Think of these sentences as asking and answering two critical questions: How does the phenomenon you're discussing operate? Why does it operate as it does?

There's no set formula for writing a topic sentence. Rather, you should work to vary the form your topic sentences take. Repeated too often, any method grows wearisome. Here are a few approaches.

Complex sentences.   Topic sentences at the beginning of a paragraph frequently combine with a transition from the previous paragraph. This might be done by writing a sentence that contains both subordinate and independent clauses, as in the example below.

 Although  Young Woman with a Water Pitcher  depicts an unknown, middle-class woman at an ordinary task, the image is more than "realistic"; the painter [Vermeer] has imposed his own order upon it to strengthen it. 

This sentence employs a useful principle of transitions: always move from old to new information.  The subordinate clause (from "although" to "task") recaps information from previous paragraphs; the independent clauses (starting with "the image" and "the painter") introduce the new information—a claim about how the image works ("more than Ôrealistic'") and why it works as it does (Vermeer "strengthens" the image by "imposing order"). 

Questions.   Questions, sometimes in pairs, also make good topic sentences (and signposts).  Consider the following: "Does the promise of stability justify this unchanging hierarchy?" We may fairly assume that the paragraph or section that follows will answer the question. Questions are by definition a form of inquiry, and thus demand an answer. Good essays strive for this forward momentum.

Bridge sentences.   Like questions, "bridge sentences" (the term is John Trimble's) make an excellent substitute for more formal topic sentences. Bridge sentences indicate both what came before and what comes next (they "bridge" paragraphs) without the formal trappings of multiple clauses: "But there is a clue to this puzzle." 

Pivots.   Topic sentences don't always appear at the beginning of a paragraph. When they come in the middle, they indicate that the paragraph will change direction, or "pivot." This strategy is particularly useful for dealing with counter-evidence: a paragraph starts out conceding a point or stating a fact ("Psychologist Sharon Hymer uses the term Ônarcissistic friendship' to describe the early stage of a friendship like the one between Celie and Shug"); after following up on this initial statement with evidence, it then reverses direction and establishes a claim ("Yet ... this narcissistic stage of Celie and Shug's relationship is merely a transitory one. Hymer herself concedes . . . "). The pivot always needs a signal, a word like "but," "yet," or "however," or a longer phrase or sentence that indicates an about-face. It often needs more than one sentence to make its point.

Signposts operate as topic sentences for whole sections in an essay. (In longer essays, sections often contain more than a single paragraph.) They inform a reader that the essay is taking a turn in its argument: delving into a related topic such as a counter-argument, stepping up its claims with a complication, or pausing to give essential historical or scholarly background. Because they reveal the architecture of the essay itself, signposts remind readers of what the essay's stakes are: what it's about, and why it's being written. 

Signposting can be accomplished in a sentence or two at the beginning of a paragraph or in whole paragraphs that serve as transitions between one part of the argument and the next. The following example comes from an essay examining how a painting by Monet,  The Gare Saint-Lazare: Arrival of a Train,  challenges Zola's declarations about Impressionist art. The student writer wonders whether Monet's Impressionism is really as devoted to avoiding "ideas" in favor of direct sense impressions as Zola's claims would seem to suggest. This is the start of the essay's third section:

It is evident in this painting that Monet found his Gare Saint-Lazare motif fascinating at the most fundamental level of the play of light as well as the loftiest level of social relevance.  Arrival of a Train  explores both extremes of expression. At the fundamental extreme, Monet satisfies the Impressionist objective of capturing the full-spectrum effects of light on a scene.

 The writer signposts this section in the first sentence, reminding readers of the stakes of the essay itself with the simultaneous references to sense impression ("play of light") and intellectual content ("social relevance"). The second sentence follows up on this idea, while the third serves as a topic sentence for the paragraph. The paragraph after that starts off with a topic sentence about the "cultural message" of the painting, something that the signposting sentence predicts by not only reminding readers of the essay's stakes but also, and quite clearly, indicating what the section itself will contain. 

Copyright 2000, Elizabeth Abrams, for the Writing Center at Harvard University

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How to Write a Strong Topic Sentence + Examples

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What’s Covered:

  • What Is a Topic Sentence?
  • 5 Steps to Writing a Good Topic Sentence

Elements of a Good Topic Sentence

Common pitfalls to avoid.

  • Where To Get Your Essay Edited For Free

Crafting the perfect essay takes time and dedication. There are so many elements you have to worry about, such as tone, purpose, and correct spelling and grammar. Writing a strong topic sentences is another critical part in writing a cohesive essay. 

Without a strong topic sentence, you risk losing your reader and perhaps part of your grade. If it’s a college admissions essay, then you need it to be as strong as possible to back up your application. Learn about what steps you should take to write a strong topic sentence.

What Is a Topic Sentence? 

People often confuse a topic sentence with a thesis statement. A thesis statement is typically at the end of your opening paragraph, that dictates the main argument you’ll be making in your essay. 

Throughout your essay, you’ll have multiple topic sentences, as each paragraph should start off with one. This beginning sentence is used to direct the topic of the paragraph and outline the flow of the following sentences. It’s used to help guide your reader and to continue to keep them hooked on your overall essay. Without topic sentences, your essay will be unorganized, lack transitions, and sound very choppy. To write a good topic sentence, there are several steps to take.

Writing a Good Topic Sentence: 5 Steps

Step 1: decide what you’re going to write about..

When you see the essay prompt, you’ll have some time to think through what you want to say and why. You have to decide if it’s a persuasive essay, informative, narrative, or descriptive. Determine your purpose for writing the essay after reading through the prompt. Whether it’s an assignment for school or if it’s to get into college, you need to make sure you have that purpose clearly outlined. 

Step 2: Create a thesis statement.

One of the first things you need to do is create a thesis statement. This is typically a sentence with three points that you’ll back up throughout your essay. 

For example: The Office became a cultural phenomenon because it spurred the careers of many of today’s successful movie stars, it talked about situations that most American workers can relate to, and even 15 years later, offers funny, relevant content that helps to break down prejudices. 

You then use that thesis statement to create an essay around the points you want to make. 

Step 3: Make your essay outline.

Once you have the points you want to make within your thesis statement hammered out, make an outline for your essay. This is where you’ll start to create your topic sentence for each paragraph. You want to clearly state the main idea of that paragraph in the very first sentence. From there, you back up that main idea with facts and reputable sources. Make sure your topic sentence is clear, but does not just announce your topic. 

For example, do not write something like: “In this paragraph, I will discuss why it’s bad that poachers are killing giraffes.”

Instead, write something that clearly states your idea with a reasonable opinion and that gives direction to the paragraph: “Giraffes are a key part of the African ecosystem, so it’s important to enforce regulations against the poachers who are killing them for their body parts.” 

You’d then follow that up with reasons why giraffes are a key part of the African ecosystem and how poachers are destroying their population.

Step 4: Begin writing your essay.

Once you have your thesis statement and you’ve created an outline with supporting paragraphs and their topic sentences, you can begin writing your essay. It’s important to make that outline before just jumping in–a disorganized essay can spell disaster for you as you continue to write, and could result in a poor grade. Many times, teachers will even require you to turn in your outline as part of your overall essay grade. 

Step 5: Proofread and check your resources.

After you’ve written the essay, go back through it with a fine tooth comb. Read through each topic sentence and the paragraphs that follow to ensure that you’ve written clear, solid topic sentences throughout and that the paragraphs with them make sense. During the proofreading phase, you also need to recheck the sources you’re using. Make sure each source is reputable. In other words, do not use sites like Wikipedia where anyone can go in and edit an article to add misinformation. Use sites that:

  • Are actual reputable news sources, such as the New York Times , CNN, CBS News
  • Have domain names that end in .edu or .gov
  • Come from an encyclopedia, such as Encyclopedia Britannica

Using sites that are not reputable could jeopardize the validity of your argument. 

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Now that you know the steps to set yourself up for success when writing a topic sentence, there are certain elements that go into a quality first sentence. Always make sure that your topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph. You don’t want to make your reader hunt for the point you’re trying to make. Check out some key elements of a good topic sentence:

Make sure your topic sentence isn’t too vague.

You need a topic sentence that has some specifics to it. It also needs to hook in your reader in some way with an opinion. A vague sentence makes it harder to write a paragraph that can clearly backs up your thoughts. For example:

DON’T: “In Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley seems like a nice guy.”

DO: “When Mr. Bingley is first introduced, he comes across as a kind person because he speaks to everyone and doesn’t immediately pass judgment.”

Choose a reasonable opinion.

Your topic sentence should clearly outline whatever point you’re trying to make in the paragraph, but you want to pick a reasonable opinion that you can easily reinforce with facts and statistics. Here’s an example of what you should and should not do:

DON’T: “It’s obvious that Mr. Bingley was a total loser with no backbone.”

DO: “Mr. Bingley could have shown more confidence in his choices and stood up to Mr. Darcy when he found himself in love with Jane Bennet.”

You can then back that up with facts, saying that he was a wealthy Englishman and thus one of the key players in society at the time, which should have given him more confidence. If he’d been more confident, perhaps he would not have left and devastated Jane.

Use your topic sentence as a transition.

Along with telling the reader the point of your next paragraph, your topic sentence should also serve as a transition from the previous paragraph. Without a transition, the essay can feel like it’s choppy and disjointed. For example:

DON’T: “Mr. Bingley is a good man and here’s why.”

DO: “Although Mr. Bingley did break Jane’s heart by leaving, he ended up redeeming himself by returning to Netherfield Hall.”

Keep your topic sentence short.

A long, drawn-out topic sentence can risk losing your reader. Many times, it’s hard to determine the point of a sentence when it goes on for too long. You want a clear, concise sentence that draws in the reader but also leaves some room for you to expand on it in the following paragraph.

DON’T: “Throughout the novel of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Bingley was often quite different from Mr. Darcy as he would treat all people in a friendly manner, considering them all his friends and acquaintances, even agreeing to throw a ball after Elizabeth’s sisters rudely demanded he do so and was gracious to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet as well despite their manners.”

DO: “Overall, Mr. Bingley served as a foil to Mr. Darcy throughout the story by treating everyone around him equally with dignity and grace.”

Writing an essay can be overwhelming at times, but so long as you avoid some of these common pitfalls, it can be easier to get it done on time. 

Don’t wait until the last minute.

If your teacher assigns you an essay or tells you that you have an essay test coming up, don’t wait until the day before to do anything about it. You have to plan or study and you need to give yourself time to do that. If you know it takes you a while to write something, then start planning it as soon as you get the assignment.

Don’t forget to write an outline.

Along with planning, make sure you have that outline written up and planned out well. It will serve as your guideline for writing the essay. Without it, you’ll face the risk of a disorganized essay that does not clearly illustrate your point.

Ask for help if you need it.

This may be the most important pitfall to avoid. If you get in over your head while writing, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask a friend to review the essay or ask your teacher for guidance. 

Where to Get Your Essay Edited for Free

Once you’ve finished your essay, you may want additional input. There are tools out there to help, but CollegeVine’s free peer essay review tool can provide you with actionable feedback from students just like you. CollegeVine’s tool has helped many students and may be able to help you, too! Asking for peer feedback can help to refine your essay and it never hurts to have an extra set of eyes read through what you’ve written. Check out the free tool today!

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Paragraphs: Topic Sentences

Topic sentences video playlist.

Note that these videos were created while APA 6 was the style guide edition in use. There may be some examples of writing that have not been updated to APA 7 guidelines.

  • Academic Paragraphs: Introduction to Paragraphs and the MEAL Plan (video transcript)
  • Academic Paragraphs: Examples of the MEAL Plan (video transcript)

The best way to understand the role of the topic sentence in paragraph development is to imagine that any given paragraph is a miniature essay that has its own thesis, support, and conclusion. The parts of a paragraph easily correspond to the parts of an essay:

Just as an effective essay starts off with an introduction that presents the paper's thesis statement and indicates the specific claim or argument that the essay will develop, each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that indicates the focus of that paragraph, alerting the reader to the particular subtopic that the paragraph will provide evidence to support.

A strong topic sentence should be placed at or near the beginning of a paragraph. In addition, this sentence should focus on a specific issue, avoid the use of direct quotations, and leave room for support and analysis within the body of the paragraph. Read on to learn more about creating an effective topic sentence.

The topic sentence does not have to be the first sentence in the paragraph; however, it should come early in the paragraph in order to orient the reader to the paragraph's focus right away. Occasionally a writer may place a transition sentence before the topic sentence, to create continuity between topics.

Topic Sentence to begin paragraph:

In the novel Sula , Morrison uses the physical bonds of female friendship to propel her characters into self-awareness.

Transition Sentence + Topic Sentence to begin paragraph:

However, Morrison does not only use the emotional and spiritual bonds between her female characters to initiate their coming-of-age. In addition, the author uses the physical bonds of female friendship to propel her adolescent protagonists into self-awareness.

Specificity

Your topic sentence should be more narrowly focused than your thesis sentence, and you will want to make sure the claim you are making can be supported, argued, and analyzed within the body of your paragraph.

Example: In the novel Sula , Morrison uses the physical bonds of female friendship to propel her characters into self-awareness.

In this topic sentence, the essayist is arguing that physical bonds of friendship, specifically, make the female characters more self-aware. Because this idea can be refuted or supported by readers (based on how successfully the essayist persuades his or her readers with examples and analysis from the novel), and because the claim is narrow enough to address within a single paragraph, the above sentence is a successful topic sentence.

Direct Quotations (Are Best Avoided)

Although it might be tempting to begin a paragraph with a compelling quotation, as a general rule, topic sentences should state the main idea of the paragraph in your own words. Direct quotations have a place later in the paragraph, where they may be incorporated to support the topic sentence.

Needs Improvement: As Morrison (1982) conveyed, the girls' "friendship let them use each other to grow on…they found in each other's eyes the intimacy they were looking for" (p. 52).
Better: In the novel Sula , Morrison uses the physical bonds of female friendship to propel her characters into self-awareness. Pointing to the connection of eyes meeting and bodies growing together, Morrison makes coming-of-age an interactive physical process between the adolescent protagonists. Specifically, Morrison describes how Sula and Nel have used "each other to grow on…they found in each other's eyes the intimacy they were looking for" (p. 52).

In this second paragraph, the topic sentence appears first, immediately orienting readers to the main focus (or topic) of the paragraph. The quotation is used later in the paragraph as a form of evidence or support for the topic sentence.

If you are finding it challenging to create effective topic sentences, you might consider outlining before beginning to write a paper. The points and subpoints of an outline can then become the topic sentences for the paper's paragraphs.

Additionally, because the topic sentence functions similarly at the paragraph level to the thesis at the essay level, you may also find it helpful to check out our thesis statement construction information. Our resource on paragraphs has helpful information about the scope of a paragraph, as well.

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Using Topic Sentences

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What is a topic sentence?

A topic sentence states the main point of a paragraph: it serves as a mini-thesis for the paragraph. You might think of it as a signpost for your readers—or a headline—something that alerts them to the most important, interpretive points in your essay. When read in sequence, your essay’s topic sentences will provide a sketch of the essay’s argument. Thus topics sentences help protect your readers from confusion by guiding them through the argument. But topic sentences can also help you to improve your essay by making it easier for you to recognize gaps or weaknesses in your argument.

Where do topic sentences go?

Topic sentences usually appear at the very beginning of paragraphs. In the following example from Anatomy of Criticism , Northrop Frye establishes the figure of the tragic hero as someone more than human, but less than divine. He backs up his claim with examples of characters from literature, religion and mythology whose tragic stature is a function of their ability to mediate between their fellow human beings and a power that transcends the merely human:

The tragic hero is typically on top of the wheel of fortune, half-way between human society on the ground and the something greater in the sky. Prometheus, Adam, and Christ hang between heaven and earth, between a world of paradisal freedom and a world of bondage. Tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they seem the inevitable conductors of the power about them, great trees more likely to be struck by lightning than a clump of grass. Conductors may of course be instruments as well as victims of the divine lightning: Milton’s Samson destroys the Philistine temple with himself, and Hamlet nearly exterminates the Danish court in his own fall.

The structure of Frye’s paragraph is simple yet powerful: the topic sentence makes an abstract point, and the rest of the paragraph elaborates on that point using concrete examples as evidence.

Does a topic sentence have to be at the beginning of a paragraph?

No, though this is usually the most logical place for it. Sometimes a transitional sentence or two will come before a topic sentence:

We found in comedy that the term bomolochos or buffoon need not be restricted to farce, but could be extended to cover comic characters who are primarily entertainers, with the function of increasing or focusing the comic mood. The corresponding contrasting type is the suppliant, the character, often female, who presents a picture of unmitigated helplessness and destitution. Such a figure is pathetic, and pathos, though it seems a gentler and more relaxed mood than tragedy, is even more terrifying. Its basis is the exclusion of an individual from the group; hence it attacks the deepest fear in ourselves that we possess—a fear much deeper than the relatively cosy and sociable bogey of hell. In the suppliant pity and terror are brought to the highest possible pitch of intensity, and the awful consequences of rejecting the suppliant for all concerned is a central theme of Greek tragedy.

The context for this passage is an extended discussion of the characteristics of tragedy. In this paragraph, Frye begins by drawing a parallel between the figure of the buffoon in comedy and that of the suppliant in tragedy. His discussion of the buffoon occurred in a earlier section of the chapter, a section devoted to comedy. The first sentence of the current paragraph is transitional: it prepares the way for the topic sentence. The delayed topic sentence contributes to the coherence of Frye’s discussion by drawing an explicit connection between key ideas in the book. In essays, the connection is usually between the last paragraph and the current one.

Sometimes writers save a topic sentence for the end of a paragraph. You may, for example, occasionally find that giving away your point at the beginning of a paragraph does not allow you to build your argument toward an effective climax.

How do I come up with a topic sentence? And what makes a good one?

Ask yourself what’s going on in your paragraph. Why have you chosen to include the information you have? Why is the paragraph important in the context of your argument? What point are you trying to make?

Relating your topic sentences to your thesis can help strengthen the coherence of your essay. If you include a thesis statement in your introduction, then think of incorporating a keyword from that statement into the topic sentence. But you need not be overly explicit when you echo the thesis statement. Better to be subtle rather than heavy-handed. Do not forget that your topic sentence should do more than just establish a connection between your paragraph and your thesis. Use a topic sentence to show how your paragraph contributes to the development of your argument by moving it that one extra step forward. If your topic sentence merely restates your thesis, then either your paragraph is redundant or your topic sentence needs to be reformulated. If several of your topic sentences restate your thesis, even if they do so in different words, then your essay is probably repetitive.

Does every paragraph need one?

No, but most do. Sometimes a paragraph helps to develop the same point as in the previous paragraph, and so a new topic sentence would be redundant. And sometimes the evidence in your paragraph makes your point so effectively that your topic sentence can remain implicit. But if you are in doubt, it’s best to use one.

Writing Topic Sentences — Purpose, Structure, and Examples

Daniel Bal

What is a topic sentence?

A topic sentence in academic writing identifies how a body paragraph relates to the overall purpose of an essay stated in the thesis statement . Topic sentences are usually at the beginning of a paragraph and identify the paragraph’s controlling idea.

While an essay’s thesis statement identifies the point of the essay in its entirety, the topic sentence has a much narrower focus, as it relates only to the paragraph in which it is located.

Topic sentence vs. thesis statement

What is the purpose of a topic sentence?

The purpose of a topic sentence is to inform the reader of the main idea of the paragraph and how it connects to the overall objective of the essay. An effective topic sentence accomplishes one or more of the following:

Makes a claim

Supports other claims made in the paper

Identifies the purpose of the rest of the paragraph

Relates the paragraph to the purpose of the paper

Precedes information that defends a claim

Purposes of a topic sentence

How to write a topic sentence

To write a topic sentence, incorporate the following guidelines:

Determine the thesis of the essay.

Identify the main supports that help prove the thesis.

Use each main support to structure a topic sentence for each paragraph.

Compose a sentence that answers the following questions:

What will the paragraph prove?

How does the paragraph connect to the thesis?

How to write a topic sentence

Where is the topic sentence in a paragraph?

Topic sentences can be placed at the beginning or end of a paragraph.

Although it does not need to be the first sentence, the topic sentence should be placed at the beginning of the paragraph so the reader can quickly identify the purpose of the paragraph.

While not a common placement for a topic sentence, some writers use topic sentences at the end of a paragraph. Writers who choose this method want the reader to deduce the main point of the paragraph by presenting the evidence first.

Topic sentence examples

The following list identifies topic sentences based on the provided thesis statements for five-paragraph essays:

Thesis Statement: Capital punishment should be banned because it is inhumane, unconstitutional, and ineffective at deterring crime.

Support Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence: The inhumane nature of the death penalty proves it should be abolished.

Support Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence: Capital punishment should be outlawed because it violates the Constitution.

Support Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence: Because the death penalty does not effectively deter criminal behavior, states should not continue to use it.

Thesis Statement: College athletes should be financially compensated because they sacrifice their minds and bodies, cannot hold an outside job, and increase the school’s revenue.

Support Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence: Student athletes should be paid for their performance because of sports’ impact on their minds and bodies.

Support Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence: Because most college athletes cannot play their sport and hold a job, colleges should give them a living wage.

Support Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence: Student-athletes’ ability to increase their college’s revenue proves they should be awarded financial compensation.

Example topic sentences

Thesis Statement: Using alternative energy sources can help lessen the impact of global climate change.

Support Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence: Through the widespread use of solar power, countries can limit the environmental impact of other energy sources.

Support Paragraph 2 Topic Sentence: Utilizing more wind turbines as a power source can help mitigate the effects of climate change.

Support Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence: Using geothermal power will effectively decrease the world's reliance on fossil fuels.

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How to Write a Good Topic Sentence

Last Updated: March 7, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 2,248,581 times.

Perfecting the skill of writing topic sentences is essential to successful writing. A topic sentence usually comes at the beginning of a paragraph and lets your reader know what to expect from each paragraph. Think of it as the preview for a movie or a headline in a newspaper, highlighting the “main point” that’s to come in that paragraph. [1] X Research source Make sure your topic sentences are up to par, and the rest of your writing will feel like a breeze.

Writing a Successful Topic Sentence

Step 1 State your main idea clearly.

  • Keep in mind that this is not an invitation to simply announce your topic. “Today I’m going to discuss the benefits of gardening” is not an effective topic sentence. You should be able to make your intentions clear without stating them explicitly.
  • The topic sentence in this example states a clear direction (“health benefits of gardening”) that you can then elaborate on in your paragraph.

Step 2 Balance the topic sentence between specifics and general ideas.

  • Don’t write too vague or general an idea or you will never be able to discuss it in a single paragraph. This is too general: “The United States suffered a lot during the Civil War.”
  • Don’t write too narrow of a statement. There’s nothing much to talk about then, because it’s probably a fact. This is too narrow: “Christmas trees are either cedars or firs."
  • Instead, aim for a good balance: “Sherman’s destruction in the South during the Civil War also caused incredible suffering.” This is big enough to relate to the broader idea of an essay, but not so narrow that there’s nothing left to discuss.

Step 3 Hook your reader.

  • Describe a character. This can be a physical or emotional description.
  • Use dialogue. If there is a relevant conversation that will attract your reader’s attention, consider using part of it to start your paragraph.
  • Portray an emotion. Use the opening sentence to portray an emotion to your reader.
  • Use detail. While you don’t want to write a run on sentence by creating too much detail, it’s a good idea to create interest using sensory language in your topic sentence.
  • Avoid rhetorical questions. While you want your reader to formulate questions in his or her mind, you do not want to formulate the questions yourself.

Step 4 Keep it short and sweet.

  • Avoid presenting only facts in your topic sentence. While facts may be interesting, they do not introduce the reader to your paragraph nor do they draw the reader in. If you wish to include a fact, also include your own input. For example, instead of writing “All dogs need food,” try “All dogs need regular care, including healthy food, and children are the best ones to do it.” Alternatively, save your facts to use as evidence in the body of your paragraph.

Step 6 Use the topic sentence as a transition.

  • Using transitional elements, such as “In addition” or “In contrast,” is a good way to show the relationship between your ideas.
  • For example: “Although gardening has many health benefits, people still need to exercise caution when outside.” This topic sentence establishes a connection to the main idea of the previous paragraph (“health benefits of gardening”) and points to the direction of the new paragraph (“things to be cautious of”).

Planning Your Topic Sentences

Step 1  Write an...

  • You don’t have to write a formal outline using Roman numerals and the like. Even a loose, idea-based outline can help you know what you want to discuss.

Step 2 Understand the connection...

  • A topic sentence, unlike a thesis statement, doesn’t have to present an argument. It can present a “preview” of what the paragraph will argue or discuss.

Step 3 Look at some examples.

  • For example, a topic sentence could look like this: “In addition, increasing funding for public roads in Jackson County will improve local residents’ quality of life.” The rest of the sentences in this paragraph would relate to the main idea of public roads and how they will help benefit local residents.
  • This is not as successful a topic sentence: “Increased funding for public roads in Jackson County has decreased traffic by 20%.” While this is probably an interesting fact for your argument, it’s too narrow for a topic sentence. The topic sentence has to direct the whole paragraph.

Avoiding Common Problems

Step 1 Avoid introducing yourself.

  • Unless it is an opinion piece, avoid using ‘I’ in your topic sentences.

Step 2 Make sure your wording is clear.

  • Rather than stating something like “In the story, Amelia did many good things such as help out her friends, talk to her parents, and support her team at school” say something like “As a result of the many activities Amelia participated in, she was recognized for her positive influence on the community.”

Step 4 Avoid starting with a quote.

Sample Topic Sentences

good topic sentences examples for essays

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Avoid using words like you or we because it implies you know the reader, which you don’t. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • In formal writing, avoid contractions such as “don’t,” “can’t,” and “isn’t.” Also avoid other common contractions like “would’ve” and “could’ve” which are commonly used. Instead type them out to look like “do not,” “can not”, “is not”, “would have”, and “could have.” Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Type out all numbers under a ten. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

good topic sentences examples for essays

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Improve Your Writing Skills

  • ↑ http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/topic-sentences
  • ↑ https://wts.indiana.edu/writing-guides/paragraphs-and-topic-sentences.html
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/paragraphs_and_paragraphing/index.html
  • ↑ https://stlcc.edu/student-support/academic-success-and-tutoring/writing-center/writing-resources/topic-sentence-paragraph.aspx
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/paragraphs/topicsentences
  • ↑ https://www.rit.edu/ntid/sea/processes/paragraph/process/sentence
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
  • ↑ https://www.touro.edu/departments/writing-center/tutorials/topic-sentence/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/engagement/2/2/57/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/paragraphs/

About This Article

Megan Morgan, PhD

If you’re trying to write a good topic sentence, start by clearly stating your main idea, which should include the topic and the position you’re taking on it. Aim to write a sentence that’s broad enough for discussion but narrow enough to be covered in a single paragraph. If you can, start with a hook, like a detail, character, or emotion that would draw in your readers. For more advice from our reviewer on writing a good topic sentence, like how to make it effective while keeping it short and sweet, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How To Write An Essay

Topic Sentence

Barbara P

Learn How to Write a Topic Sentence that Stands Out

Published on: Jan 13, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

topic sentence

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As a student, you have probably heard the term "topic sentence" thrown around a lot in your English or writing classes. But do you really understand what it means and how important it is for effective writing?

Well, many students struggle with crafting strong topic sentences that effectively convey their ideas. They may find themselves unsure of how to make their topic sentence stand out in a sea of other ideas.

In this blog, we will explore the art of writing a great topic sentence, with examples and tips to help you enhance your skills. By the end of this blog, you will have a better understanding of how to craft a topic sentence that will make your writing clear, concise, and engaging.

So let’s get started!

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What is a Topic Sentence?

A topic sentence is the first sentence of a paragraph in an essay that introduces the main idea or topic of that paragraph. It serves as a roadmap for the reader, letting them know what to expect in the upcoming paragraph. 

Purpose of Topic Sentence

The purpose of a topic sentence is to clearly and concisely convey the main point of the paragraph to the reader. 

It helps to guide the reader through the essay, making it easier for them to follow the overall argument or narrative.

Features of a Good Topic Sentence

A good topic sentence has a few key features. Let’s take a look: 

  • Expresses the main idea of the paragraph or essay clearly and concisely.
  • Is specific and focused , avoiding vague or overly general statements.
  • Introduces the main point and is typically located at the beginning of the paragraph or essay.
  • Presents a claim or position that is arguable or debatable, which the rest of the paragraph or essay will support.
  • Can be a complete sentence or a concise phrase that effectively conveys the main idea.
  • Is relevant to the thesis statement and overall topic of the essay.
  • Engages the reader by creating interest and highlighting the significance of the topic.
  • Is well-written and avoids grammar and spelling errors.
  • Provides a roadmap for the rest of the paragraph or essay by indicating what will be covered.
  • Encourages coherence and unity in the writing by linking the paragraph or essay to the broader topic.

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Types of Topic Sentences

There are several different types of topic sentences that can be used in writing to introduce the reader through a paragraph or essay.

Simple Statement Topic Sentence This is the most common type of topic sentence, which straightforwardly states the main point or idea of the paragraph or essay.

Example: The rise of social media has revolutionized the way people communicate with each other.

Complex Topic Sentence This type of topic sentence is more nuanced and may require some explanation or elaboration to fully understand.

Example: While the rise of social media has had many positive effects on communication, it has also led to concerns about privacy and online harassment.

Pivot Topic Sentence A pivot topic sentence begins by connecting the current paragraph or idea to the previous one, before pivoting to introduce a new point or idea.

Example: Building on the idea of social media's impact on communication, it is important to consider how it has also affected business and marketing strategies.

Question Topic Sentence A question topic sentence poses a question that the rest of the paragraph or essay will answer or explore.

Example: How has social media changed the way businesses interact with customers and advertise their products?

Command Topic Sentence This type of topic sentence gives a directive or instruction, often used in persuasive or argumentative essays.

Example: Support local businesses by shopping at independently owned stores instead of large chains.

How to Write a Topic Sentence?

Here are a few instructions to help you write a good topic sentence. 

Step#1 Clearly State The Main Idea

A topic sentence is the first paragraph of the paragraph. It must clearly explain the particular subject that would be discussed in the paragraph. This should be stated in very clear language so that the reader can easily understand the idea. 

Also, it should include a bit of your personal opinion and also the main idea. 

Step#2 Hook Your Reader

Grab your reader's attention with an intriguing topic sentence. It would excite and make the reader curious about the content and convince them to read the particular part. 

Look out for some amazing hook examples and see what fits your essay type. 

Use a meaningful and relevant question or a fact as a topic sentence of the paragraph. Make sure that you have identified your audience and are developing everything accordingly. 

Step#3 Keep It Short and Precise

The paragraph topic sentence must be expressive enough that a reader understands your point of view effortlessly. This is only possible if you keep everything to the point, short, and meaningful. 

Choose the words in such a way that they help you express your idea in an ideal way. Avoid using complex sentences and use independent clauses.  

A topic sentence acts as a link between a paragraph and the main thesis statement. It should be specific and connected to the overall essay. Keeping it short and precise helps maintain the paragraph's flow and its relevance to the rest of the writing.

Step#4 Give A Reasonable Opinion

The body paragraph explains a topic sentence. This is why it is important that you should write this sentence in such a way that it can be explained in the paragraph.  If you are mentioning a fact in the topic statement, make sure that you have authentic evidence to support it. 

While the topic sentence is an integral part of the paragraph, it should stand out and possess a distinctiveness that sets it apart from the other sentences. This can be achieved by employing transition words and establishing connections between sentences.

Step#5 Use The Topic Sentence As A Transition

The topic sentences that serve as transition sentences can be considered a guide for the readers. This way, they can help the reader to move through the essay in a flow. 

Write this sentence in such a way that it creates a gateway between the previous paragraph and the rest of the essay. Moreover, it will also help keep the essay organized, and the reader understands the point of a paragraph.

Step#6 Look For Some Good Examples

Examples can help you learn a thing in a better way. If you are new to writing topic sentences, it can help to look at some examples. Find some great examples of topic sentences relevant to your essay topic.

Difference Between Topic Sentence and Thesis Sentence

Here's a table outlining the differences between a topic sentence and a thesis statement:

Good Topic Sentence Examples

Here are ten examples of good topic sentences:

  •  "Despite the advancements in technology, traditional forms of communication are still essential in today's society."
  • "The theme of power is prevalent throughout Shakespeare's play, Macbeth."
  • "In recent years, there has been a growing concern over the impact of climate change on our planet."
  • "The legalization of marijuana has been a topic of debate for many years." "Education is the key to success in life."
  • "The rise of social media has greatly impacted the way we communicate with one another."
  • "The effects of childhood trauma can have a lasting impact on mental health."
  • "The concept of justice is explored in depth in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird."
  • "Eating a balanced diet is crucial for maintaining good health."
  • "The Industrial Revolution had a profound effect on the world as we know it today."

The Bottom Line!

An opening sentence is crucial to grab your reader's attention and set the tone for your piece of writing. The topic sentence introduces the controlling idea and acts as an important sentence in the essay outline. 

Effective topic sentences are necessary for a well-structured and organized essay. It's an integral part of the writing process that should not be overlooked. 

Make sure to spend time crafting a compelling topic sentence that clearly conveys your main point and guides your readers throughout your essay. You can even take ideas from an AI essay generator to get started.

However, if you find yourself struggling to write a good opening sentence, don't worry! CollegeEssay.org is here to help you with all your writing needs. We have the best online essay writing service providing top-quality essays that are sure to impress your professors.

So, why wait? Contact our essay writing service now and take the first step toward academic success!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a topic sentence.

A topic sentence can be multiple sentences long. The first sets the context for your ideas, while the second provides more depth on what you are saying beyond just stating it outright.

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Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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good topic sentences examples for essays

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Topic Sentences for Body Paragraphs: Examples and Explanation

An essay with the first sentence highlighted and the words "topic sentence"

A key to becoming a better writer is learning how to cover one main idea in each paragraph and write clearly—topic sentences can help you do that by focusing your writing.

Let’s look at what a topic sentence is, how to write a good topic sentence, and topic sentence examples.

Opens in a new tab.

What is a topic sentence in a paragraph?

A topic sentence is a sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph—it tells the reader what the paragraph is about in a clear and concise manner. It organizes an essay, engages the reader, provides a focus for the paragraph, and relates each paragraph back to the thesis.

A topic sentence is generally the first sentence in your body paragraph or at least at the beginning of the paragraph.

The topic sentence is the most important sentence because it organizes the paragraph by summarizing what you will discuss.

Topic sentences provide structure and organization to your essay—this is helpful for both the writer and the reader.

As the writer, writing your thesis statement and then making an outline of your topic sentences gives you a clear framework to work with. It makes it easier to write the essay and ensures that your essay is cohesive, well organized, and continually relates back to your thesis statement. It also helps you stay on topic and cover one idea per paragraph.

For the reader, having an essay that flows is more engaging. It makes it more coherent and cohesive. Topic sentences highlight the important information, which makes it easier to understand.

You have to build on your topic sentence. You make your claim in the topic sentence, which serves as a base to add your supporting details, evidence, and examples that strengthen your argument.

The purpose of a topic sentence is to provide a clear focus for your paragraph and preview what you will discuss in the paragraph.

Is the topic sentence always the first sentence?

In general, the topic sentence is the first sentence in the paragraph, but it does not have to be (though it is typically at the beginning of the paragraph). There are instances when the first sentence(s) may be a transition sentence or provide context about the topic, and the topic sentence is after .

The topic sentence is usually at the beginning to help the reader understand what the paragraph is about. However, a topic sentence can be in the middle or end of the paragraph (though this would be rare for body paragraphs).

It is the best practice to have your topic sentence be the first sentence in the paragraph.

Can a topic sentence be more than one sentence?

A topic sentence is traditionally one sentence—this is recommended to state your point clearly and concisely. However, a topic sentence can be 2 or 3 sentences long if you are explaining the claim.

If you decide you must make your topic sentence longer to express your main idea, make sure to edit and try to remain as concise as possible. Also, do not overly use multiple topic sentences, as this can make your essay lack focus or structure.

Topic sentences for paragraphs that are not a part of an essay

When writing a paragraph that is not a part of an essay, it is still a good idea to have a topic sentence. If you are answering a question, the topic sentence is the first sentence that restates part of the question and gives your answer.

From there, you use evidence from the text to expand on the answer, give supporting reasons, or provide examples.

What is a good topic sentence?

A good topic sentence is clear and concise. It is general enough to cover what the entire paragraph is about but specific enough to make it easy to understand the main idea of what will be discussed. It should relate back to the thesis or question and help maintain the flow of the essay.

To help the essay be cohesive, a good topic sentence should help transition from the previous paragraph and present a new idea.

How to write a topic sentence for a body paragraph

To write a topic sentence for a body paragraph, students should:

  • Write their thesis statement.
  • Outline their essay to determine what they will be talking about in each paragraph.
  • Identify the main idea of the paragraph and that it relates to the thesis.
  • Write a topic sentence general enough to cover what the whole paragraph is about but specific enough to make the main idea clear.
  • See if they can connect it to the previous paragraph with a transition.
  • Reread for clarity and edit.

Effective strategies for writing a topic sentence include that you pivot between ideas, make sure that you express the topic and what you will talk about in the paragraph, and use transition words—such as although, another example/way/argument, even though, in addition to, likewise, therefore, or however.

Make sure you then expand on the statement and give supporting details and reasons, examples, or sources.

Topic sentences for body paragraphs examples

Every topic sentence should state the main idea of the paragraph.

Let’s look at topic sentences that illustrate your point that you will expand on, provide transitions, compare and contrast topics, show cause and effect relationships, express counterclaims that you will proceed to address, or answer a question.

Example 1: Stating your claim

The most common example of a topic sentence is one that states your claim that you will then expand on.

These could look like:

  • The primary goal of a topic sentence is to express the main idea of the paragraph.
  • The outline method of note-taking is an easy and effective style.
  • Time management skills are important to a student’s success.

If you are writing an essay about the benefits of learning a new language, the paragraph that discusses the cognitive benefits could start with the topic sentence: “Learning a new language offers many cognitive benefits.”

If I only talk about the benefits of learning a new language on your memory, I would make my topic sentence more specific—”Learning a new language can improve a person’s memory.”

Example 2: Transitions

Topic sentences should transition between paragraphs whenever possible.

If your writing an opinion essay about why dogs make the best pets, and your previous paragraph said that they are good companions because they are loyal, your next paragraph could start with the topic sentence: “Another reason why dogs are good companions is that they are affectionate.”

Example 3: Compare and contrast topics

A topic sentence can also compare or contrast your previous point with the point you will cover in that paragraph.

For example: “While in-person classes offer better social interactions, online classes offer more flexibility.”

Example 4: Show cause and effect relationship

You can also show cause-and-effect relationships.

For example: “The unrealistic photos posted on social media lead to many teenagers having body image issues.”

Example 5: Introduce a counterclaim

A topic sentence can also introduce a counterclaim.

For example, if writing about why wooden pencils are better than mechanical pencils, your counterclaim paragraph could start: “Fans of mechanical pencils say they are more convenient to use because you do not have to sharpen them.”

Example 6: Answering a question

Let’s look at an example of a topic sentence that answers a question.

If you were studying Harry Potter and asked the question: “Why do you think some readers dislike Professor Umbridge even more than Voldemort?” then your answer could start with the topic sentence, “ I think Professor Umbridge is more disliked because she is a type of villain that readers can identify with. ” This clearly answers the question asked.

From there, you can continue your answer by giving examples of how most people can’t relate to dealing with a powerful mass murderer who killed their parents, but they can relate to the person who abuses their authority and hides behind bureaucracy.

You can also answer a question in a topic sentence in an essay if you end the previous paragraph with a question.

For example: if you write an essay on renewable energy sources, one paragraph may talk about the problem with fossil fuels and end by saying, “Once people understand the negative consequences of using fossil fuels, they have to ask—what are the alternatives?”

The next paragraph could start with: “One alternative to fossil fuels is solar energy, which is the most abundant renewable energy source available.” This answers that question and transitions into talking about what solar energy is.

Now that you know how to write a topic sentence and have seen topic sentences for body paragraphs examples, you are well on your way to becoming a better writer.

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 113 perfect persuasive essay topics for any assignment.

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Do you need to write a persuasive essay but aren’t sure what topic to focus on? Were you thrilled when your teacher said you could write about whatever you wanted but are now overwhelmed by the possibilities? We’re here to help!

Read on for a list of 113 top-notch persuasive essay topics, organized into ten categories. To help get you started, we also discuss what a persuasive essay is, how to choose a great topic, and what tips to keep in mind as you write your persuasive essay.

What Is a Persuasive Essay?

In a persuasive essay, you attempt to convince readers to agree with your point of view on an argument. For example, an essay analyzing changes in Italian art during the Renaissance wouldn’t be a persuasive essay, because there’s no argument, but an essay where you argue that Italian art reached its peak during the Renaissance would be a persuasive essay because you’re trying to get your audience to agree with your viewpoint.

Persuasive and argumentative essays both try to convince readers to agree with the author, but the two essay types have key differences. Argumentative essays show a more balanced view of the issue and discuss both sides. Persuasive essays focus more heavily on the side the author agrees with. They also often include more of the author’s opinion than argumentative essays, which tend to use only facts and data to support their argument.

All persuasive essays have the following:

  • Introduction: Introduces the topic, explains why it’s important, and ends with the thesis.
  • Thesis: A sentence that sums up what the essay be discussing and what your stance on the issue is.
  • Reasons you believe your side of the argument: Why do you support the side you do? Typically each main point will have its own body paragraph.
  • Evidence supporting your argument: Facts or examples to back up your main points. Even though your opinion is allowed in persuasive essays more than most other essays, having concrete examples will make a stronger argument than relying on your opinion alone.
  • Conclusion: Restatement of thesis, summary of main points, and a recap of why the issue is important.

What Makes a Good Persuasive Essay Topic?

Theoretically, you could write a persuasive essay about any subject under the sun, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Certain topics are easier to write a strong persuasive essay on, and below are tips to follow when deciding what you should write about.

It’s a Topic You Care About

Obviously, it’s possible to write an essay about a topic you find completely boring. You’ve probably done it! However, if possible, it’s always better to choose a topic that you care about and are interested in. When this is the case, you’ll find doing the research more enjoyable, writing the essay easier, and your writing will likely be better because you’ll be more passionate about and informed on the topic.

You Have Enough Evidence to Support Your Argument

Just being passionate about a subject isn’t enough to make it a good persuasive essay topic, though. You need to make sure your argument is complex enough to have at least two potential sides to root for, and you need to be able to back up your side with evidence and examples. Even though persuasive essays allow your opinion to feature more than many other essays, you still need concrete evidence to back up your claims, or you’ll end up with a weak essay.

For example, you may passionately believe that mint chocolate chip ice cream is the best ice cream flavor (I agree!), but could you really write an entire essay on this? What would be your reasons for believing mint chocolate chip is the best (besides the fact that it’s delicious)? How would you support your belief? Have enough studies been done on preferred ice cream flavors to support an entire essay? When choosing a persuasive essay idea, you want to find the right balance between something you care about (so you can write well on it) and something the rest of the world cares about (so you can reference evidence to strengthen your position).

It’s a Manageable Topic

Bigger isn’t always better, especially with essay topics. While it may seem like a great idea to choose a huge, complex topic to write about, you’ll likely struggle to sift through all the information and different sides of the issue and winnow them down to one streamlined essay. For example, choosing to write an essay about how WWII impacted American life more than WWI wouldn’t be a great idea because you’d need to analyze all the impacts of both the wars in numerous areas of American life. It’d be a huge undertaking. A better idea would be to choose one impact on American life the wars had (such as changes in female employment) and focus on that. Doing so will make researching and writing your persuasive essay much more feasible.

feature_argumentativeessay-1

List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics

Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you’ll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay. For example, if you choose the topic, “should fracking be legal?” you’d decide whether you believe fracking should be legal or illegal, then you’d write an essay arguing all the reasons why your audience should agree with you.

Arts/Culture

  • Should students be required to learn an instrument in school?
  • Did the end of Game of Thrones fit with the rest of the series?
  • Can music be an effective way to treat mental illness?
  • With e-readers so popular, have libraries become obsolete?
  • Are the Harry Potter books more popular than they deserve to be?
  • Should music with offensive language come with a warning label?
  • What’s the best way for museums to get more people to visit?
  • Should students be able to substitute an art or music class for a PE class in school?
  • Are the Kardashians good or bad role models for young people?
  • Should people in higher income brackets pay more taxes?
  • Should all high school students be required to take a class on financial literacy?
  • Is it possible to achieve the American dream, or is it only a myth?
  • Is it better to spend a summer as an unpaid intern at a prestigious company or as a paid worker at a local store/restaurant?
  • Should the United States impose more or fewer tariffs?
  • Should college graduates have their student loans forgiven?
  • Should restaurants eliminate tipping and raise staff wages instead?
  • Should students learn cursive writing in school?
  • Which is more important: PE class or music class?
  • Is it better to have year-round school with shorter breaks throughout the year?
  • Should class rank be abolished in schools?
  • Should students be taught sex education in school?
  • Should students be able to attend public universities for free?
  • What’s the most effective way to change the behavior of school bullies?
  • Are the SAT and ACT accurate ways to measure intelligence?
  • Should students be able to learn sign language instead of a foreign language?
  • Do the benefits of Greek life at colleges outweigh the negatives?
  • Does doing homework actually help students learn more?
  • Why do students in many other countries score higher than American students on math exams?
  • Should parents/teachers be able to ban certain books from schools?
  • What’s the best way to reduce cheating in school?
  • Should colleges take a student’s race into account when making admissions decisions?
  • Should there be limits to free speech?
  • Should students be required to perform community service to graduate high school?
  • Should convicted felons who have completed their sentence be allowed to vote?
  • Should gun ownership be more tightly regulated?
  • Should recycling be made mandatory?
  • Should employers be required to offer paid leave to new parents?
  • Are there any circumstances where torture should be allowed?
  • Should children under the age of 18 be able to get plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons?
  • Should white supremacy groups be allowed to hold rallies in public places?
  • Does making abortion illegal make women more or less safe?
  • Does foreign aid actually help developing countries?
  • Are there times a person’s freedom of speech should be curtailed?
  • Should people over a certain age not be allowed to adopt children?

Government/Politics

  • Should the minimum voting age be raised/lowered/kept the same?
  • Should Puerto Rico be granted statehood?
  • Should the United States build a border wall with Mexico?
  • Who should be the next person printed on American banknotes?
  • Should the United States’ military budget be reduced?
  • Did China’s one child policy have overall positive or negative impacts on the country?
  • Should DREAMers be granted US citizenship?
  • Is national security more important than individual privacy?
  • What responsibility does the government have to help homeless people?
  • Should the electoral college be abolished?
  • Should the US increase or decrease the number of refugees it allows in each year?
  • Should privately-run prisons be abolished?
  • Who was the most/least effective US president?
  • Will Brexit end up helping or harming the UK?

body-sparkler-us-flag

  • What’s the best way to reduce the spread of Ebola?
  • Is the Keto diet a safe and effective way to lose weight?
  • Should the FDA regulate vitamins and supplements more strictly?
  • Should public schools require all students who attend to be vaccinated?
  • Is eating genetically modified food safe?
  • What’s the best way to make health insurance more affordable?
  • What’s the best way to lower the teen pregnancy rate?
  • Should recreational marijuana be legalized nationwide?
  • Should birth control pills be available without a prescription?
  • Should pregnant women be forbidden from buying cigarettes and alcohol?
  • Why has anxiety increased in adolescents?
  • Are low-carb or low-fat diets more effective for weight loss?
  • What caused the destruction of the USS Maine?
  • Was King Arthur a mythical legend or actual Dark Ages king?
  • Was the US justified in dropping atomic bombs during WWII?
  • What was the primary cause of the Rwandan genocide?
  • What happened to the settlers of the Roanoke colony?
  • Was disagreement over slavery the primary cause of the US Civil War?
  • What has caused the numerous disappearances in the Bermuda triangle?
  • Should nuclear power be banned?
  • Is scientific testing on animals necessary?
  • Do zoos help or harm animals?
  • Should scientists be allowed to clone humans?
  • Should animals in circuses be banned?
  • Should fracking be legal?
  • Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets?
  • What’s the best way to reduce illegal poaching in Africa?
  • What is the best way to reduce the impact of global warming?
  • Should euthanasia be legalized?
  • Is there legitimate evidence of extraterrestrial life?
  • Should people be banned from owning aggressive dog breeds?
  • Should the United States devote more money towards space exploration?
  • Should the government subsidize renewable forms of energy?
  • Is solar energy worth the cost?
  • Should stem cells be used in medicine?
  • Is it right for the US to leave the Paris Climate Agreement?
  • Should athletes who fail a drug test receive a lifetime ban from the sport?
  • Should college athletes receive a salary?
  • Should the NFL do more to prevent concussions in players?
  • Do PE classes help students stay in shape?
  • Should horse racing be banned?
  • Should cheerleading be considered a sport?
  • Should children younger than 18 be allowed to play tackle football?
  • Are the costs of hosting an Olympic Games worth it?
  • Can online schools be as effective as traditional schools?
  • Do violent video games encourage players to be violent in real life?
  • Should facial recognition technology be banned?
  • Does excessive social media use lead to depression/anxiety?
  • Has the rise of translation technology made knowing multiple languages obsolete?
  • Was Steve Jobs a visionary or just a great marketer?
  • Should social media be banned for children younger than a certain age?
  • Which 21st-century invention has had the largest impact on society?
  • Are ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft good or bad for society?
  • Should Facebook have done more to protect the privacy of its users?
  • Will technology end up increasing or decreasing inequality worldwide?

feature_information_technology

Tips for Writing a Strong Persuasive Essay

After you’ve chosen the perfect topic for your persuasive essay, your work isn’t over. Follow the three tips below to create a top-notch essay.

Do Your Research

Your argument will fall apart if you don’t fully understand the issue you’re discussing or you overlook an important piece of it. Readers won’t be convinced by someone who doesn’t know the subject, and you likely won’t persuade any of them to begin supporting your viewpoint. Before you begin writing a single word of your essay, research your topic thoroughly. Study different sources, learn about the different sides of the argument, ask anyone who’s an expert on the topic what their opinion is, etc. You might be tempted to start writing right away, but by doing your research, you’ll make the writing process much easier when the time comes.

Make Your Thesis Perfect

Your thesis is the most important sentence in your persuasive essay. Just by reading that single sentence, your audience should know exactly what topic you’ll be discussing and where you stand on the issue. You want your thesis to be crystal clear and to accurately set up the rest of your essay. Asking classmates or your teacher to look it over before you begin writing the rest of your essay can be a big help if you’re not entirely confident in your thesis.

Consider the Other Side

You’ll spend most of your essay focusing on your side of the argument since that’s what you want readers to come away believing. However, don’t think that means you can ignore other sides of the issue. In your essay, be sure to discuss the other side’s argument, as well as why you believe this view is weak or untrue. Researching all the different viewpoints and including them in your essay will increase the quality of your writing by making your essay more complete and nuanced.

Summary: Persuasive Essay Ideas

Good persuasive essay topics can be difficult to come up with, but in this guide we’ve created a list of 113 excellent essay topics for you to browse. The best persuasive essay ideas will be those that you are interested in, have enough evidence to support your argument, and aren’t too complicated to be summarized in an essay.

After you’ve chosen your essay topic, keep these three tips in mind when you begin writing:

  • Do your research
  • Make your thesis perfect
  • Consider the other side

What's Next?

Need ideas for a research paper topic as well? Our guide to research paper topics has over 100 topics in ten categories so you can be sure to find the perfect topic for you.

Thinking about taking an AP English class? Read our guide on AP English classes to learn whether you should take AP English Language or AP English Literature (or both!)

Deciding between the SAT or ACT? Find out for sure which you will do the best on . Also read a detailed comparison between the two tests .

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Examples

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essay generator.

good topic sentences examples for essays

It may be a little bit confusing writing an argumentative essay especially if it is for academic purposes. You should be loaded with facts or verified information to prove your point. Every argument needs an interesting topic for you to keep going with your entire work.

What is an Argumentative Essay? An argumentative essay is a type of writing that presents a clear argument or position on a specific topic, supported by evidence and reasoning. The goal is to persuade the reader to understand and perhaps agree with the writer’s point of view. This essay typically includes a clear thesis statement, structured arguments, factual evidence, and a rebuttal to opposing viewpoints. The effectiveness of an argumentative essay lies in its ability to logically and coherently argue a point, while addressing and countering potential counterarguments.

Format/Structure of Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay typically follows a clear and structured format to present and support an argument effectively. Here’s a breakdown of its essential components:

Introduction

Hook : Begin with a compelling statement, question, or fact to grab the reader’s attention. Background Information : Provide context or background necessary to understand the topic or argument. Thesis Statement : Clearly state your main argument or position on the topic. This should be precise, debatable, and convey the essence of your essay.

Body Paragraphs

Paragraph 1 : Start with your strongest point or most convincing argument. Provide evidence (facts, statistics, studies, quotes) to support it. Paragraph 2 and Beyond : Continue with subsequent arguments, each in its own paragraph. Ensure each point logically follows the previous one and adds weight to your overall argument. Counterargument : Address a potential counterargument to your thesis, then refute it with logic, evidence, or both. This shows you’ve considered multiple viewpoints.
Restate Thesis : Reaffirm your thesis statement, but in different words. Summarize Key Points : Briefly recap the main arguments you presented. Call to Action or Final Thought : End with a thought-provoking statement, question, or call to action that encourages further thinking or action on the topic.

The Best Example of Argumentative Essay

Title: The Necessity of Environmental Conservation Introduction The planet’s environmental health is a concern that affects all of humanity. Despite differing opinions, the need for environmental conservation is imperative for the following reasons: the survival of future generations, the balance of ecosystems, and the preservation of natural beauty. Thesis Statement Environmental conservation is not just a moral duty but a necessary action for the survival and prosperity of our planet and future generations. Body Paragraph 1: Survival of Future Generations Firstly, conserving the environment ensures the survival of future generations. Practices such as reducing carbon emissions and protecting natural habitats are crucial. For instance, reducing carbon emissions minimizes the greenhouse effect, directly impacting global warming and climate change. Body Paragraph 2: Balance of Ecosystems Secondly, the conservation of the environment is essential for maintaining the balance of ecosystems. Human activities have led to the extinction of numerous species. Preserving natural habitats helps maintain biodiversity, which is vital for ecological balance, as emphasized in a study by the World Wildlife Fund. Body Paragraph 3: Preservation of Natural Beauty Lastly, environmental conservation is important for preserving the natural beauty of the planet. Natural landscapes like forests, oceans, and mountains not only have aesthetic value but also contribute to human well-being, as suggested by numerous psychological studies. Counterargument and Rebuttal Some argue that economic development should take precedence over environmental conservation. However, sustainable development models show that economic growth does not have to be at the environment’s expense. Green technologies and eco-friendly practices can lead to economic prosperity while preserving the environment. Conclusion In conclusion, environmental conservation is a critical necessity. It ensures the survival of future generations, maintains ecological balance, and preserves the planet’s intrinsic beauty. The path towards sustainable development is not only possible but essential, aligning economic growth with environmental stewardship.

Argumentative Essay Topics with Samples

  • The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health
  • Should Vaccinations be Mandatory for Public Health?
  • The Role of Artificial Intelligence in the Future of Work
  • Climate Change: Myth or Reality?
  • The Ethics of Genetic Editing in Humans
  • Universal Basic Income: Solution to Economic Inequality?
  • The Influence of Video Games on Youth Behavior
  • Animal Testing: Necessary Evil or Outdated Practice?
  • Is Remote Learning Effective in Education?
  • The Debate on Gun Control Laws in the United States
  • The Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment
  • Privacy vs. Security in the Age of Surveillance
  • The Cultural Impact of Globalization
  • Vegetarianism and Veganism: Dietary Choice or Moral Obligation?
  • The Rise of Cryptocurrencies: Future of Finance or Speculative Bubble?

Types of Argumentative Essay and How to Use Them?

Argumentative essays can be categorized into different types based on the approach and purpose of the argument. Understanding these types helps in crafting a more effective and targeted essay:

Classical (Aristotelian) Argumentative Essay

Rooted in the principles of Aristotle, this type of essay presents a clear, direct argument. It starts with an introduction of the topic, followed by the presentation of the writer’s position. The body provides logical reasoning and evidence supporting the argument, and it addresses and refutes counterarguments. The conclusion reinforces the thesis and sums up the argument.

Use this style for topics that can be argued logically and objectively. It’s effective in academic writing and debates where clear, rational arguments are needed.

Rogerian Argumentative Essay

This approach, based on the psychology of Carl Rogers, emphasizes understanding and finding common ground with the opposing viewpoint. Instead of outright refuting the opposing views, the writer acknowledges their validity and seeks a compromise or integrative solution.

Ideal for contentious or polarizing topics where bridging opposing views is important. It’s useful in emotionally charged debates where acknowledging different perspectives can lead to a more balanced conclusion.

Toulmin Argumentative Essay

Developed by Stephen Toulmin, this model focuses on constructing a clear and logical argument. It consists of six elements: claim, grounds (evidence), warrant (link between the claim and evidence), backing (support for the warrant), qualifier (limits of the claim), and rebuttal (addressing counterarguments).

Employ this method for complex arguments that require detailed analysis. It’s suitable for scientific or technical discussions where each aspect of the argument must be logically validated.

Persuasive Argumentative Essay

This type aims to persuade the audience to the writer’s point of view through emotional appeal and moral reasoning. It uses strong, emotive language and persuasive techniques like anecdotes, rhetorical questions, and sometimes, dramatic illustrations to sway the reader’s opinion.

Best for topics related to personal beliefs, values, or when the goal is to influence public opinion. Effective in speeches, advertising, and situations where emotional impact is crucial.

9+ Argumentative Essay Outline Examples

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Argumentative Pattern Essay Outline

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2. Argumentative Classical Model Essay Outline

Argumentative Classical Model Essay Outline

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Argumentative Essay Writing Outline

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5. Argumentative Essay Claim Outline

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6. Sample Argumentative Essay Outline

Sample Argumentative Essay Outline

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7. Argumentative Essay of Debatable Outline

Argumentative Essay of Debatable Outline

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8. Argumentative Essay of Persuasive Outline

Argumentative Essay of Persuasive Outline

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9. Editable Argumentative Essay Outline

Editable Argumentative Essay Outline

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10. Printable Argumentative Essay Outline

Printable Argumentative Essay Outline

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Elements of an Argumentative Essay

Introduction  .

this is the first part of your paper where you are going to talk about a certain issue in a way that you can grab the attention of your audience.

In your introduction, you should provide an opening line that will keep your readers stuck into your work until the end.

this is the summary of your main idea supported by evidences

This is located at the end of your first paragraph. Every point you take in your argumentative essay must be related to the thesis statement that you wrote.

these were also referred to as “claims”. This is all about the data and facts that you use to prove your point.

Justification  

this justifies or explains your evidence. In your argumentative essay, you have to provide at least three paragraphs of supporting details that backs up your evidence.

Opposing argument  

this is also called “refutation” that proves your opinion may not be true. Unlike any other essays like in a persuasive essay, an argumentative essay will let you see through the other side of the matter. Your work will appear stronger since it will be weighing two different stands whether which argument is more believable.

Conclusion  

this is the summary of your entire argument including your main idea and the evidence. Always take note that you have to provide a concise conclusion.

You may want to check an example of a good argumentative essay below.

“The first objection last week came from the National Organization for Women and the New York Civil Liberties Union, both of which opposed the opening of TYWLS in the fall of 1996. The two groups continue to insist – as though it were 1896 and they were arguing Plessy V. Ferguson – that separate can never be equal. I appreciate NOW’s wariness of the Bush administration’s endorsement of single-sex public schools, since I am of the generation that still considers the label “feminist” to be a compliment – and many feminist still fear that any public acknowledgement of differences between the sexes will hinder their fight for equality.” – Boys Here, Girls There: Sure, If Equality’s the Goal (by Karen Stabiner) “We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.” – The Flight from Conversation (by Sherry Turkle)

What makes a good argumentative essay?

A good argumentative essay has focuses on facts rather than opinions and clear evidence that supports your claim.

How long is an argumentative essay?

It depends on how long your introduction, supporting facts and conclusion is.

Do I still need to provide a reference in my argumentative essay?

Every type of writing must have a reference page.

Argumentative essays must be supplied with strong arguments to convince the readers more about a debatable issue. It should contain elements such as introduction, thesis, evidence, justification, opposing argument and conclusion.

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Text prompt

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Write an argumentative essay on whether school uniforms should be mandatory.

Discuss in an argumentative essay if animals should be kept in zoos.

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  2. How to Write a Good Topic Sentence: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

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    good topic sentences examples for essays

  4. How to Write a Good Topic Sentence: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

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  6. TOPIC SENTENCES ANCHOR CHART 2

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  4. 100 Common Sentences in English

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COMMENTS

  1. How to Write Topic Sentences

    Step 2: Make an essay outline and draft topic sentences. Next, you should make an outline of your essay's structure, planning what you want to say in each paragraph and what evidence you'll use. At this stage, you can draft a topic sentence that sums up the main point you want to make in each paragraph. The topic sentences should be more ...

  2. 12 Examples of Good Topic Sentences (and Why They Work)

    4 narrative essay topic sentences. Topic Sentence #1: The sea was treacherous that night, and I thought I'd lose half of my men before sunrise. Topic Sentence #2: We thought we had seen the worst Mother Nature had to offer, but she proved us wrong on the final night of our voyage. Topic Sentence #3: With my first mate's final comments, I ...

  3. Topic Sentences and Signposting

    Topic sentences and signposts make an essay's claims clear to a reader. Good essays contain both. Topic sentences reveal the main point of a paragraph. They show the relationship of each paragraph to the essay's thesis, telegraph the point of a paragraph, and tell your reader what to expect in the paragraph that follows.

  4. How to Write a Strong Topic Sentence + Examples

    Step 3: Make your essay outline. Once you have the points you want to make within your thesis statement hammered out, make an outline for your essay. This is where you'll start to create your topic sentence for each paragraph. You want to clearly state the main idea of that paragraph in the very first sentence.

  5. 10 Effective Topic Sentence Examples for Engaging Essays

    A bad example of a topic sentence would be: Dogs are good. While most people agree with that statement, it is too broad to make a good topic sentence. Yes, it lets the readers know that you will be writing about dogs and that it will be positive, but they have no idea where that topic will go. Your topic sentence needs to do more than tell the ...

  6. Topic Sentences

    The best way to understand the role of the topic sentence in paragraph development is to imagine that any given paragraph is a miniature essay that has its own thesis, support, and conclusion. The parts of a paragraph easily correspond to the parts of an essay: Just as an effective essay starts off with an introduction that presents the paper's ...

  7. Choosing Your College Essay Topic

    If you do choose a common topic, ensure you have the following to craft a unique essay: Surprising or unexpected story arcs. Interesting insight or connections. An advanced writing style. Here are a few examples of how to craft strong essays from cliché topics. Common topic.

  8. Using Topic Sentences

    When read in sequence, your essay's topic sentences will provide a sketch of the essay's argument. Thus topics sentences help protect your readers from confusion by guiding them through the argument. But topic sentences can also help you to improve your essay by making it easier for you to recognize gaps or weaknesses in your argument.

  9. How to Write a Topic Sentence: 3 Topic Sentence Examples

    How to Write a Topic Sentence: 3 Topic Sentence Examples. Written by MasterClass. Last updated: Sep 28, 2022 • 3 min read. Learn how to write topic sentences to support the main thesis of any piece of writing.

  10. Writing Topic Sentences

    The purpose of a topic sentence is to inform the reader of the main idea of the paragraph and how it connects to the overall objective of the essay. An effective topic sentence accomplishes one or more of the following: Makes a claim. Supports other claims made in the paper. Identifies the purpose of the rest of the paragraph.

  11. Examples of Topic Sentences That Make the Purpose Clear

    Make yours one to remember with these topic sentence examples. ... In formal writing, the topic sentence is usually the first sentence in a paragraph (although it doesn't have to be). ... All three reasons related to the topic "cats are very good pets." Also, the last sentence in the paragraph connects directly back to the topic sentence ...

  12. How To Write a Topic Sentence (With Examples and Tips)

    1. Identify the main point in your piece of writing. Think about the overall topic for your writing. Decide how you can introduce this idea to your readers with an interesting opening sentence. 2. Write a sentence that connects to your main idea with a what and a why. Write a clear topic sentence by describing the what and the why of an idea ...

  13. Example of a Great Essay

    This example guides you through the structure of an essay. It shows how to build an effective introduction, focused paragraphs, clear transitions between ideas, and a strong conclusion. Each paragraph addresses a single central point, introduced by a topic sentence, and each point is directly related to the thesis statement.

  14. How to Write a Good Topic Sentence: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    1. Avoid introducing yourself. Although topic sentences vary in structure and content from person to person, at least two things can be assumed about your paper: 1) that you have a title and entire paper to introduce a topic, and 2) your personal information is present somewhere on your essay.

  15. How to Write a Topic Sentence

    Features of a Good Topic Sentence. A good topic sentence has a few key features. Letâ s take a look: Expresses the main idea of the paragraph or essay clearly and concisely. Is specific and focused, avoiding vague or overly general statements. Introduces the main point and is typically located at the beginning of the paragraph or essay.

  16. Topic Sentences for Body Paragraphs: Examples and Explanation

    A topic sentence is a sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph—it tells the reader what the paragraph is about in a clear and concise manner. It organizes an essay, engages the reader, provides a focus for the paragraph, and relates each paragraph back to the thesis. A topic sentence is generally the first sentence in your body ...

  17. Topic Sentence Examples for Better Writing

    Topic sentence examples. To give you an idea of how to transform a topic sentence from okay to great, here are some examples: Okay: Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809. Better: Abraham Lincoln, born in 1809, was one of the most influential politicians in history.

  18. 30 Examples of Topic Sentences (by grade level)

    Elementary students often write simple topic sentences that focus solely on the main idea of the paragraph. Some examples of topic sentences for this age group include: When we had a snow day, I made snow angels, drank hot cocoa, and went sledding. Students should not have to do homework because it takes a lot of time.

  19. 50 Great Argumentative Essay Topics for Any Assignment

    Check out our helpful list of argumentative essay topics, plus tips on picking the best one for you. Call Direct: 1 (866) 811-5546 ... A strong argumentative essay is one with good structure and a strong argument, ... A bunch of great essay examples can help you aspire to greatness, but bad essays can also be a warning for what not to do. ...

  20. 113 Perfect Persuasive Essay Topics for Any Assignment

    List of 113 Good Persuasive Essay Topics. Below are over 100 persuasive essay ideas, organized into ten categories. When you find an idea that piques your interest, you'll choose one side of it to argue for in your essay. For example, if you choose the topic, "should fracking be legal?" you'd decide whether you believe fracking should ...

  21. Welcome to the Purdue Online Writing Lab

    Mission. The Purdue On-Campus Writing Lab and Purdue Online Writing Lab assist clients in their development as writers—no matter what their skill level—with on-campus consultations, online participation, and community engagement. The Purdue Writing Lab serves the Purdue, West Lafayette, campus and coordinates with local literacy initiatives.

  22. Argumentative Essay

    Call to Action or Final Thought: End with a thought-provoking statement, question, or call to action that encourages further thinking or action on the topic. The Best Example of Argumentative Essay. Title: The Necessity of Environmental Conservation. Introduction The planet's environmental health is a concern that affects all of humanity ...