Topic Sentence vs Thesis Statement

When writing research or other formal papers, there are several key components that should appear in your introductory paragraph.  The first paragraph in any paper should introduce what you are going to be writing about, and it needs to include two important sentences: the topic and the thesis statement.

Often it can be hard to distinguish between the two, whether you are reading a paper or writing one.  However, while they might seem similar in content, they serve two different purposes.  The topic sentence states– directly or indirectly– the topic, idea, or theme of the work.  This sentence is usually more broad and open-ended.

  • Example:  Apples come in a variety of colors.

Obviously, this paper is going to be about apples of varying colors.

The thesis statement takes the topic and narrows it down.  It clearly states the argument or angle that the author of the paper will be taking.

  • Example:  Red apples taste the best because they are the juiciest.

The writer of this paper directly states that red apples have the greatest taste.  But not only do they state their argument, they also say why they believe so.  This makes the thesis statement different from just a statement of opinion.  The rest of the paper would likely be spent supporting the argument: why other colored apples are not as tasty, proof that red apples are the juiciest, etc.

We hope you enjoyed this example of the difference between the topic sentence and the thesis.  Remember, you need both in order to properly begin your paper.  Follow and subscribe to email updates from SWN for more writing tips!

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