Topic Sentences What is a topic sentence and how does it relate to a thesis statement? A topic sentence



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Topic Sentences

What is a topic sentence and how does it relate to a thesis statement?




A topic sentence explains or introduces one of the major points that support the writer’s thesis statement. Each body paragraph in an essay must contain a topic sentence that connects all of the information and analysis in that paragraph to one unified idea, and each topic sentence must be related directly to the thesis statement. The main ideas expressed in each topic sentence must be related directly to the thesis statement. The main ideas expressed in each topic sentence represent the major divisions of the essay. Writing those topic sentences before beginning to write the essay will help the developing writers organize their essays and keep those essays focused on their thesis statements.


Activity Four: Selecting Topic Sentences

Here is a possible thesis statement for a literary analysis essay over “Sea-Fever,” followed by some possible topic sentences for this essay. Read each of the sentences carefully. Then, place a check mark beside the two that best relate to the thesis statement.




In the poem “Sea-Fever,” John Masefield reveals his complex attitude toward sailing by using diction, imagery, and figurative language to convey the lonely but exciting life of a sailor.


Throughout the poem, speaker reveals the loneliness of the life of a sailor.

Masefield’s use of alliteration reflects his desire to return to the sea.

The poem is divided into three four line stanzas.

The excitement and adventure of the sea create a call that is irresistible to the speaker.

The speaker says that “I must go down to the seas again.”

The sound devices of the poem intensify the excitement of the sea.

In the space below, write one additional topic sentence that relates to the thesis statement above.





DO NOW - Activity Five: Writing Topic Sentences

"Sea-Fever"

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide


Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,


To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted1 knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn2 from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


  1. whetted: sharpened

  2. yarn: story

Following is a possible thesis statement for an essay over “Sea-Fever.” Read the sentence carefully. Then write two possible topic sentences for this essay.


In his poem “Sea-Fever,” John Masefield uses figurative language to convey his close relationship with the sea and his attraction to the sailing life.








Here is another possible thesis statement for an essay over “Sea-Fever.” Read the sentence carefully. Then write two possible topic sentences for this essay.


In his poem “Sea-Fever,” John Masefield uses emotional diction to depict his strong feelings about the sea.








Activity Six: Applying your Knowledge (Homework)

Following is a writing prompt that could be used for the passage from Mossflower.




Carefully read the excerpt from Mossflower by Brian Jacques. As the main character of the passage progresses through Mossflower Wood, the reader feels that the place through which Martin is walking is filled with danger. Write several well-developed paragraphs explaining how the author of Mossflower uses diction and imagery to create this menacing feeling.

In the space below, write one thesis statement and at least two topic sentences that would respond appropriately to the writing prompt. Remember that the main ideas expressed in each topic sentence represent major divisions of your essay. Then, select two pieces of supporting evidence from the poem for each topic sentence.

Thesis Statement:

Topic Sentence #1



  • Supporting Evidence #1:

  • Supporting Evidence #2:

Topic Sentence #2

  • Supporting Evidence #1:

  • Supporting Evidence #2:

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