How To Write A Winning Topic Sentence For An Argumentative Essay


Formulating a topic sentence that captures the attention of your reader is essential when you compose an argumentative essay. It is the most important sentence in a paragraph, as it sets the tone for what will follow, and tells the reader what argument will be put forward.

When you are coming up with a topic sentence, keep in mind that it must be directly related to your thesis. You are setting your reader up; getting them ready to follow you down a path. At the end of the essay journey, they must be entirely convinced by the argument you put forward regarding the topic of your composition.

A Topic Sentence Has A Controlling Idea


It is often said that each topic sentence will have a topic and also a “controlling idea”. The topic is what will be discussed, and the controlling idea dictates the direction that the paragraph will follow.

For example, if the topic sentence is “The best business leaders have strong communication skills.” The topic here is “the best business leaders” and the controlling idea is “strong communication skills”. The focus will be on proving that the topic (the best business leaders) require strong communication skills (the controlling idea).

Another example would be “Inner city crime is rising as a result of increasing youth unemployment”. “Inner city crime is rising” is the topic and the focus of the paper. The controlling idea is that this is happening because of an increase in youth unemployment.

Stay On Topic!


Try not to get off sidetracked once you have written your topic sentence. If you choose a topic sentence that is about the different sea birds that were killed or injured as a result of a recent oil spill, then your topic is the different sea birds. Your controlling idea is that this was as a direct result of an oil spill.

Everything that follows in an argumentative essay must go on to prove this statement. Don't get started discussing the profitability of the oil and natural gas sectors or their importance to the global economy. Your course supervisor is not interested in flowery descriptions of the texture and colour of the sea bird's feathers, nor their favourite foods.

Including these irrelevant details is likely to cost you marks, not earn you any! Take the time to come up with a terrific topic sentence, have a comprehensive essay plan and follow it. Remember that all the points that you make in an argumentative essay must relate back to your thesis, and support your defense of it.