Topic Sentence Examples and Feedback
Here are some sample topic sentences you can use to help you work on your own. After each example is some commentary about what the sentences do well (or not well) and what grade each would receive.
1. The English and the Powhatan traded various goods.
#1 is simply a factual statement. Your topic sentences are supposed to introduce the topic of the paragraph in addition to stating the point you’re trying to make. Why does it matter the English and Powhatan traded?
Topic sentences like this would receive a grade of 1.
2. The English and Powhatan traded and this affected their relationship.
This topic sentence is better because it says more but still does not state the point you’re trying to make. So what if trade affected their relationship? What is your point? How does it answer the essential question? How does it relate to your thesis?
This topic sentence would receive a grade of 1 or 2.
3. The trade between the English in Jamestown and the Powhatan caused the two groups to get along.
This topic sentence is certainly better than the first two since it begins to make an argument or state a point. The problem with this is that by saying that trade “caused the two groups to get along” you are not answering the essential question which is: Was conflict inevitable?
This would receive a grade of 4.
4. The exchange of goods that happened early on between the English and the Powhatan shows that conflict between the two groups was not inevitable.
This is the best topic sentence listed here since it clearly explains what the paragraph will be about while also clearly stating the point you’re trying to make. Unlike the last example, the point you’re trying to make actually addresses the essential question and explains clearly how the information in the paragraph answers our essential question.
This would receive a grade of 6 or 7.
Topic Sentence Examples and Feedback (Columbus)