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topic sentence

or topical sentence

noun
  1. a sentence that expresses the essential idea of a paragraph or larger section, usually appearing at the beginning.
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Origin of topic sentence

First recorded in 1915–20
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for topic sentence

Historical Examples of topic sentence

  • In isolated paragraphs, paragraphs that are indeed compositions in miniature, the topic-sentence is the first sentence.

    English: Composition and Literature

    W. F. (William Franklin) Webster

  • Below are four paragraphs, from different forms of discourse, all having the topic-sentence at the beginning.

    English: Composition and Literature

    W. F. (William Franklin) Webster

  • In these cases the topic-sentence follows the transition, and it may come as late as the middle of the paragraph.

    English: Composition and Literature

    W. F. (William Franklin) Webster

  • In exposition and argument, and sometimes in the other forms of discourse, the topic-sentence may be at the end of the paragraph.

    English: Composition and Literature

    W. F. (William Franklin) Webster

  • In narration and in a short paragraph of description this paragraph of details is frequently without a topic-sentence.

    English: Composition and Literature

    W. F. (William Franklin) Webster


British Dictionary definitions for topic sentence

topic sentence

noun
  1. a sentence in a paragraph that expresses the main idea or point of the whole paragraph
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

topic sentence in Culture

topic sentence

The main sentence in a paragraph, often the first sentence. It briefly conveys the essential idea of the paragraph.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.