Topic sentences and how to use them

During your studies, you will be probably be told at least once that you should pay attention to topic sentences. These sentences come at the beginnings of paragraphs and introduce the central ideas that are about to be developed. “Use topic sentences,” the advice-givers say, “and your writing will become clear”.

And yet many examples of fine writing do not use topic sentences. I’ve read many paragraphs where the first sentence does not point towards the incoming payload at all, and yet the authors of these paragraphs are praised for their style and clarity. Then why should we use them? Are topic sentences another example of a fictional device made up to turn writing into a paint-by-numbers exercise? Continue reading “Topic sentences and how to use them”