They usually meet the following criteria:1. First sentence. A topic sentence is usually the first sentence of the paragraph, not the last sentence of the previous paragraph. Link to thesis. Topic sentences use keywords or phrases from the thesis to indicate which part of the thesis will be discussed. Introduce the subject of the paragraph. They tell the reader what concept will be discussed and provide an introduction to the paragraph. Link to the previous paragraph. They link the subject of the present paragraph to that of the previous paragraph. Indicate the progression of the essay. Topic sentences may also signal to the reader where the essay has been and where it is headed through signposting words such as “first,” “second,” or “finally.”Good topic sentences typically DON’T begin with the following. A quotation from a critic or from the piece of fiction you’re discussing. The topic sentence should relate to your points and tell the reader what the subject of the paragraph will be. Beginning the paragraph with someone else’s words doesn’t allow you to provide this information for the reader.
A piece of information that tells the reader something more about the plot of the story. When you’re writing about a piece of literature, it’s easy to fall into the habit of telling the plot of the story and then adding a sentence of analysis, but such an approach leaves the reader wondering what the point of the paragraph is supposed to be; it also doesn’t leave you sufficient room to analyze the story fully. These “narrative” topic sentences don’t provide enough information about your analysis and the points you’re making. Weak “narrative” topic sentence: Lily Bart next travels to Bellomont, where she meets Lawrence Selden again.Stronger “topic-based” topic sentence: A second example of Lily’s gambling on her marriage chances occurs at Bellomont, where she ignores Percy Gryce in favor of Selden. [Note that this tells your reader that it’s the second paragraph in a series of paragraph relating to the thesis, which in this case would be a thesis related to Lily’s gambling on her marriage chances.] A sentence that explains your response or reaction to the work, or that describes why you’re talking about a particular part of it, rather than why the paragraph is important to your analysis.