What is a topic sentence?
A topic sentence is a generalization about a topic that you may be writing or speaking about. It helps your audience understand the purpose of several related sentences that comprise a paragraph. Observe the below topic sentence and its accompanying related sentences.
Consuming fresh fruit benefits athletes since it gives them much-needed energy. To illustrate, I am a distance runner and on most days I run 5-10 miles. Two days ago, I was getting ready to run 10 miles right after I had awakened from a night’s sleep. However, I needed some energy before I could start my run. Therefore, I ate a banana, which consisted of roughly 105 calories, and I drank some water. As I ran, my body converted the banana into complex carbohydrates which gave me the energy I needed to complete my 90-minute run. If I had not eaten some fruit, I would not have had been able to complete my run.
In the above sentence, the topic sentence explains the benefit of fruit. Then the author gives an example of a runner who ate a banana before going on a 10-mile run. Therefore, this paragraph has unity.
Framing topic sentences for the TOEFL independent speaking task
The topic sentence that I create here will be based on the following paired-choice TOEFL independent speaking task:
Would you rather ride a bike or run when you exercise? Use reasons and examples to support your point of view.
1. Decide which form of exercise you like. (running is better)
2. Take notes of some key words from the speaking prompt. ( run, exercise, better)
3. Think of a precise reason why you like the one form of exercise over the other. (burns more calories)
Based on these three steps, you can now create a topic sentence:
Running is a better form of exercise than bicycling because I can burn more calories, thus helping me to lose more weight. To illustrate, I had a roommate in college when I was completing my undergraduate degree in sociology. He was more than 23 kg overweight and had tried bicycling. However, he was unable to lose any weight at all. Eventually, my friend decided to start running, and after a few months, he was running almost 10 km every day. After doing a little research, I figured out that my friend was burning about 800 calories every time he ran, so it wasn’t before long that he had lost more than 30 kg. If he had continued bicycling, he would have only been burning about 1/3 of the calories that he burned when he ran.