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Just as the thesis sentence holds together your essay, the topic sentence is the glue binding each individual body paragraph.A body paragraph’s topic sentence serves two main purposes: introducing the content of the paragraph and introducing the next step of your argument.
For example: You want to convince your reader that the forces of industry did not shape American foreign policy from the late 19th century through 1914, and you plan to do this by showing that there were other factors which were much more influential in shaping American foreign policy.
Both of these elements can be synthesized into a thesis sentence: Fear of foreign influence in the Western hemisphere, national pride, and contemporary popular ideas concerning both expansion and foreign peoples had significantly more influence on American foreign policy than did the voices of industrialists.
Each body paragraph presents a single idea or set of related ideas that provides support for your paper’s argument.
Each body paragraph addresses one key aspect of your paper’s thesis and brings the reader closer to accepting the validity of your paper’s argument.
A useful way to think about the construction of a thesis sentence is to view it in terms of stating both the “what” and the “how” of the paper’s argument.
The “what” is simply the basic argument in your paper: what exactly are you arguing?
A persuasive essay explains a specific topic and attempts to persuade the audience that your point of view is the most informed, logical and valid perspective on the topic.
This genre is also known as the argumentative essay.
Subsequent body paragraphs might offer further evidence for the idea presented in this body paragraph.
A good way to test the strength of both your topic sentences and your argument as a whole is to construct an outline of your paper using only your paper's thesis statement and topic sentences.