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Writing for Clarity
Topic sentences should make the arguments necessary to support your thesis. If you're not sure about your topic sentences, try this: Isolate your thesis and topic sentences, and put them in the form of an outline. If the outline would allow someone to follow your argument without the rest of the paper, then you've got clear, argumentative topic sentences. If your outline is a list of noncommittal observations, take a stand and argue it in each topic sentence. If your outline is missing an important idea, you've probably hidden a good topic sentence in the middle of a paragraph — good ideas should be up front!
SOURCE: Catie Ferrara '11, Writing Center tutor