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A topic sentence usually comes at the beginning of a paragraph; that is, it is usually the first sentence in a formal academic paragraph. (Sometimes this is not true, but as youChildren standing together in front of a white background. practice writing with this online lesson site, please keep to this rule unless you are instructed otherwise.) Not only is a topic sentence the first sentence of a paragraph, but, more importantly, it is the most general sentence in a paragraph. What does "most general" mean? It means that there are not many details in the sentence, but that the sentence introduces an overall idea that you want to discuss later in the paragraph.

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For example, suppose that you want to write a paragraph about the natural landmarks of your hometown. The first part of your paragraph might look like this:





   My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. First, it is noted for the Wheaton River, which is very wide and beautiful. Also, on the other side of the town isMeauring.png Wheaton Hill, which is unusual because it is very steep.
(Notice how the first sentence begins with "My hometown..." a few spaces to the right of the paragraph edge. This is an indentation. All paragraphs in English MUST begin with an indentation.)

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Note how the first sentence, My hometown, Wheaton, is famous for several amazing geographical features,is the most general statement. This sentence is different from the two sentences that follow it, since the second and third sentences mention specific details about the town's geography, and are not general statements.