Thesis vs. Topic Sentence

Thesis vs. Topic Sentence

“What’s the difference between a thesis and a topic sentence?”

As a teacher and writing coach, I am asked this question A LOT. So, here’s the skinny. A thesis statement and a topic sentence are basically the same thing:


  • Both are a single sentence.
  • Both need to be clear, concise, and to the point.
  • Both require the use of both sides of your brain to form them.
  • Both are a unifying statement that expresses your perspective or sentiment about a subject.
  • Both can make us yowl.

Here are some key differences:

                                            THESIS                                                    TOPIC SENTENCE

Guides a book, chapter, section of longer work, or essay
Guides a paragraph
Takes more time and space
to substantiate or prove
Substantiates or proves a thesis
Broader in nature
(example: Blogging is fun.)
Very specific
(example: Blogging is a fun way to meet
people online.)

For those of you who are yowling through academic papers. I hope this helps.

Did this Yowling Creator post help you? If so, how?

23 Responses to “Thesis vs. Topic Sentence”

  1. Mayra R says:

    Yes, the post about “Thesis vs. Topic Sentence” really helps me to get a clear picture about these two concepts; because it does explains in detail about similarities at the same time differences between both of them. For example, one of the similarities that echoes in my mind is the one that, either for the thesis or the topic sentence, it requires the use of the right and left side of the brain. On the other hand, one of the key difference is that the topic sentence is deeper in description; in contrast, the thesis is more general or superficial on its description.

  2. Jennifer Puga says:

    This Yowling Creator post is very helpful in defining a thesis and a topic sentence. The graph is useful because it makes it easier to understand the differences. A thesis is needed for the essay while the topic sentence is needed not only for the paragraph but for the thesis also. Both the thesis and topic sentence require the left and right brain to be used, which can cause a lot of frustration for the writer to come up with one defining sentence. As it is said and probably acted upon before, both sentences can cause writers to yowl. The post is a great reminder on the similarities and differences of a thesis and a topic sentence.

  3. Lisa Marie says:

    I’m glad you both found the post helpful. Sometimes we can drive ourselves loony, as a thesis and topic sentences are intimately related when part of the same essage. In an essay, I like to think of the thesis as a “parent” and the topic sentences as the “children.”

  4. Antonieta Murillo says:

    The Yowling Creator post helped me understand the similarities and differences between the thesis statement and topic sentence. The chart clarifies the use of both. In my future writing I will try to stop the yowling by putting in practice this helpful tips. I’m making a copy of this post!

  5. Alexxis Schorr says:

    This post is great. The chart really helps me break down and define what the differences should be to help me make my thesis and topic sentences clear in structure as well as diction. Sometimes it is hard to keep my thesis for being too specific. I tend to try and answer who, what, when, where, and how in my thesis. This can be tricky to do without giving a ton of information away. This chart gives me clear guidelines for both! Thanks!

  6. Someone says:

    I actually never knew that. I thought the thesis and the topic sentence were the same and I always got confused about it when my English teacher told us to write it. Thanks for clearing that up! 🙂

  7. Miguel Gutierrez says:

    While reading the “Thesis vs. Topic Sentences,” I discovered the differences between both. The thesis is needed for the essay process and the topic sentences is always needed for the creation of a paragraph and for the thesis as well. I believed that the combination of both “Thesis vs. Topic Sentences” are the key element for your yowling cration, because they guide you to your final thought. This chart really clarifies the use of both elements for success.

  8. Elena Medina says:

    When I read the article “Thesis vs Topic sentence.” I clarify my understanding about these concepts that basically are the same thing. They have some differences,as thesis goes deeper in concept and topic sentence is more specific, but both of them need to be clear,concise, and go to the point.

  9. Suelen E Santos says:

    I have not ever thought about the differences between Thesis and Topic Sentence.
    This post is very helpful to make me understand that there are some similarities, but
    also some differences between these two concepts. And when we understand the
    differences, we can keep more loyalty for what our purpose is.

  10. Christinah Uppal says:

    The compare box really helped show the differences. Thanks!

  11. Kimberly Marshburn says:

    I used to have such difficulty with writing theses statements. I used to freak out with them since my whole paper was supported in a single sentence. But when I realize how similar a topic sentence and thesis statement are, it takes away that freak out moment. I’ve never stopped to think about how similar the two are!

  12. Natalie Reagan says:

    When writing an essay I can get confused sometimes on what type of information I need to put in a thesis statement or topic sentence. I feel like I am to vague and dont have a clear starting point. The information on how specific the topic sentence is and how general the thesis is was helpful to me.

  13. Andrew Martin says:

    This definitely helps. Simply thinking about something in a different manner can make performing the activity infinitely easier, and I can definitely say that I haven’t considered comparing a thesis and a topic sentence before.

  14. Sara Nunez says:

    It definitely help to have those concepts clear. Thank you!

  15. Vanessa Walters says:

    Writing a thesis is hard, but writing a topic sentence is worse. For some weird reason, I find it very difficult to write a since sentence that sums up and guides a paragraph. Most of the time I write a topic sentence, it ends up too long and convoluted so I end up having to change it. In papers, I generally end up just writing a short, introductory sentence for a topic sentence and leave it be.

  16. Miguel Gutierrez says:

    Yes, this post about “Thesis vs Topic Sentence” has helped me to understand the importance of a creation. I think these two elements are very essential during a creation of any report or document. Because, the “Thesis” will help you to have a general idea of a subject, and the “Topic Sentence” will support the foundation of your creation that you will want to create with a smooth transition to each other. When you have a solid foundation on your writing your readers will be able to connect with you. This process reminds me of a passage from the Scriptures. The passage mentions the comparison of building a house on the sand and building a house on a rock. Which one will be standing for others to see?

  17. Sandra Funes says:

    Thank you for posting this information, is very helpful especially now that I have to write a research paper. To see the comparison side by side of the two makes it easier to understand.

  18. Elena Medina says:

    I was thinking about this specific question. What’s the difference between thesis an topic sentence when both of them are practically the same thing? It is essential to have a clear understanding of these differences when you writte a paper. Thesis implies a broad theme that needs be narrowing by brainstorm if you want to provide it. Topic sentence is very specific about your thesis which facilitate you search to investigate it . Also gives you the foundation to create your thought or idea and then you can communicate it to others.

    • Lisa Marie says:

      Great question, Elena! A topic sentence is for a paragraph. A thesis is for an essay, chapter, or book. They serve the same function: to keep the reader focused on the main point. In a research paper or longer work, there will be one thesis and then several topic sentences that support it. I hope this helps!

  19. Tania Ortega says:

    The post “Thesis vs Topic Sentence” is very helpful. I’ve always been confused between the difference of a thesis and a topic sentence. Knowing the difference and the importance of these two have helped me a lot write my most recent essays. The thesis has helped me focus on the general topic of my whole essay. The topic sentences have helped me organize my paragraphs.

  20. nadia says:

    thanks alot but when it given to you to diferentship between them not as rules but in a sentence, it quit confusing.

  21. Luis Renteria says:

    Personally, I think this chart is useful because it facilitates the understanding of differences.
    This Yowling Creator post is very useful for defining a thesis and a topic sentence. A thesis is necessary for the essay, while the topic sentence is necessary not only for the paragraph but also for the thesis. Both the thesis and thematic sentence require that the left and right brain be used, which can cause much frustration for the writer to arrive at a sentence that defines. It really is very good.

  22. Yesica caciano says:

    The Yowling creators way has helped me understand the difference between thesis and the topic sentence. Although they are very similar I can see the difference I have struggle a lot to understand both since they are very similar but the thesis has helped me focus on what I’m going to be writing about and start to create. The topic sentence gives me the boost to start creating after brain storming .


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