What are the differences between thesis statements and topic sentences?

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A thesis sums up your whole paper.
A topic sentence sums up each paragraph.
A thesis is a statement that sums up what the logical conclusion of your argument is.

A topic sentence is often just the first sentence of a paragraph of your argument. In other words, it summarizes the factual basis or logical conclusion for one point of your argument.
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Fiction, like food, is of different nutritive values. Some is rich in protein and vitamins; it builds bone and sinew. Some is highly agreeable to the taste but not permanently sustaining. Some may be adulterated and actually harmful to our health.

But what about differences in foods? Are there any nutritional differences between foods?

The topic sentence of this paragraph is the first sentence. In exposition, writing intended to give information, this is usually the case. The subject of both the sentence and the paragraph is fiction. The word "different" indicates that this paragraph is going to be developed using a comparison and contrast approach. Saying that fiction has different "nutritive values" further indicates that the writer is going to develop his comparison and contrast by using an analogy: different kinds of fiction are like different kinds of food.

The thesis statement is the question in the last part of the topic sentence. Now you have to prove you thesis statement. Are there differences between foods?
What are they? Why are they important? What can be learned about their differences?

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Topic sentences serve as the focus of each paragraph within the report or paper. Thesis statement is the focus of the entire report or paper and everything in the report or paper should support the thesis statement. The thesis statement is usually the last sentence of the introductory paragraph(s).
A thesis statement says exactly what you are going to prove with your thesis, and what you will further support in your thesis defence. A topic sentence is the first sentence of an essay, and is simply an introductory statement.

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