Essay Lab Glossary

Focusing Sentence


Some essays that you’ll write might not have an explicit thesis statement: most often Descriptive Essays or Narrative Essays. Since it’s easy to get carried away while writing all those descriptions and go off-track (we already know how easily you go off the rails), it’s always a good idea to have a focusing sentence to ground you. Another tip: hiking boots filled with pennies. You’ll never accidentally float into the sky again.

The focusing sentence is a one-line distillation of your main purpose in the essay. It might not even appear in the essay itself (sorry, focusing sentence groupies), but it will keep you on track with your writing by reminding you that all the ideas and sentences in the essay must relate back to it in some way. If a sentence doesn’t relate, it can be cut and no one will miss it. Not even its mother.


A Focusing Sentence in a Descriptive Essay might be “Fall is the most beautiful of all the four seasons.”

A Focusing Sentence in a Narrative Essay might be “Impatience leads to conflict.”