Difference Between Theme and Topic

Main Difference – Theme vs. Topic

Theme and topic are two essential terms we encounter in writing, and they play a unique role in your writing. It is important to know the difference between theme and topic in order to produce a good piece of writing. That is why, in this article, we are going to discuss the difference between theme and topic. The main difference between theme and topic is that theme is the central idea, or the perception conveyed through the writing while the topic is the subject treated or presented in your writing. Topics explain what the story is about whereas themes explain why the story is written.

What is Theme

The theme is the central message or the perception that is conveyed through the piece of writing. Any piece of writing, be it a story, poem or an essay, has a theme. In fact, there can be more than one theme; themes can be further divided into major themes and minor themes according to their importance.

An important fact to remember in identifying the theme in any piece of writing is that theme is not directly or explicitly given; the readers have to infer the theme. In simple words, the writer does not directly states this is the theme of the work, the reader can understand the theme only after reading and understanding the work. Accordingly, the theme is divided into two subcategories: thematic concept and thematic statement. Thematic concept is the theme inferred by the readers while the thematic statement is the theme intended by the writer. This difference illustrates that themes usually reflect the personal opinions of the writer or readers as the perception of the theme can differ according to different people.Difference Between Theme and Topic

What is Topic

The topic is the subject discussed in a piece of writing, and it explains what the story is about. Topics are easy to identify as writers generally use a direct approach to define and explain the general subject of their works. The topic is clearly stated at the beginning of an essay or another academic piece of writing.

For example, you might be asked to write about globalization. This will be the topic or the subject matter of your writing. But the themes might vary according to different people’s personal opinions.

In addition, without a clearly defined topic, the readers have no way of knowing what the story is about. A clearly defined topic also helps the writer to gather his thoughts around the central points and produce a well-organized work.

Difference Between Theme and Topic


Theme is the central message conveyed through the writing.

Topic is the subject matter discussed in the writing.


Theme explains why that particular piece of writing was written.

Topic explains what that writing is about.


Theme is not directly stated in the work.

Topic is generally directly given in the work.


Theme is specific as it reflects an opinion.

Topic is more general as it denotes the subject.Difference Between Theme and Topic - infographic

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