Difference Between Theme and Topic

The terms theme and topic are commonly seen in novels or illustrations and support the main context being conveyed. Here, in some form or way, the primary subject matter is given meaning to help the reader better understand the context.

Theme vs Topic

The main difference between theme and topic is that the former is an idea which the whole event or story revolves around. At the same time, the latter gives a straight forward opinion about the background of the written work or subject matter.

Theme vs Topic

A theme is used to describe a lesson or meaning behind a story or an event. These events and written works are entirely based around the theme, and the characters are structured around it as well.

A topic conveys the central subject matter and lets the reader connect the context of the written work directly to a sentence or a word. It gives a brief idea of the context.


Comparison Table Between Theme and Topic (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of comparisonThemeTopic
DefinitionA theme is the main lesson or setting that the whole story or event is based around.A topic gives an idea of what the context is and what the written work might be about.
PurposeIt allows an individual or author to convey a message or impart knowledge by incorporating the theme in the story.Gives the reader a “brief” insight and a basic understanding of the subject matter that is being conveyed
Objective viewConsidered to be the essence of the story, and at times provides a vague or broad interpretation of the story.A topic provides more of a straight forward and focused view of the subject matter.
ExampleA theme of a story can be about “honesty is the best policy”, or an event can have a “birthday theme.topics can be about specific matters such as “Lasers and how they work” or “Wildlife and the animal kingdom”.
SynonymsThe synonyms of theme that relate directly are – concept, message, thesis, idea.The synonyms of topic that relate directly are – subject matter, discussion, point, concern.


What is Theme?

The theme helps individuals understand the background and the setting of the story or event. The theme gives an overall understanding and meaning of the context of the story.

Every novel or storybook has some form of an underlying theme that gives structure to the story and provides a more in-depth look into the mind of the author. The theme allows users to get a sense of what the background is behind the story.

The theme allows the author to impart knowledge and lessons through their stories. There might be many hidden meanings in the story, but there is always an underlying theme around which the story revolves.

A theme can be seen in many places other than just written works, such as the theme of a party or an event. People generally organize events and base it on an idea or “Theme”, and all the attendees follow this “Theme”.

The theme of an event can range from “Birthday parties” to “Halloween themed parties” and many more different variations. The theme of a book or story can revolve around basic principle ideas such as “Always help a friend” or “Being honest.”

Themes typically provide a broader perspective and do not just focus on one main idea at a time.


What is Topic?

A topic gives the reader a brief understanding with the help of a sentence, phrase, or even a word. The topic can be seen to be the main titles or the heading of an article or story,

The context does not revolve around the topic; the topic instead gives us a look into what the subject matter is about.

Topics allow the person to grasp a small idea of the context, and authors use it to entrap the reader and to get them interested in the stories being conveyed.

One can also see topics in places like debates, casual discussions as well as professional ones, and also in many educational books. And topics can range from many things such as “Human psychology” to “The various fruits and vegetables.”

A topic gives the reader a focused objective view of the subject matter and lets them know what idea is being conveyed.

Main Differences Between Theme and Topic

  1. The theme is the central idea around which a story or event is based on, while a topic is just a sentence or word that talks directly about the context of the story.
  2. The author uses a theme to convey a message or to impart knowledge to the reader, while the topic gives a brief insight into the story or discussion.
  3. A theme gives the reader several broad perspectives, while a topic provides a focused view of the subject matter.
  4. Themes can talk about general principles and ideologies, while a topic can be about several specific things such as scientific, philosophy, etc.
  5. Words related to theme are concept, message, thesis, idea, while those related to topic are subject matter, discussion, point, concern.



The terms theme and topic are often confused with each other due to having similar meanings, but they differ when it comes to how they contribute to the structure of a story. A theme lets the author base their stories around a central idea, and hence allow them to convey a message to the readers.

A topic is a way of giving a brief insight into the context of written works, and therefore is a straight forward or focused view of the story or article. People generally organize events and base it on an idea or “Theme”, and all the attendees follow this “Theme”. Topics can range from any specific work or research idea and are also seen in places such as debates and discussions. Both these terms provide a unique understanding of the context of a story.


  1. https://literarydevices.net/theme/
  2. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/topic
Help us improve. Rate this post! Total (0 votes,average: 0)