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Thesis Statements!. A thesis is the main idea of your paper. It is contained in a thesis statement . So, just what the heck IS a thesis statement , anyway?. A thesis statement is a sentence that answers these questions for your readers:

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Thesis Statements!

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Thesis

Statements!


A thesis is the main idea of your paper.

It is contained in a thesis statement.


So, just what the heck IS a thesis statement, anyway?


A thesis statement is a sentence that answers these questions for your readers:

What is the subject of this essay?

What is the writer’s opinion on this subject?

What is the writer’s purpose in this essay?


Everything you write in your paper should support your thesis!!!!


What if I am not sure what my thesis is going to be in my early drafts?


In your early drafts you will use a

“working thesis.”


A working thesis is a statement of your main point in the rough draft phase.

It helps to keep you on track.


But what happens if I change my thesis as I revise my paper?


A working thesis may change as you revise and redraft what you write.

This is okay.

You are not locked into your original idea if you think of something better.


Guidelines for Writing Effective Thesis

Statements


Clearly define your opinion.

Make sure your readers know what you think.


Have only

ONE main idea.

This is not as easy as it sounds.


High school athletes shouldn’t have to maintain a certain grade-point average to participate in school sports, and the value of sports is often worth the lower academic average.


Two Theses:

High school athletes shouldn’t have to maintain a certain grade-point average to participate in school sports.

The value of sports is often worth the lower academic average.


To improve, pick one:

High school athletes shouldn’t have to maintain a certain grade-point average to participate in school sports.


To improve, pick one:

For some students, participation in sports may be more valuable than achieving a high grade-point average.


Say something worthwhile.


If you write it well, any subject can be made interesting. But some subjects are more predictable and boring than others.


Dogs have always been man’s best friends.

This essay may be full of boring clichés about dogs’ faithfulness to their masters.


Friendship is a wonderful thing.

DUH!

Again, watch for tired old ideas that just restate the obvious.


Food in the school cafeteria is horrible.

Although this essay can be livened up with some really, truly gross descriptions, the topic has been done to death.


To Improve The Last 3:

PICK A DIFFERENT TOPIC


Sometimes you are asked to write about yourself in an essay; after all, you are the world’s greatest expert on you.


The problem with this is that not all topics you generate this way will interest others as the subject is just too personal.


In this case you need to UNIVERSALIZE the thesis so that others can get into it.


The four children in my family have completely different personalities.

This might be true, but would anyone outside your family and friends really care?


Universalize the Thesis:

Birth order can influence children’s personalities in startling ways.

You can use the same examples from the last thesis, but now others are more likely to buy into it.


I don’t like to take courses that are held in big lecture classes at this school.

Why should your readers care one way or another about your class preference?


Universalize the Thesis:

Large lecture classes provide a poor environment for the student who learns best through interaction with both teachers and peers.


Limit the thesis to fit the assignment.


Nuclear power should be banned as an energy source in this country.

Can you really give the broad subject of nuclear power a fair treatment in 250 to 500 words?


Narrowed Topic:

Because of its poor safety record during the past two years, the Collin County nuclear power plant should be closed.


African-American artists have always contributed a lot to many kinds of American culture.


Narrowed Topic:

Scott Joplin was a major influence in the development of the uniquely American music called ragtime.


State the thesis in specific terms.


The women’s movement is good for the country.


More Specific:

The Alabama Women’s Party is working to ensure the benefits of equal pay for equal work for both males and females in our state.


Living away from home in an apartment for the first time can teach you many things about taking care of yourself.


More Specific:

By living in an apartment, college freshmen can learn valuable lessons in financial planning and time management.


The thesis should be easily recognizable as the main idea.

Ideally the thesis statement should show up in the first or second paragraph.


An expository or persuasive essay is not a story. You need the thesis up front in order to give your readers a context for the supporting details in the paper.


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