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Thesis Statements 101. RWWS | Mr. Smith. What’s a thesis?. “A single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view” “Your answer to the central question or problem”. From The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 6 th ed, by Joseph Gibaldi. The thesis formula:.

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thesis statements 101

Thesis Statements 101

RWWS | Mr. Smith

what s a thesis
What’s a thesis?

“A single sentence that formulates both your topic and your point of view”

“Your answer to the central question or problem”

From The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 6th ed, by Joseph Gibaldi.

the thesis formula
The thesis formula:

Thesis = topic + opinion

a strong thesis should
A strong thesis should…

…be a complete sentence.

…be debatable.

…be specific.

…be a strong statement that takes a stand.

…communicate your opinion or idea about a topic.

…appear as the last sentence in your introduction.

Adapted from “Thesis Statements” (available online at

a thesis should not
A thesis should not…
  • …be a question.
  • …be a quotation from another source.
  • …be an “In this essay, I will…” statement.
good thesis or not
Good thesis…or not?


What does Mother Culture tell us?

  • This sentence is a question, not a statement of opinion.
good thesis or not1
Good thesis…or not?

In this essay, I will explain how to save the world.

  • This sentence states what will happen in the essay – it does not provide an opinion.


good thesis or not2
Good thesis…or not?

Ishmael tells us that “the world was made for man and man was made to rule it.”

  • This sentence includes a quotation from an outside source, so it cannot be the essay writer’s opinion.


good thesis or not3
Good thesis…or not?

World hunger has many causes and effects.

  • This thesis is too general; it doesn’t establish a clear guiding opinion for the essay.


good thesis or not4
Good thesis…or not?

Hunger is a problem in African countries because jobs are scarce and farming is rarely profitable.

  • This thesis takes a stand—hunger is a problem—and gives specific reasons for that problem.


good thesis or not5
Good thesis…or not?

There are positive and negative aspects to Banana Herb Tea supplement.

  • This statement doesn’t take a stand. Is Banana Herb Tea supplement good or bad overall?


good thesis or not6
Good thesis…or not?

Because Banana Herb Tea supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

  • This thesis takes a stand (i.e. that Banana Herb Tea is dangerous) and states specific reasons for it.


good thesis or not7
Good thesis…or not?

Welding is a good career choice.

  • This statement is focused on one idea, but it is too general.


good thesis or not8
Good thesis…or not?

Kanye West is a talented rapper, but Jay-Z is good, too.

  • This statement has more than one idea. It’s not clear whether the paper will focus on Kanye or Jay-Z.


good thesis or not9
Good thesis…or not?

George Washington was the first President of the United States.

  • This statement is a fact, not an opinion.


good thesis or not10
Good thesis…or not?

Blues guitar is a unique art form because of the opportunities for expression and self-reflection it offers the musician.

  • This thesis is a single, specific sentence that clearly states an opinion about the topic.