The thesis statement is one sentence that tells the main idea of an essay. It tells the argument that you are going to defend. It states a claim and takes a position. In the essay you will defend your position using examples and/or facts to support your argument. Can you find the thesis statement in the following examples?
Definition Thesis Statement
Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a teacher. Being the oldest made me the teacher and the student of many lessons that I would later have to teach my younger siblings. Teaching requires a person’s full attention. It also demands an extreme amount of patience. Being a teacher warrants a full commitment from the teacher. Teaching is a demanding, yet rewarding job.
Thesis Statement: This last sentence states the main idea of the essay.
Thesis Statement Another Example
Studies show that teenagers would benefit from a later school start. A later school start could mean more time for students and teachers to rest. This could also mean that teachers are more productive and could plan better lessons to engage their students in learning. Finally, a later start in school gives parents more time in the morning with their children. Middle and high schools should begin later in the morning to allow greater success in the school system.
Thesis Statement: The main idea of the essay is school should begin later.
Writing Situation: There has been a problem in local schools with discipline and violence. Your school board has decided to institute a school uniform policy in order to cut down on these problems, based on the positive examples that they have seen at other schools.
Consider the issue of school uniforms. What is your position on this issue?
Directions for Writing: Write a persuasive essay to giving reasons for our position on the school uniform issue.
School uniforms are not connected to violence.
The introduction of school uniforms may decrease violence, however, there may be other detrimental effects as a result of this new policy.
Your reader likes to know what the essay is going to be about early on in the essay rather than the end of the essay. Because of this, the thesis statement is usually found at the end of the introductory paragraph.
In America, freedom of expression is a right that our forefathers fought foe. Lunch is a social time for students where they can express themselves with their friends. It is also a time when students don’t have to talk about school. Finally, allowing students to express themselves in lunch allows for less off-topic discussion during classes. Silent lunch is a violation of students’ first amendment rights and is not an acceptable solution the loud noise in the cafeteria.
Key Features Location
Maya Angelou is an accomplished African-American author in the United States. While growing up, she suffered tremendous hardship. Some of her most difficult life events are portrayed in novels and poems such as, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and, Still I Rise. Her written works often include strong themes such as perseverance through trials, love for family, and passionate optimism.
A thesis statement states an opinion or attitude about a particular topic, making the thesis more specific. The writer must defend or explain this opinion in the essay. Look at the following slides to see examples.
Key Features States an Opinion or Attitude
I learned to play many musical instruments when I was young.
Learning to play many musical instruments when I was young helped me to become a more intelligent and well-rounded person.
This would not be considered a good thesis statement because it is only expressing a fact. It doesn’t give the writer’s opinion or attitude on playing musical instruments. This thesis statement doesn’t give the writer very much to explain or prove in his/her essay.
This thesis statement is much better because it expresses how the writer feels about the experience of learning to play musical instruments. This thesis statement requires the writer to explain how and why playing a musical instrument made him/her a better person.
An Opinion or Attitude Another Example
Cancun is a popular vacation spot in Mexico.
This would not be considered a good thesis statement, because it is only expressing a fact. It doesn’t reflect the writer’s opinion or attitude on Cancun. This thesis statement doesn’t give the writer very much to explain or prove in his/her essay.
Cancun is one of the best vacation spots in Mexico because of its comfortable climate and proximity to some well-known archeological sites.
This thesis statement is much better because it expresses how the writer feels about Cancun. This thesis statement requires the writer to explain how and why going to Cancun is a good choice for visitors.
At all costs, you should avoid using “I’m going to write about…” or “This essay will discuss…” in your thesis statements. Try to write the thesis statement in a way that will capture your reader’s attention, but does not state the obvious.
Don’t State the Obvious
In this essay, I’m going to talk about why students shouldn’t have to wear uniforms.