Creating a Thesis Statement



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Creating a Thesis Statement

  • What is a thesis?
  • According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: A position or proposition that a person advances and offers to maintain by argument
    • Simply said: A clear and concise way to state and support your opinion on a specific topic.

The thesis Statement Asks

  • What will your essay be about?
  • What is the main idea of your essay?
  • What idea or concept do you want to introduce to your reader?

Thesis Sentence

  • Focuses and directs the essay
  • Is usually one sentence
  • Can be found in the introduction (usually the last line)
  • Your opinion + support
  • Is a statement NOT A QUESTION!!!
  • Is a position that can be argued

A thesis sentence NEVER

  • Announces itself:  "I'm going to talk about . . ."
  • Personalizes:  "I think . . ."  or " I believe . . ."
  • Questions:   "Is English hard to learn?“
  • Uses unclear language: “It seems…”

Thesis Statements in a Formal Essay

  • Contain a topic (main idea of what you are writing about)
  • Contain an opinion (position) about the topic (what your attitude is toward the topic)

Important Parts of your Thesis Statement

  • Writer’s purpose: Your particular position
  • Author Credentials:
    • Author
    • Genre of literary work
    • Title of literary work
  • Subtopics: 3 supporting examples

Developing a Thesis

  • Look back over your notes for patterns of questions or ideas that interest you.
  • Pitfalls:
  • Avoid choosing too many ideas or an idea that is too complicated to easily cover or support.
  • Avoid choosing an idea that you cannot support.

Writing a thesis: Step 1

  • What is your question or idea?
  • In the movie The Little Mermaid, why does the character of Ariel makes many sacrifices?

Step 2

  • Take a position on your topic.
  • In the movie The Little Mermaid, the character of Ariel sacrifices her identity for love.

Step 3

  • Explain why/how. What are your main arguments?
  • 1. Gives up her ability to talk/sing
  • 2. Is willing to leave her mermaid family behind
  • 3. Makes physical changes, such as losing her tail, to match the image of her Prince.

Now combine them:

  • In the movie The Little Mermaid, the character of Ariel sacrifices her identity for the love of her prince by giving up her voice, abandoning her family, and physically altering her body.

A Working Thesis

  • What is a working thesis?
  • During the process of writing, you may discover new information or think of a new idea while you are composing your essay.
  • You may also find that your examples or support are leading you in a different, or more specific, direction.
  • Therefore, it is ok that your thesis statement be able to adapt. Make sure that your paper is proving your thesis statement. You may find that your thesis will end up changing over time.


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