The Thesis Statement Does the thought of writing a thesis statement make you feel like this? Don’t panic!



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The Thesis Statement

  • Does the thought of writing a thesis statement make you feel like this?

Don’t panic!

  • Your English teacher is here to help.
  • Professor I. M. Cool

What makes an effective thesis statement?

  • An effective thesis statement has three characteristics:
    • It clearly expresses your paper’s main idea.
    • It communicates your essay’s purpose.
    • It has clear wording.

What a thesis statement is not

  • It is not the title of your essay.
  • It is not an announcement of your intent.
  • It is not a statement of fact.
  • It is not a mere description of your subject.

Would these examples make effective thesis statements?

  • Hybrid Cars: Pro and Con
  • This paper will discuss George Orwell’s attitude toward the death penalty in his essay “A Hanging.”
  • I want to tell you about a time I saw someone cheating and did not speak out.
  • As I look back at the accident I witnessed, I wonder why I kept silent, and now I know that I shoulda done something.

Avoid Simple Statements of Fact

  • The first polygraph was developed by Dr. John A. Larson in 1921.
  • Instead, be sure to have a point:
  • Because the polygraph has not been proved reliable, even under the most controlled conditions, its use by private employers should be banned.

Avoid Simple Statements of Fact

  • Some college students work while attending classes.
  • Instead, write something like this:
  • Working while attending college classes remains necessary for some students, but, unfortunately, several problems result from the difficulties of balancing work and school.
  • Note: Never use the word many; instead, use the word several.

What Else Do You Need to Know to Be Successful Writing Thesis Statements?

  • You should focus on writing implicit thesis statements rather than explicit ones.
  • An implicit thesis statement implies the paper’s main idea. Do not write an “I” statement, which is explicit.

Implicit or Explicit?

  • Working while attending college classes remains necessary for some students, but, unfortunately, several problems result from the difficulties of balancing work and school.
  • I will now discuss examples of how going to college and working full time puts pressure on students and results in many dropping out of school.

Implicit or Explicit?

  • I will examine the pros and cons of hybrid cars that use both gasoline and electricity.
  • Hybrid cars that use both gasoline and electricity would decrease our country’s dependence on foreign oil.

Implicit or Explicit?

  • From the misery of the untouchables, the world should learn a lesson: isolating and punishing any group of people is dehumanizing and immoral.
  • I am going to write about how the untouchables are treated in India.
  • Note: More than 160 million people in India are considered "Untouchable"—people tainted by their birth into a system that deems them impure, less than human. 

One last thing to know: Specific or General?

  • Specific thesis statements name what the writer plans to cover in the essay.
  • General thesis statements use more general language to focus the discussion and give writers much greater latitude in what they might cover.
  • You will write a specific thesis statement.

Which one is specific and which one is general?

  • Global warming will cause ice caps and glaciers to melt, oceans to warm, and sea levels to rise.
  • Global warming will have negative consequences for the environment.

Let’s Practice!

  • Rewrite these explicit thesis statements into implicit thesis statements.
    • In the following paragraphs, I will share with you the traffic problems experienced by drivers in Northwest Florida.
    • 2. In this paper, I will be writing about how the rising cost of energy is causing me serious problems.

Here are possible revisions:



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