The Thesis Statement The Roadmap of Your Essay What is a thesis statement?

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The Thesis Statement

  • The Roadmap of Your Essay

What is a thesis statement?

  • Theeee…the.a.a.a…the-what? THESIS??? What the fox is that??? What would the fox say about a thesis statement?

Definition Thesis Statement

  • The thesis statement
  • One sentence
  • States a claim
  • Tells readers what the essay will be about
  • DOES NOT contain “I”
  • Outlines 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 and increase attendance.

Key Features Thesis Statement

  • Answers the prompt
  • States the main idea in a complete sentence, not a question
  • Usually at the end of an introduction
  • May state an opinion or attitude on a topic

Key Features Answers the Prompt

  • Prompt
  • Student Responses
  • 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 with uniforms.
  • Consider the issue of school uniforms effect on violence. What is your position on this issue?
  • Directions for Writing: Write a persuasive essay giving reasons for your position on the school uniform issue.
  • School uniforms are not connected to violence.
  • Does not answer the prompt completely
  • Answers the prompt

Key Features The Main Idea is a Complete Sentence

  • The sport of basketball.
  • Why is writing the best subject?
  • The sport of basketball is an engaging and healthy sport to play.
  • Writing is a very challenging subject yet rewarding, because one can express his/her emotions, thoughts, and reflections.


  • Marcus Garvey and the Harlem Renaissance.
  • How can pollution be solved in big cities?
  • Marcus Garvey is the most important figure of the Harlem Renaissance because of his ability to rally people behind a cause, to make speeches, and to defend civil rights.
  • The problem of pollution in major cities can be alleviated by decreasing car usage through increase use of bikes, trains, and buses.

Key Features- Location

  • 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 for. 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 States an Opinion or Attitude

  • A thesis statement
  • States an opinion or attitude
  • The writer must defend, prove, or explain this opinion in the essay

An Opinion or Attitude Another Example

  • Cancun is a popular vacation spot in Mexico.
  • This would not be considered a 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.

Key Features Don’t State the Obvious

  • Don’t say “I” or “Me” or “My” or “Mine”—we know it’s YOUR opinion since you are the author…DUH!
  • Don’t say “In this essay” or “In this paper”—we know it is an essay/paper since that is the assignment…DUH!
  • Don’t use the word “discuss” or “talk” or “inform”—we know that is what you are going to do because it’s required in a literary analysis…DUH!
  • Be specific, so readers know what you will be discussing

Don’t State the Obvious

  • In this essay, I’m going to talk about why students shouldn’t have to wear uniforms.
  • A dress code requiring students to wear uniforms can inhibit student expression, quench creativity, and deter students from enjoying school.

Don’t State the Obvious

  • This essay will discuss why teachers should not be permitted to assign homework to students.
  • Homework is a nuisance that causes headaches for teachers, students, and parents and should not be assigned.

Key Features Review

  • Answers the prompt
  • States the main idea in a complete sentence, not a question
  • Usually at the end of an introduction
  • States an opinion or attitude on a topic
  • Does not use first person POV

Practice Exercises

  • Individually (but you can work with
  • Someone next to you, if you choose)…
  • Look at the thesis statements given on the half sheet…
  • Decide if it is strong or weak
    • Weak? Rewrite the statement
    • Strong? Decide what the body paragraphs will be about
    • *******Example 1*****
    • WEAK: I think TV commercials have a negative influence on children
    • REWRITE: TV commercials have negative influence on children because they create violence, obesity, and lack of communication.
    • *******Example 2*****
    • STRONG: TV commercials have negative influence on children because they create violence, obesity, and lack of communication.
    • BODY PARAGRAPHS: Violence, obesity, and lack of communication

Practice Exercises

  • Now it’s your turn!
  • The theme of To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is ________.
  • The theme of _________ in TKM by Harper Lee is shown through....
  • TKM by Harper Lee explores the themes of ___________, which is still relevant in society today, because ______________.
  • TKM by Harper Lee should/should not be banned, because the theme of ___________ is ______________.
  • Challenge yourself and don’t use one of these templates, but create your own!

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