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Chapter 1

What is a thesis statement

This part of your paper should clearly identify an argument. You need to have a statement that is not only easy to understand, but one that is debatable. That means that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it as your thesis: it is obligatory to come up with an argumentative/debatable topic!

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Difference between a thesis and a thesis statement

The thesis is the point your paper is trying to prove. Here are some essential points to keep in mind about the thesis, starting with a definition.

Thesis is known as the claim or argument. Everything in a persuasive essay relates to the thesis, either as evidence, explanation, elaboration or rebuttal of alternative claims. Think of the thesis as the spine of your paper. Just as all the parts of your body are connected to the spine, and without the spine your body could not stand, so too in your essay all parts must be connected to the thesis, and without the thesis the essay cannot stand. Parts that are not connected must be revised so that they do connect, or else eliminated.

A thesis, in other words, is not the same as the thesis statement, which is a sentence or two in your introductory part that tells the reader(s) what the thesis is. The thesis is not limited to one spot in your essay; it runs through the whole thing, from start to finish.

What makes a good thesis statement

“The thesis statement is the “road map” of your paper, directing you as you write it and guiding the reader through it.”

So the "map" is good if it is clear and its "road" is good if the "grounds" are strong.

Thus, your statement is strong if:

  • It’s brief and informative.
  • It presents a clear argument with your opinion on the issue or a side of the issue you’ll support.
  • It has a logical basis. Even if sharing your personal opinion, make sure to back it up with logic or facts.
tip

Even in a personal essay that allows the use of the first person, your thesis should not contain phrases such as in my opinion or I believe. These statements reduce your credibility and weaken your argument. Your opinion is more convincing when you use a firm attitude.

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Chapter 2

How long is a thesis statement

A thesis statement focuses your ideas into one or two sentences. In words - a range can be anywhere between 20-50 words depending on your topic. However in some cases (e.g. a very in-depth or detailed paper) it may be appropriate to introduce a longer thesis statement. You should ask your professor for their advice if you think you need to use a longer thesis statement.

  • The main point to keep in mind - this part should present the topic of your paper and also make a comment about your position in relation to the topic. Your thesis statement should tell your reader what the paper is about and also help guide your writing and keep your argument focused.
  • The best rule to stick to - If you can say more using less, do it.
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Chapter 3

How to write a good thesis statement

This part of your paper is the claim you are about to make in, the point you strive to convince your reader of. It must be reasonably debatable and should distinctly convey your position on a subject.

So, we'll start here with what NOT to do:
• Don’t make your thesis too fractual.
“Boston’s Government Center is built on the site of old Scollay Square.”
The above statement is true. There is nothing debatable about it. You have left yourself nothing to prove.
• Don’t make your thesis too broad.
“Due to suburban sprawl, the American suburb is actually bad for people.”
While this point is debatable, you could write an entire book on this topic (in fact, many people have). Attempt to narrow your subject matter down to something that can be easily handled in a short paper. It’s generally better to say more about less, and in the end, a tighter focus will make it easier on both you and the reader:
“The isolation and impersonality of contemporary suburbia are having a negative effect on an entire generation, as they grow up disconnected from everything and everyone around them.”
• Don’t make your thesis too vague.
“Many modern buildings are ugly.”
While this point is debatable as well, the language is far too abstract and unclear. Try to improve on statements like this by providing more concrete ideas:
“A cement monstrosity such as Boston City Hall, while well-intentioned, is a destructive force on the architecture landscape, and negatively affects a large section of downtown Boston.”
What TO do for a strong thesis statement:

Types of thesis statements

An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic, defends and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

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Example thesis statement: High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.

An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience. Analytical essays provide an analysis of an issue or issues, breaking them down into their individual parts and presenting that analysis to the reader. Here's an example of the kind of assignment that would prompt you to write an analytical paper:

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Example thesis statement: Shaped by religious tradition and belief the supremacy of Western culture, 20th century United States foreign policy has reinforced racism against the Middle East.

An expository (explanatory) paper presents facts and research on a subject, explains something to the audience. This type of essay will ask you to explain why one thing leads to another. Alternately, it may ask you to compare and contrast two or more elements, explain how they interact with each other and have you take a position on that interaction.

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Example thesis statement: Shaped by religious tradition and belief the supremacy of Western culture, 20th century United States foreign policy has reinforced racism against the Middle East.

Sub-Types

An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic, defends and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.

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Example: Boston is a better city than New York.

Advantages: Much more specific. Lays out the structure of your paper by listing your main points. Be aware that you have now told the reader: "These are my three points and this is the order I intend to present them." You have committed to a structure. So don’t confuse the reader by starting with historical significance. Make sure you follow the path you have laid out. There is no simple rule to follow as for when you should use an open vs. a closed thesis. One rule of thumb is to keep in mind the complexity of your topic. A more complex subject may require a more sophisticated kind of thesis statement.

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Chapter 4

Thesis statement examples

Thoughtful and specific

Remember that a thesis is not the topic itself, but rather your interpretation of the question or subject. For whatever topic your professor gives you, you must ask yourself, “What do I want to say about it?” Asking and then answering this question is vital to forming a thesis that is precise, thoughtful and specific, states one idea.

  • Bad: - The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons, some of which were the same and some different. This statement is too general and simply rephrases the prompt. It does not answer how or why their reasons differed.
  • Better: - While both sides fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions. This sentence offers a more specific and debatable answer. However, it is still too broad and insupportable. You cannot defend a claim of morality in five pages, and good research would probably not lead you to this conclusion.
  • Best: - While both Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, Northerners focused on the oppression of slaves while Southerners defended their own right to self-government. This statement is specific, clear and thoughtful. Though some might disagree with your stance, your readers will know what to expect in your paper. Now it’s up to you to defend your thesis with good evidence and persuasive writing!

This statement is specific, clear and thoughtful. Though some might disagree with your stance, your readers will know what to expect in your paper. Now it’s up to you to defend your thesis with good evidence and persuasive writing!

States one main idea

If the paper has more than one main idea the reader might be confused about the paper’s subject.

  • Bad: - Companies should maximize the marketing potential of the Internet, and Facebook pages can provide both advertising and customer support. This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Facebook pages.
  • Better / Strong: - Because the Internet is filled with an abundance of marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Facebook pages that offer both advertising and customer support. This is a strong thesis because the two ideas are related to each other to make one main idea.

This statement is specific, clear and thoughtful. Though some might disagree with your stance, your readers will know what to expect in your paper. Now it’s up to you to defend your thesis with good evidence and persuasive writing!

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FAQ

Frequently asked questions about writing a thesis statement

A thesis states your position on your topic. A question cannot state anything because it is not a statement. Because the thesis statement is the overarching conclusion your paper will lead to or defend, it is not written in the form of a question. A question is a great lead into a thesis, but it can’t be the thesis.
You should provide a thesis early in your essay - in the introduction, or in longer essays in the second paragraph - in order to establish your position and give your reader a sense of direction.
The answer is - Yes! In most cases a thesis statement will be one sentence, but for more complex subjects, one may find it more effective to break the thesis statement into two sentences.
To formulate originality and uniqueness of your thought, you do not have to spend hours/days drafting the thesis and then rewriting it times and times. This difficulty can be perfectly handled with the help of the generator. Students find that using a thesis generator for research paper general areas can actually give them great ideas for topics. You will generate the thesis statements until you get the result that seems acceptable to you. An additional perk of our free generator is that it will also provide an outline for a generated thesis. And this will give you a perfect road map for your research and writing.