A lot of people have been asking me lately about writing a good thesis statement. And this is a great question I’ve been planning to write on for some time now. Let’s first explore what’s the big deal about those thesis statements, and then dive in to see how to write them.
So, why is it important to write a good thesis statement? Most instructors and professors, when reading their students’ essays, very often have hard time finding the main point of the essay stated anywhere within the paper in clear language. This brings them a lot of frustration because they can’t quite figure out what exactly the essay is really about. And you can imagine what happens to the grade as a result. Needless to say, too many college essays suffer poor grades just because their thesis statements are either nowhere to be found or are so hard to find that they are often confused with other general statements.
So, just to get this out of the way, you don’t always have to write an Introduction right before you state your thesis.
But your essay MUST have a clearly written thesis statement to be considered an essay and to receive a good or an excellent grade. Your thesis statement should contain 2 things:
1. Your Thesis (that is, your main argument)
2. The Statement of why you believe the Thesis is true (in other words, a summary of your evidence)
By the way, it’s easy to remember it this way:
Thesis Statement = Thesis + Statement of evidence
So, what should your Thesis do? It should state your main point as simply as possible, most likely in only one or two sentences (unless you’re writing a long paper on a complex subject). Example:
Exercise can be addictive because of three processes.
It’s clear what the essay is about. What is it about? Exercise. It’s also clear what the writer is trying to say about exercise, which is that it can be addictive. This sentence does one more thing: it hints the reader that the evidence will be divided into 3 sections (we don’t know what they are yet).
Now, right after it has become clear what the author is talking about, the most logical thing to do is to describe briefly what those processes are. As soon as that is done, it is logical to proceed with the evidence (support). So, let’s see what are those 3 ways in which exercise can be addictive (let’s include the thesis):
Exercise can be addictive because of three processes. First, some forms of exercise stimulate the release of endorphins which are addictive. Second, exercise can give the person a feeling of muscle tone which, when exercising discontinues, fades and makes the person crave exercise to regain it. Finally, exercising regularly for about six months creates a new rhythm within the person’s physiology that makes the person wake up at the same time and just head straight to the gym without thinking about it.
This is a complete thesis statement. The part that begins with the word “First” is the statement of evidence. The author makes it clear to us the reader how exactly she plans to show that exercise can be addictive.
And as soon as the writer finishes that last sentence of the thesis statement, she should start a new paragraph and begin supporting the claims, starting with the first one – that exercise can produce the addictive endorphins.
How many sections will all of the support have? You already know the answer – it’s three: about endorphins, about muscle tone, and about new physiological rhythm. Fair enough?
I’ll come back to this again and again in my posts. If you can learn how to write your thesis statements like this, your college studies will be so much easier and more enjoyable. Can you imagine knowing exactly what you’re doing every time you sit down to write a paper? It’s a great feeling.
Questions? Ask here.