Thesis Statements

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Associate Program Material
Thesis Statements
What is a Thesis Statement?
If you have ever worked in an office with computers, your computer was probably connected to a
network. In a network, there is one main computer to which all the other computers send and
receive information. If that base computer shuts down, all the other computers shut down—
everything centers on that one computer. In the same way, every word, sentence, and paragraph
in an essay must relate to or center on the thesis statement. A thesis statement informs readers
in a concise manner regarding your intention in writing the paper.
o matter what type of paper you write—e!pository, argumentation, or research—the center of
your paper is always your thesis statement. "rom now through the rest of your educational
courses, instructors want you to have a well#developed thesis in your essays. "or this reason, it is
important that you learn to write effective thesis statements.
$hile writing your paper, you have a working thesis which is tentative and most likely changes
as you find support and write your paper. %ou may write and rewrite a thesis several times while
developing an essay.
The concept of the thesis statement may be difficult for beginning writers to understand. The
following are some characteristics of an effective thesis statement&
• A thesis is only one sentence. 'ne of the most common mistakes students make is to
write a number of sentences and call it a thesis. A thesis statement, however, is singular
and must be only one sentence consisting of () words or fewer.
• A thesis makes an assertion related to the topic of the essay. It is what you want to prove
in your essay.
• The thesis should be located near the end of your introduction.
• *verything in your paper must support, be related to, or point back to your thesis
statement.
• A thesis answers the +uestions ,-ow./ or ,$hy./
• A thesis passes the ,So what./ test—what does this topic have to do with anything. $hy
should I care. $hy should others care.
Thesis Statement Fallacies
There are a number of errors that may be made while writing a thesis statement. A thesis
statement is not
• a fact or observation.
Incorrect& The 0nited States has many homeless people.
Thesis Statements
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Correct& 1ecause the homeless population is still widespread in the 0nited States,
2ongress, organi3ations, and individuals must do more to improve the
problem.
• a generali3ation.
Incorrect& 4en take all the good 5obs and get paid more.
Correct& 6ecent research shows men are still earning a significant amount more than
women in the same positions7 therefore, employers and the government
must do more to narrow this gap.
• an e!aggeration.
Incorrect& "ad diets are e!tremely unhealthy.
Correct& 4any fad diets are dangerous because they may harm the human body, they
often lack proper nutrients, and they may easily cause a person to regain
original weight.
• a +uestion.
Incorrect& Is it right for the media to portray women the way they do.
Correct& The way media and -ollywood portray women with unobtainable standards
of beauty has a negative effect on young girls8 self#esteem.
• too broad.
Incorrect& All animals are uni+ue.
Correct& The hippopotamus is one of the most unusual and interesting animals within
the animal kingdom.
• too narrow.
Incorrect& The song ,2op 9illa/ is offensive.
Correct& 4usic with vulgar language or inappropriate messages may negatively
influence young children and teenagers.
• an announcement.
Incorrect& This essay talks about how legali3ing mari5uana is incorrect.
Correct& 4ari5uana must not be legali3ed because it may lead to greater social ills.
• vague or general.
Incorrect& :ane Austen was a good author.
Correct& :ane Austen was an e!emplary author in 1;th#century 1ritain because of her
uni+ue use of characteri3ation and plots detailing significant social issues.
• written in first person.
Incorrect& I believe second#hand smoke is bad for people.
Correct& <eople of all ages should avoid second#hand smoke because it poses one of
the deadliest health risks today.
E!ation "or #e$elo%ing a Thesis Statement
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>imited Topic ? 2ontrolling Idea, <oint, Attitude, or Slant @ Thesis
-ealthful >ifestyle& *ating a well#balanced diet ? *!ercise @ may help you lose weight, live longer,
and feel better
E&am%les o" Well'Written Thesis Statements
The following are well#written thesis statements&
• *!ercising
Schools must emphasi3e e!ercise to a greater e!tent so children understand the importance
of lifetime fitness.
• Smoking
1ecause second#hand smoke causes health problems, it must be banned in all public places.
• *arning a 2ollege *ducation
It is critical that everyone receive some formal post#secondary training for the 0.S. economy
to continue to grow.
Although the above theses are already well written, the writers may continue to revise the
statements once further research is undertaken.
Wra%'(%
Analytical thinking and hard work are involved when writing a thesis statement, so beginning
writers can easily become frustrated trying to incorporate all the characteristics of an effective
thesis. "or this reason, you rewrite your thesis statement a number of times7 however, in the end,
you have a specific and focused thesis that is easier to develop and support.