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Thesis Statements

A short presentation on how to write clear, concise thesis statements
by

Brian McDearmon

on 12 November 2013

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Transcript of Thesis Statements

Road signs in your writing:
The Thesis Statement
So what do you know about thesis statements?
No ... really. Tell me what you know about thesis statements.
Good thesis statements have 3 main qualities:
1) They are specific
Bad
Too broad
Playing Sports has many benefits
2) They are arguable
This means you can use specific evidence to make a case
Can't be argued
Chocolate chip cookies are the most scrumptious dessert in the world
3) They justify discussion and exploration
... so what?
Elephants are larger than most mammals
Thesis Statements tell your reader where they're going and what to look for.
Figuring out the point of an essay can be tricky.
The thesis statement signals to your reader
1) The subject of your essay

2) Your position
So how do I come up with a thesis statement?
1) Identify the subject of your essay
Relationships between teenagers and their parents
2) Turn you subject into a guiding question?
How does the relationship between teenagers and their parents change?
3)
Answer the question with a statement
As teens grow more independent, they resent and resist the limitations and expectations their parents impose on them.
4) Refine this statement into a working thesis statement
Conflict between teenagers and their parents is a difficult but necessary stage in kids' development
Is this a good thesis statement?
1) Is it specific?

2) Is it clear?

3) Does it answer the prompt?

4) Is it arguable?

5) Is it stated as fact? Does it use phrases such as "may be,"
"probably is," "in my opinion?"

6) Is it worthy of exploration and discussion?

Practice
What's wrong with this?
Brazil is the largest country in South America
Describe how television commercials influence children.
Television commercials have an influence on children.
Explain why young people especially enjoy hobbies
One hobby many young people especially enjoy is reading.
What qualities must a good president have?
Franklin D. Roosevelt held the presidency during the turbulent years of World War II.
How does George Orwell use symbolism in Animal Farm?
The windmill in Animal Farm is likely a symbol for the pigs' psychological manipulation of the other animals
Writing Prompt: Compare and contrast the plot of a book and a movie made from the same book.
The book, The Great Hornspoon, is both similar to and different from the movie.
Which is better?
Huckleberry Finn is a great American Novel
In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain's Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave "civilized" society and go back to nature.
Full transcript