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THESIS STATEMENTS

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by

Mark Giansanti

on 24 November 2014

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Transcript of THESIS STATEMENTS

THESIS STATEMENTS
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is the main idea of an essay.
It is a point that you want to argue or support.

The thesis statement explains to a reader:
the main idea of the essay
the writer’s opinion about that idea
A thesis statement is:
usually one sentence.
placed in the introductory paragraph of an essay.
either the first or last sentence in the introductory paragraph.
a claim that can be debated.
a map that shows the route of your argument.
Thesis statements avoid the following:
the first person
I believe, In my opinion, etc.
unclear language
It seems, etc.
attempting two topics at once, even if they seem related.
Pick one and stick with it.
just stating a fact
A thesis is something you will make an argument about.


A thesis statement:
contains a topic
main idea of what you are writing about
contains an opinion about the topic
what your attitude is toward the topic
does not tell readers about something
answer the questions "how?" or "why?" about a topic
A thesis statement should not be too broad.
Too Broad:
Fights between giant monsters are cool.

Better
In a fight, Godzilla would toast the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
Which sentence is the best thesis statement for a 5 page paper?

A. The North and South fought the Civil War for many reasons.

B. While slavery was the major cause of the Civil War, the North fought for moral reasons while the South fought to preserve its own institutions.

C. While Northerners and Southerners believed they fought against tyranny and oppression, the Norther focused on ending slavery while the South defended states' rights.
The last statement is the best choice because:
It is specific, concise, and clear.
There are arguments that can be made against your position.
Readers know, after reading the statement, what your paper will focus on.
A thesis statement should not be too wordy.
Wordy
Some problems with Highlands Middle School are that it needs a larger playground, an air conditioned gym, restrooms in each classroom, running water in the labs, and a number of other physical changes to the building.

Better
Highlands Middle School needs several changes to its facility to make it a better school.
Which sentence is too wordy to be a good thesis statement?

A. Abe Lincoln was one of the best presidents the United States has ever known.

B. Abe Lincoln was an excellent speaker, the 16th President of the United States, a liberator of slaves, led the Union to victory in the Civil War, and redefined what the US stood for with the Gettysburg Address.
A thesis statement should not be too general.
Too general:
World War I was important.

More specific:
The First World war significantly impacted art, literature, and philosophy.
Which sentence is too general to be a good thesis statement?
A. Music makes people happy.

B. Music therapy is useful in relieving anxiety and other, stress related, conditions.
A thesis statement should not be a title.
A title:
Famous Movie Monsters

A thesis statement:
There are five movie monsters that have set the standard for all that have followed.
Which is a thesis statement and not a title?

A. The invention of the internet has allowed information and ideas to spread farther more quickly and have a greater impact.

B. The internet and the spread of ideas.
A thesis statement must not be a fact.

A fact:
The average winter temperature for Death Valley is in the 30’s and in summer is in the 100’s.

A thesis statement:
The climate in Death Valley varies greatly but has led to the evolution of interesting plant and animal life.
Which of the following is a thesis statement and not a fact?
A. The recycling of one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
B. Recycling is one of the most important jobs a person can do to protect our environment.
What it Determines
The thesis sentence must control the entire argument.
Your thesis sentence determines what you are required to say in a paper.
It also determines what you cannot say.
Every paragraph in your paper exists in order to support your thesis.
If one of your paragraphs seems irrelevant to your thesis you have two choices:
get rid of the paragraph
rewrite your thesis.
The Contract
Understand that you don't have any choice with how your thesis matches the information you present.
If it is not in the thesis you cannot put the idea in without preparing the reader for it in your thesis.
The thesis is like a contract between you and your reader.
If you introduce ideas that the reader isn't prepared for, you've violated that contract.
The Structure
The thesis sentence provides structure for your argument.
A good thesis:
signals to the reader what your argument is
how your argument will be presented
Your thesis sentence, either directly or indirectly, suggests the structure of your argument to the reader.
Thesis statements are made up of your topic and a specific assertion about that topic.
THESIS = TOPIC + ARGUMENT BEING MADE
The four "SHOULDS" of a thesis statement.
1. take a stand
2. justify discussion
3. express one main idea
4. be a manageable topic
SUMMARY
Test your thesis statement by asking these questions:
1. Does my thesis sentence attempt to answer a challenging intellectual question?
2. Is the point I’m making one that would generate A discussion / argument?
3. Is my thesis too vague or too general? Should I focus on a more specific aspect of my topic?
4. Does my thesis deal directly with the topic at hand?
5. Does my thesis indicate the direction of my argument? Does it suggest a structure for my paper?
6. If I am writing a research paper, does my introductory paragraph set stage for my topic?
7. Is my thesis statement clear and concise, and showing a situation that will be explained in the paper?
Find the opinion words in the statement. If there are no opinion words, it is not a thesis statement.
Although most people believe otherwise, bats are harmless and highly beneficial.
In this essay I will discuss the crime rate in Mountain City.
Energetic exercise is a good way to help relieve stress.
DAPSS and DMA differ in many ways.
This paper will consider the advantages and disadvantages of students having nightly homework.
Hate speech should be eliminated for many reasons.
In each of the following pairs of sentences, identify both the good and bad thesis statement.
1.
Community service projects include building shelter for the homeless, servicing meals to the hungry, providing transportation for the sick, distributing clothes, and a large number of other helpful activities.

2.
Students should help others who are less fortunate.
3.
Sixth grade students are busy.

4.
The life of a typical sixth grade student is challenging due to the need to succeed in extracurricular activities.
5.
I enjoy white water rafting.

6.
The first white water rafting trip can challenge a person both in body and spirit.
9.
Rap music is the best music ever.

10.
Although many people find rap music offensive, it has had a positive impact on today’s youth.
7.
Many people do not like to watch violent horror movies.


8.
Today’s movies do not have the emotional impact of the classic horror movies of the 1940’s.
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