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GROWING TOWARDS BEING A WRITER Thesis Statements and Essay Structure.

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1 GROWING TOWARDS BEING A WRITER Thesis Statements and Essay Structure

2 Essays Essays are made up of paragraphs. An essay should have at least 5 paragraphs, but there is no hard or fast rule on length. – The first paragraph will almost always introduce the topic of the essay. The last sentence of the introduction will usually be the thesis statement. – The middle or body paragraphs make up the details that support the thesis statement. – The last paragraph is the conclusion and reminds the reader of the main point while offering any last bits of analysis or information.

3 Thesis Statements Thesis statements are to an essay like a topic sentence is to a paragraph. It is the main and controlling idea for an essay which tells the reader what to expect in the coming pages.

4 What Makes a Good Thesis? Like a topic sentence, a thesis statement should be both broad enough to support an entire essay, yet not so broad to extend past the length of the assignment. A thesis statement should also present something more than a statement of fact or more than straight opinion. It should offer the reader something to consider as the work through your essay.

5 Many people have different opinions on whether people under twenty-one should be permitted to drink alcohol, and I agree with them. The question of whether we need a national law governing the minimum age to drink alcohol is a controversial issue in many states. I want to give my opinion on the national law that sets twenty-one as the legal age to drink alcohol and the reasons I feel this way. To reduce the number of highway fatalities, our country needs to enforce the national law that designates twenty- one as the legal minimum age to purchase and consume alcohol. The legal minimum age for purchasing alcohol should be eighteen rather than twenty-one. The writer’s opinion is not clear to the reader. It may introduce a thesis, but there is no clear opinion stated. What is the writer’s opinion? There is a clearly stated opinion that will be supported in the essay Clear position that will be supported – I would argue this is a good first draft thesis

6 A Good Thesis Also Maintains one clear idea The proposed no-smoking ordinance in our town will violate a number of our citizens’ civil rights, and no one has proved that second hand smoke is dangerous anyway. The proposed no-smoking ordinance in our town will violate our civil rights. The most recent US Health Department studies claiming that secondhand smoke is dangerous to nonsmokers are based on faulty research.

7 Has something worthwhile to say A thesis statement shouldn’t just be a fact. Global warming is a problem and many countries are trying to pass measures to stop it from getting worse. There has been little proof in recent years that zero- emissions vehicles are preventing the worsening of global warming.

8 Fits the Assignment Remember that the thesis should control an essay equal to the length of the assignment. For a 3-5 page essay, which is the better thesis statement? – Nuclear power should be banned as an energy source in this country. – Because of it’s poor safety record during the past two years, the Collin County nuclear power plant should be closed.

9 Common Thesis Mistakes Don’t announce: – Your reader knows that you will be talking about something in your essay –that’s the whole point. State an attitude toward the subject. Don’t say “I believe” or “in my opinion:” – Your reader also knows this is your essay – your name is at the top. Therefore, your reader knows it’s your opinion. Don’t be unreasonable: – Making irrational claims will only make your reader think that you haven’t done any studying about your topic. Don’t state a fact: – We need a bit of your view on something to make an essay work Don’t use a question: – Asking a question as a thesis statement can give the reader doubts as to your credibility. If you can’t give a solid statement of opinion and topic, why should the reader believe anything you say that follows?

10 Practice Let’s work through some of these as a class:

11 More Practice With a partner, take one of the thesis statements below and develop three topic sentences for body paragraphs. – You will each need your own copy, so take notes for yourself Whoever said that history is nothing but polishing tombstones must have missed History 201, because in Professor Brown’s class history is very much alive. By networking with friends, a single parent can manage to strike a balance among work, school, a social life, and family. So far, research suggests that zero-emissions vehicles are not a sensible solution to the problem of steadily rising air pollution.

12 Essay Structure Thesis Statement Paragraph 1: Topic Sentence PS Ssa Ssb Ssc Etc. Paragraph 2: Topic Sentence PS Ssa Ssb Ssc Etc. Paragraph 3: Topic Sentence PS Ssa Ssb Ssc Etc. Intro conclusion

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