2Thesis DON’TsAvoid starting with “I think,” “I believe,” etc. Thesis statements are always your thoughts. In fact, avoid these phrases throughout your essay. YOU are the one writing; obviously “you think” or “you believe” or “you feel” what you are writing!Don’t just state a fact. A thesis statement is something you must argue or prove (which you will do in the rest of your essay).
3A good thesis is limited. Minneapolis is a wonderful place to live because of the art, athletic, and academic opportunities available there.VS.Minneapolis is a wonderful place to live.
4Another thesis example… Springfield’s football team is good.VS.Good coaches make Springfield’s football team quick, smart, and talented.
5A strong thesis is concise. Sleepy Eye’s football team needs to make several changes in order to be competitive.VS.Sleepy Eye’s football team could be more competitive if it would pass more effectively, run faster, and think on the go.
6A strong thesis is specific. That essay was very good.VS.That essay was very good because it had solid mechanics, detailed description, and clear ideas.
7A good thesis is not simply a statement of fact. My favorite place, Birch Lake, is ideal for water sports.VS.My favorite place, Birch Lake, is ideal for water sports because the water is warm, smooth, and not very busy.
8Thesis Statement Checklist: A successful thesis:Gives you something to prove, back up, or developSums up what you are going to sayIs neither too broad nor too narrow for the scope of the assignmentDoes more than state a well-known fact (argument)Establishes a contract between you and your readers.Your readers can expect that you’ll support your thesis convincingly and interestingly and that you will not be bothering them with extraneous information.
9Your turn! Fix these thesis statements. Mr. and Mrs. Brown are two teachers who are married in this school.An examination of the benefits of college is needed.In this essay I am going to talk about the problems faced by students in a high school setting.Have you ever wondered why high school students do their work so much more slowly than they need to?Disrespect is a serious problem in today’s world.
10Now add to these statements to make them into viable thesis statements. Choose one of these to add to:1. Three important life lessons I have learned...2. My favorite hobbies include…Now choose one of these:3. Wang-Lung is a contemptuous character because…4. In The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck makes important insights regarding…
11Now add to these statements to make them into viable thesis statements. Athletes should (not) be given scholarships…Roe vs. Wade should (not) be overturned…The death penalty is (not) a just way of dealing with criminals…We (do not) need same-sex marriage laws because…
12Now write your own thesis from these sets of words. 1. College Issues2. Marriage Positive3. Homework Valuable
13___________________ clearly affects the United States government, culture, and economy. OR ________________ is affected by the United States government, culture, and economy.Example: Pearl Harbor clearly affected the United States government, culture, and economy.
14Topic SentencesA topic sentence must be a complete sentence, not a fragment.A topic sentence is usually a direct statement, not a question.The subject of the topic sentence is usually the subject idea of the paragraph.The verb and complement of the topic sentence usually show the focus of the paragraph.The focus part of the topic sentences usually presents a judgment or attitude about the subject.
15Make sure that you are using transitions between paragraphs and ideas as well. also, again, as well as, besides, coupled with, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly, accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, so then, subsequently, therefore, thus, thereupon, wherefore, as a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally, generally speaking, ordinarily, usually, chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, particularly, including, specifically, such as, for example, for instance, for one thing, as an illustration, illustrated with, as an example, in this case, above all, chiefly, with attention to, especially, particularly, singularly, comparatively, coupled with, correspondingly, identically, likewise, similar, moreover, together with, in essence, in other words, namely, that is, that is to say, in short, in brief, to put it differently, contrast, by the same token, conversely, instead, likewise, on one hand, on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, in contrast, at first, first of all, to begin with, in the first place, at the same time, for now, for the time being, the next step, in time, in turn, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, the meantime, later, while, earlier, simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind, after all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up, to summarize, finally, by the way, incidentally, here, there, over there, beyond, nearly, opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance
16IntroductionYour introduction should hook your reader, present your main ideas, and include an effective thesis statement that can be supported.Important: HOOK your readers! Tell them something interesting that is going to make them immediately interested in your topic.Ex: How many times does Wang-Lung belittle his wife, O-lan, in his words and actions? How often does he forget his wife because of his own selfishness and desire?
17ConclusionAn effective conclusion summarizes your main points in your essay and leaves your reader on a satisfied note.While you do not want to explicitly re-state your thesis statement (i.e. don’t copy and paste from your introduction), you should again mention your main points in your conclusion.