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THESIS STATEMENTS Presentation by Erin Tyson Mt. SAC Writing Center

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2 THESIS STATEMENTS Presentation by Erin Tyson Mt. SAC Writing Center

3 Thesis Statement: a position or proposition that a person advances in an effort to maintain an argument

4 General Tips about Thesis Statements  A statement that contains the essay’s topic and point (argument/stance)  Gives the reader a sense of what the essay will be about  Usually comes at the end of the introduction, but sometimes comes in the conclusion  Most thesis statements are only one sentence.  Must be a complete sentence (able to stand on its own if removed from the paragraph)  Everything in the essay must support the thesis.  Introduction narrows to the thesis. Think of a funnel.

5 What Does a Thesis Do? 1. It is an assertion that constructs the argument. 2. It is specific in presenting the writer's position. 3. It limits both scope and topic of the paper. 4. It captures the reader's interest and focuses that interest on the topic.

6 Creating a Thesis Statement  Determine essay’s topic (what you’re talking about) Example: Pixar’s film Up  Determine essay’s point: persuasive, informative, or argumentative (what are you trying to say about the topic) Example: Persuasive=It’s not really a “kid” movie.  Determine the type of thesis you are going to use: working, list, umbrella, or implied  Put it all together! Example: Pixar’s most recent film, Up, should not be considered a “kid” movie because its character conflicts and main theme of loss are too complex for children to understand.

7 Types of Thesis Statements: Working  This is used to get you, the writer, going, but it will not appear in the final essay.  Start off with something like, “In this essay, I will...” or “I am going to argue that...” and then insert the topic and point of the essay.  Example: “In this essay, I am going to talk about global warming and try to persuade Mt. SAC students that there are things they can do to reduce it.”  This isn’t a strong thesis, but it’s a direction to help you get started.  To change a working thesis into one you can use in your essay, chop off the “announcement” portion of the sentence.

8 Types of Thesis Statements: The List (Essay Map)  Contains essay’s topic, point, and three supporting reasons  Example: “To reduce the number of highway fatalities [topic and point], our country needs [purpose=persuasive] to enforce the national law that designates twenty-one as the legal minimum age to drink, set up check points on major holidays, and take away licenses from convicted drunk drivers [three reasons].”

9 Types of Thesis Statements: The Umbrella  Contains essay’s topic, point, and alludes to reasons why the reader should believe you.  Do not directly state the supporting reasons, but instead allude to them.  Example: “Although thought to be humane and necessary, animal testing [topic] for medical and cosmetic purposes does not live up to its promises [point and reasons].”  Do NOT use language like, “There are many reasons people don’t like chocolate ice cream.”

10 Types of Thesis Statements: Implied  Does not come in the normal thesis spot because it is understood throughout the entire essay  Not directly stated in the essay  Difficult to do because all material must clearly point to one purpose that is not stated  Often comes in narratives

11 Thesis Don’ts  Announce your thesis: “In this essay, I am going to tell you about Mt. SAC college and why you should go there.” (Side note: Some instructors may encourage this type of statement, and always do what your instructor suggests.)  Confuse Your Reader: Just make sure that the topic and point are clear.  Cannot be a fact: Doesn’t allow you to prove anything because it’s already factual.  Cannot be a question: “Don’t you think animal testing is inhumane?”  It allows readers to determine the point of your essay.

12 Activity: Create Thesis Statements  Based on the topic below, create a working, umbrella, and list thesis statement  Make sure to include the topic, point, and possibly reason(s) in each of the statements.  Topic: Being a successful Mt. SAC student  Be prepared to share!

13 Possible Thesis Statements  Working: “In my essay, I am going to persuade even the most distraught student that they can become successful [topic+point] as long as they study, receive tutoring, and meet with their instructors [reasons].”  List: “Though Mt. SAC may offer rigorous courses, each student can be successful [topic+point] as long as they study, receive tutoring, and meet with their instructors [reasons].”  Umbrella: “Mt. SAC can be a challenging school, but all students can be successful [topic+point].”

14 Activity: What’s Your Thesis?  If you have brought an essay you’re working on, take it out.  Find the thesis (if you have one).  Underline the major parts of the thesis we discussed today.  If your thesis statements is lacking any of the major parts, make sure to revise it so that it includes what we have discussed.

15 Directed Learning Activity  Now complete the exercises in the directed learning activity.  When you are done, sign-up to see a tutor on the “Walk-in” list. Next to your name write “DLA.”

16 Where can you get additional help?  Location:  Location: Building 26, Room 1561A (Behind the wall clock)  Contact Information: Call 909.594.5611 x5325 for questions and/or scheduling appointments

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