Thesis Statements THE MOST IMPORTANT SENTENCES YOU’LL EVER WRITE! What is a thesis? It’s your main idea sentence! It tells 1. 2. the topic of your essay what you want to say about your topic Example Thesis Homework is an essential part of the learning process for English language learners. What is the topic? What is the author going to say about the topic? This is called the controlling idea. What makes a good thesis? Well, there are general rules* that you need to follow: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. A thesis statement must be a statement, not a question. A thesis statement must be a complete sentence. That means that it must have a subject and a verb with a tense. A thesis statement is an opinion and shows intent; it cannot be a simple statement of fact. A fact does not need any support, and therefore you cannot write an essay about it. A thesis statement must state the controlling idea. This means that you must state your position on the topic; you cannot simply announce the topic. A thesis statement should have only one controlling idea. *Taken from Writing to Communicate 2 (p. 69-70) Other things to consider A thesis statement should be specific and not too general. If your thesis is too general, you will have to write a book to support it! However, a thesis statement should not be too specific either. If your thesis is too specific, you probably won’t be able to write enough about it. You’ll be writing a paragraph instead of an essay. A thesis statement should avoid overgeneralizations. This means you usually don’t want to include all people or all things. You need to qualify or limit your topic (most, some, many, etc.) Predictors You will often see thesis statements that list the main points of the essay. These are called predictors. Predictors help you, as the writer, stay focused on your main idea and on supporting your main ideas. They also help the readers predict the organization of the essay. This helps them more easily follow and understand your essay, which should be your goal when writing. Example Homework is an essential part of the learning process for most groups of English language learners because 1 2 it provides them with additional practice, it lets them 3 recognize what they don’t understand, and it shows the teacher what areas still need improvement. What are the predictors in this thesis? Good or Needs Improvement? Get together with your partner and decide if these statements are good or not. If they’re not good, be able to explain why. 1. Stress has many harmful effects. 2. Teenagers need to be taught how to avoid, deal with, and relieve stress in order to reduce the amount of teen depression and number of teen suicides in the United States. 3. Teen suicide is a serious problem in this country and so is teen depression. 4. Should homework be required or optional in college? Good or Needs Improvement? 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. People who smoke should pay higher taxes for several reasons. There are advantages and disadvantages to animal testing. This paper discusses regulations on tobacco products as a way to reduce smoking. Same-sex marriage: the natural next step for marriage in the United States. It is the responsibility of parents, not schools, to teach children moral values and right from wrong. People should be required to vote because it’s their duty as a citizen, it encourages involvement, and it’s the foundation of a democratic society.