THESIS WRITING PRACTICE
Writing Prompt: Discuss the benefits of
playing team sports.
Bad:
Good:
Playing team sports has many
benefits.
The Thesis Statement
A Sentence Worth More
Than a Thousand Words
Thesis Statements
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Is a complete sentence that contains the
main idea AND your opinion.
The thesis will provide the road map for the
entire essay.
A Thesis Statement is NOT
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A question
A sentence fragment
A statement of fact
Something obvious
Location
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English readers want to know what they are
reading about.
Thesis statements must be located in the
last sentence of the first paragraph.
The Magic Thesis Formula
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A thesis statement includes three main
things.
1. The thesis must have a SUBJECT.
2. The thesis must contain your ATTITUDE
about the topic.
3. Your thesis will explain your REASONS
for your attitude.
The Magic Thesis Formula
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Thesis = Subject + Attitude + Reasons
A Good Thesis
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Will contain three elements: subject, attitude, and
reasons.
Will be located in the last sentence of the first
paragraph
Will not state the obvious
Will not be a question
Will be a complete sentence
Will serve as the road map for the entire essay…
EVERYTHING goes back to the thesis!
Practice: Can You Spot a Good
Thesis?
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Why I became a teacher.
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Not a good thesis: not a complete sentence,
missing reasons.
A Good THESIS Statement
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Subject
Looking back, there are three main
reasons I became a teacher: my love of
literature, my desire to help people, and
my interest in how people learn.
Attitude
Reason(s)
Practice: Can You Spot a Good
Thesis?
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The sport of cross country running.
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Not a good thesis: has subject but not reasons or
attitude, is not a complete sentence.
Cross country running is a sport for
everyone: you can meet new people and get
in better shape.
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Good thesis: has all three elements, is not a
question, is a complete sentence.
Practice: Can You Spot a Good
Thesis?
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Cancun is a popular vacation spot in Mexico.
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Not a good thesis: states the obvious
Cancun is a destination that you should consider
visiting because of its beautiful scenery and
impressive resorts. OR
Cancun is a popular Mexican destination, but
because of high crime rates outside of the resorts,
there are better locations for tourists, such as La
Playa del Carmen.
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Either is a good thesis: all three elements, arguable,
complete sentence.
Practice: Can You Create a Good
Thesis?
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The problem of pollution in large cities.
This is not a thesis… How can you make it
into one?
Practice: The Pollution Problem
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First, ask yourself questions about the topic:
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Why is pollution in large cities a problem?
Do I have a solution?
What is the cause of the problem?
Can the government do anything to help the
problem of pollution?
How can we, as citizens, help the problem?
Should these solutions be made into laws?
Practice: The Pollution Problem
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Next, take the information you know and
begin to form an opinion about the topic:
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Pollution is a major problem in large cities
because it affects health as well as the beauty of
a city.
Pollution can be eased by: taking public
transportation, recycling, being less wasteful.
Pollution is a major problem, and people who litter
or waste resources should be punished by laws.
Practice: The Pollution Problem
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From your opinion, fill in the space after this:
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In my paper, I will prove that…
People that do not take steps to prevent
pollution by recycling or taking public
transportation should be punished by law
because their actions have a negative effect
on the health and well being of others.
Practice: The Pollution Problem
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People that do not take steps to prevent
pollution TOPIC
by recycling or taking public transportation
should be punished by law ATTITUDE
because their actions have a negative effect on the
health and wellbeing of others. REASONS
Practice: The Pollution Problem
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A sample outline of the paper with the thesis we
made would be:
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Introduction: why pollution in large cities is a problem
Paragraph 2: how the actions of some people affect the
health of others and the beauty of the city
Paragraph 3: suggestions of laws that should be passed
Paragraph 4: suggestions of penalties for breaking these
laws
Paragraph 5: Closing
Practice: The Pollution Problem
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Another sample outline:
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Introduction: why pollution should be a governmentregulated problem and needs severe punishments
Paragraph 2: studies of how another city cleaned up by
using this method
Paragraph 3: people would be more likely to use more
environmentally friendly products if there were heavy fines
Paragraph 4: explain how this will make the city a better
place to live
Paragraph 5: Closing
A Check List:
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Here is a list of questions to help determine the strength of your thesis statement.
After revising the working thesis into a more effective statement, ask yourself the
following:
Does my thesis statement introduce readers to the argument or claim headlining the
essay?
Will this thesis evoke discussions or arguments? Can it be opposed? Or is it merely a
factual statement?
Is my thesis obscure? Is it too general? Would making it more specific be helpful for
readers?
Does my thesis guide the essay? Is it the foundation for the topics discussed in the
essay?
Is it clear that the progression of the essay pertains to the thesis statement?
Are my word choices in the thesis statement correct? Are all the words used in the
right context? Could I make the sentence stronger by cutting unnecessary words?
If I am writing a research paper, does my thesis place the essay and reader into a
larger, contemporary scholastic discourse?
Overall, do I feel comfortable with and confident about the final revision of the thesis
statement? Do I feel that it would pique a reader’s interest?
Thesis Statement Q&A
If you don’t ask, you’ll
never know.
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Thesis Statements - A One Stop Shop for all things English!