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 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 A question A sentence fragment A statement of fact Something obvious Location 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 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 Thesis = Subject + Attitude + Reasons A Good Thesis 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? Why I became a teacher. – Not a good thesis: not a complete sentence, missing reasons. A Good THESIS Statement 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? The sport of cross country running. – 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. – Good thesis: has all three elements, is not a question, is a complete sentence. Practice: Can You Spot a Good Thesis? Cancun is a popular vacation spot in Mexico. – 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. – Either is a good thesis: all three elements, arguable, complete sentence. Practice: Can You Create a Good Thesis? The problem of pollution in large cities. This is not a thesis… How can you make it into one? Practice: The Pollution Problem First, ask yourself questions about the topic: – – – – – – 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 Next, take the information you know and begin to form an opinion about the topic: – – – 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 From your opinion, fill in the space after this: 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 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 A sample outline of the paper with the thesis we made would be: – – – – – 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 Another sample outline: – – – – – 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: 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.