Thesis Statements - Your English Life

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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.
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