Source: _A Writer's Reference_ by Diana Hacker
A statement that contains the essay’s topic and point(s)
Gives the reader a sense of what the essay will be about
Usually comes at the end of the introduction
Most thesis statements are only one sentence
Must be a complete sentence
Everything in the essay must support the thesis.
Introduction paragraph should follow this format:
Attention getter (commonly known as a “hook”)
Introduce the topic
State the thesis
1. It can assert an argument, explain a topic, and/or analyze an issue.
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.
An persuasive paper makes a claim based on opinion, evaluation, or interpretation about a topic and proves this claim with specific evidence.
Persuasive thesis example: High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.
*If you have been asked to argue a point or choose a side on an issue, this is likely the type of thesis you will use.
*Typically, you will use this style of thesis in English 1C and transfer-level courses.
An analytical paper breaks the topic down into parts, examines each part, and determines how each part relates to the whole topic.
Analytical thesis example: An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds.
*If you have been asked to analyze a topic, issue, or reading, this is the type of thesis you should use.
*Typically, you will use this style of thesis in English 1A and transfer level courses.
An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
Expository thesis example: The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.
*If you have been asked to narrate a story or explain a process, this is likely the type of thesis you will use.
*Typically, you will use this style of thesis in English 67, English 68, AmLa and LERN classes.
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].”
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 it’s promises [point and reasons].”
Do NOT use language like, “There are many reasons people don’t like chocolate ice cream.”
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.
Don’t be vague: Words like “good,”
“bad,” “right,” and “wrong,” don’t convey specific meaning.
Cannot be a question: “Don’t you think animal testing is inhumane?”
Does not give the point of the paper.
Leaves it open for readers to fill in the blank.
1. Determine essay’s topic (what you’re talking about)
Example: Pixar’s film Up
2. Determine what kind of paper you are writing and what kind of thesis statement you need to use: analytical, persuasive, or expository.
Example: Persuasive=It’s not really a “kid” movie.
3. Determine the way you will construct your thesis: list or umbrella?
4. 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.
1. Early on in life, people develop an admiration for heroes. In a well-developed essay, discuss a person you admire and why you chose this person.
One person I admire is Babe Ruth, who played baseball from 1914 until 1935.
Although this does address the writing prompt, this is a factual statement. A thesis statement should be something you can argue for or against.
One person I admire is Babe Ruth, the greatest baseball player of all time.
This statement addresses the prompt, and presents and opinion that can be argued.
2. …Discuss the social, political and economic effects of World
War II on the United States.
World War II was a costly war that had a major impact on the economy of the United States
Although this is meets all the criteria for a thesis statement, it only addresses part of the writing prompt.
Remember, the statement tells the reader what to expect. With this as a thesis, one would only expect to read about the economic effects.
World War II not only affected the economy of the United
States, but also altered the role of the American government and the American people forever.
This is correct because it addresses the social, economic and political effects as stated in the prompt. Notice that the words people (social) and government (political) were used in this statement. This makes the sentence more original and shows the reader that you know what “social” and “political” refer to.
3. … Describe three physical features of Latin America and their importance to the region.
The Andes Mountains, the Amazon River and
Yucatan Peninsula are the three most significant physical features in Latin America.
This statement gives an argument, it presents the three physical features asked for in the prompt, and makes reference to the importance (significance)
Three physical features found in Latin America are the Andes Mountains, the Amazon River and the
Yucatan Peninsula , which are all vital to the region.
This is a topic sentence. The reason it is not a good thesis is because it does not present an argument or address the whole prompt. It is a factual statement.
To make it a strong thesis, you must add to it.
4. Discuss the effect of climate and the vegetation on Sub-Saharan Africa.
Be sure to discuss the factors contributing to climate, and the impact human activity has on the vegetation.
Human activity is altering the the vegetation of Sub-
Saharan Africa and causing desertification, which will have devastating effects on the people of the region.
This one would be perfect for a thesis, there is only one thing wrong with it. It does not address all of the writing prompt. It only addresses the vegetation, but not the climate or the factors for climate.
Even though the climate and vegetation of Sub-Saharan
Africa varies as a result of latitude and human activity , they are still the two most important factors in determining the quality of life .
This statement gives an argument, and address all aspects of the writing prompt (topic, effect, factors).
Notice how you do not have to go into detail, just give the reader a hint of what you will write about.
5. In South Asia, globalization has played a big role in the developing economies of the region. Discuss the positive and negative effects of globalization in one South Asian country.
Globalization in India has offered solutions to poverty for some and created more severe poverty for others.
There is an opinion (it has offered solutions, it has created more severe poverty). It addresses the positive (solutions) and negative (poverty) effects.
In India, globalization has meant new jobs for India’s emerging middle class.
Again, this would be a perfect thesis statement, if the prompt only asked for the effects of globalization. The prompt, however, specifies positive and negative effects. This is only positive.
Based on the topic below, create an 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 ECHS student
Be prepared to share!
List: “Though ECHS may offer rigorous courses, each student can be successful [topic+point] as long as they study, receive tutoring, and meet with their instructors
Umbrella: “ECHS can be a challenging school, but all students can be successful [topic+point].”