The sentence that captures your position on this main idea is what we call a thesis statement. A thesis statement focuses your ideas into one or two sentences. It should present the topic of your paper and also make a comment about your position in relation to the topic. Your thesis statement should tell your reader what the paper is about and also help guide your writing and keep your argument focused.
You should provide a thesis early in your essay -- in the introduction, or in longer essays in the second paragraph -- in order to establish your position and give your reader a sense of direction. Your thesis statement should be as clear and specific as possible. Normally you will continue to refine your thesis as you revise your argument s , so your thesis will evolve and gain definition as you obtain a better sense of where your argument is taking you.
Your thesis should be limited to what can be accomplished in the specified number of pages. Shape your topic so that you can get straight to the "meat" of it.
Being specific in your paper will be much more successful than writing about general things that do not say much. Don't settle for three pages of just skimming the surface. The opposite of a focused, narrow, crisp thesis is a broad, sprawling, superficial thesis. Compare this original thesis too general with three possible revisions more focused, each presenting a different approach to the same topic :.
Your thesis statement is no exception to your writing: it needs to be as clear as possible. By being as clear as possible in your thesis statement, you will make sure that your reader understands exactly what you mean.
These words tell the reader next to nothing if you do not carefully explain what you mean by them. Never assume that the meaning of a sentence is obvious. To avoid misunderstandings, be as specific as possible. Compare the original thesis not specific and clear enough with the revised version much more specific and clear :. Do not expect to come up with a fully formulated thesis statement before you have finished writing the paper.
The thesis will inevitably change as you revise and develop your ideas—and that is ok!
Start with a tentative thesis and revise as your paper develops. Avoid, avoid, avoid generic arguments and formula statements. They work well to get a rough draft started, but will easily bore a reader. Keep revising until the thesis reflects your real ideas.
Avoid formula and generic words. Search for concrete subjects and active verbs, revising as many "to be" verbs as possible. A few suggestions below show how specific word choice sharpens and clarifies your meaning. Use your own words in thesis statements; avoid quoting. Crafting an original, insightful, and memorable thesis makes a distinct impression on a reader. You will lose credibility as a writer if you become only a mouthpiece or a copyist; you will gain credibility by grabbing the reader with your own ideas and words.
A well-crafted thesis statement reflects well-crafted ideas.
It signals a writer who has intelligence, commitment, and enthusiasm. Wright St. Degree Ph. How long does it need to be? Tip : In order to write a successful thesis statement: Avoid burying a great thesis statement in the middle of a paragraph or late in the paper. Be as clear and as specific as possible; avoid vague words.
For more information, contact the Writing Center. Skip to main content. How do I write a thesis statement?
Download Thesis Statements Explained Handout. A Thesis Statement: can be a statement of substantiated fact or can offer a well-supported opinion.
Weak and Strong Thesis Statements Sample Prompt : Write about an animal that would be an excellent pet and explain why. Strong Thesis Example: Cats make great pets because they are fun to watch, independent, and low maintenance. Weak Thesis Examples : Too broad: Bluegrass music is more popular than people think it is.
Too narrow: Bluegrass music includes the use of a washboard as an instrument. Off topic: Country music is a great music genre. Strong Thesis Example : Bluegrass music is a smaller branch of country music, uses unique instruments, and has strong roots in the southern United States.
Too narrow: All Boise residents should drive a Toyota Prius to reduce gas consumption. Off topic: Smart cars have excellent gas mileage. Strong Thesis Example : People should consume less gas because gas pollutes the environment, is costly for consumers, and is more expensive to produce than alternative energy sources.
Weak Thesis Examples : Too broad: Coleridge is a literary genius.