ESSAY TIPS: Writing a Thesis Statement
Writing a clear, focused essay begins with creating a Thesis Statement.
What is a Thesis Statement?
A Thesis Statement is a one-sentence summary of your essay and provides a road map for its organization. Here are some tips for crafting a top-notch Thesis Statement.
How to Creat a Thesis Statement
When you’re given an essay assignment, focus on the main question that you are answering. If your essay topic is expressed as a statement, rewrite it as a question.
Now that you have that main question in front of you, answer it in a general way off the top of your head.
Why did you answer the question as you did? Why do you hold this opinion? Gather evidence to support your answer.
Brainstorm the facts, reasons, examples, proofs, and statistics that show why you answered as you did. Be sure to consult the best resources related to your subject—whether it be a history paper, science paper, literary paper, etc.
Next, read through the ideas you’ve generated and group them into three main areas.
For example, if you’re writing about a literary character, you could group your ideas into these 3 areas:
- What the character says or believes.
- What the character does. (What significant actions did the character take in the story?)
- How others view the character.
Crafting a Thesis Statement
Now take your answer to the question plus the three main areas of proof and craft your Thesis Statement. Keep in mind these requirements:
- Your Thesis Statement must assert a claim.
- Your Thesis Statement must express your attitude, your opinion, towards the topic.
- Your Thesis Statement must be debatable. Someone else should be able to take the opposite side of your opinion.
- Your Thesis Statement must briefly mention your 3 areas of proof.
Here’s an example of a Thesis Statement related to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Although in The Scarlet Letter Pearl appears to be the living embodiment of Hester’s A, her insights concerning the adults around her, her effect on those adults, and her ultimate fate show that she is more symbolic of God’s grace and forgiveness.
A detailed Thesis Statement provides a road map for how to organize the middle paragraphs of a five-paragraph essay.
So for an essay based on the statement above, one middle paragraph would discuss Pearl’s insights. One middle paragraph would discuss Pearl’s effect on adults. One middle paragraph would discuss Pearl’s ultimate fate.
Some young writers find it easier to create a Thesis Statement with fill-in-the-blank templates such as these:
- Although most readers of ____________have argued that _______, closer examination shows that _______.
- _______ uses _______ and _____ to prove that ________.
- Phenomenon X is a result of the combination of __________, __________, and _________
With enough practice, you can come up with your own favorite formula for crafting a top-notch Thesis Statement every time!
Renee Ann Smith teaches literature in a Christian high school by day and writes stories by night. She reviews books and shares inspirational posts on her blog Doorkeeper at http://reneeannsmith.com/. You can also find her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ReneeAnnSmith.