making a thesis statement for an essay
The first example makes a generalizing statement – it isn’t clear what will be analyzed or why. The second example is much more specific, and guides the reader through the historical analysis that your paper will undertake.
The first example takes a position, but doesn’t tell the reader anything about how you will build your argument. The second example condenses the key ideas and evidence that you will use to convince your reader.
- Original thesis: Although the timber wolf is a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated. [if it’s so timid and gentle — why is it being exterminated?]
- Revised thesis: Although the timber wolf is actually a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated because people wrongfully believe it to be a fierce and cold-blooded killer.
- Original: вЂњSociety is. вЂќ [who is this “society” and what exactly is it doing?]
- Revised: “Men and women will learn how to. ” “writers can generate. ” “television addicts may chip away at. ” “American educators must decide. ” “taxpayers and legislators alike can help fix. “
- Original: “the media”
- Revised: “the new breed of television reporters,” “advertisers,” “hard-hitting print journalists,” “horror flicks,” “TV movies of the week,” “sitcoms,” “national public radio,” “Top 40 bop-til-you-drop. “
- Original: “is, are, was, to be” or “to do, to make”
- Revised: any great action verb you can concoct: “to generate,” “to demolish,” “to batter,” “to revolt,” “to discover,” “to flip,” “to signify,” “to endure. “
Here are six more thesis statement examples for you to consider:
A thesis statement is powerful on two fronts. First, it allows the reader to get excited about what, specifically, is coming their way. Second, it stands as the point of reference for your entire paper.
Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument. You’ll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, “This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I’m not convinced yet, but I’m interested to see how I might be.”
A thesis is never a question. Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question (“Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?”) is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.
Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.