Thesis Statement LUO Yuqing BUPT-SH
Definition of Thesis Statement • A thesis statement is a sentence (or sentences) that expresses the main ideas of your paper and answers the question or questions posed by your paper.
Features of Thesis Statement • It offers your readers a quick and easy to follow summary of what the paper will be discussing and what you as a writer are setting out to tell them. • The kind of thesis that your paper will have will depend on the purpose of your writing.
Exercise: Read the introductory paragraph of an essay, and answer the following questions • It has been said that each of us, at one time or another, considers committing suicide. But the real tragedy is that each year more than half a million people not only think of suiciding but actually succeed in taking their own lives. This high suicide rate is caused by a number of factors, among which psychological states, sociological conditions, and ineffective means of preventionseem the major ones.
Questions: • Which sentence presented the thesis? • Does the thesis contain a plan of development? • Write down the three controlling ideas in the thesis.
Types of thesis 1: Expository • In an expository paper, you are explaining something to your audience. An expository thesis statement will tell your audience: • what you are going to explain to them • the categories you are using to organize your explanation • the order in which you will be presenting your categories • Example: The lifestyles of barn owls include hunting for insects and animals, building nests, and raising their young. • A reader who encountered that thesis would expect the paper to explain how barn owls hunt for insects, build nests, and raise young.
Types of thesis 2: Argumentative • In an argumentative paper, you are making a claim about a topic and justifying this claim with reasons and evidence. An argumentative thesis statement will tell your audience: • your claim or assertion • the reasons/evidence that support this claim • the order in which you will be presenting your reasons and evidence • Example: Barn owls' nests should not be eliminated from barns because barn owls help farmers by eliminating insect and rodent pests. • A reader who encountered this thesis would expect to be presented with an argument and evidence that farmers should not get rid of barn owls when they find them nesting in their barns.
Tip1: Position • Generally, a thesis statement appears at the end of the first paragraph of an essay, so that readers will have a clear idea of what to expect as they read.
General subject Limited subject Family Older sister TV TV ad Sports Players’ salaries Thesis My older sister helped me overcome my problem with shyness. TV ads use the techniques of salesman to promote their messages. High players’ salaries are bad for the game, for the fans, and for the values young people are developing. Tip2:Narrow down a general subject to a proper scope
Tip3: Avoid plain announcement • “My teacher asked me to write about my parents.” • “I want to talk about the crime wave in our country.” • “The subject of this paper is about my hobby.”
“My parents are the most influential people in my life.” “Crime is a major concern of everyone in our country.” “I have many hobbies.” Too Broad “My parents had only one child.” “Last year there have been over twenty robberies in our neighbourhood.” “I read one book every week.” Too Narrow Tip4: Avoid improper scope
Tip5: Avoid vagueness • “My parents help me in my life but they limit my development sometimes.” • “Crime in the city must be stopped, and the situation in prison must be bettered.” • “My hobby is to play tennis, although I also play something else.”
Tip6: Always leave the thesis open for revision • As you write and revise your paper, it's okay to change your thesis statement -- sometimes you don't discover what you really want to say about a topic until you've started (or finished) writing! Just make sure that your "final" thesis statement accurately shows what will happen in your paper.
General Subject Dormitory Eating out Automobiles College courses Movies Limited Subject Sharing a dormitory with roommates Fast-food restaurant Bad driving habits Elective courses Famous movie star Activity: Write a thesis for every limited subject
Activity: Limit the subject and write a thesis • Pets • Teenagers • Campus • Vacations • Money
Further Resources • Academic Writing: Developing a Thesis Statement (available at http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/thesis.html) • Thesis Writing (available at http://www.rpi.edu/web/writingcenter/thesis.html) • The Thesis Statement (available at http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/thesis.htm) • How to Write a Thesis Statement (available at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/thesis.html) • LEO Thesis Statement (available at http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/thesistatement.html)