I see a number of reasons why essays receive poor grades as a lecturer, such as language accuracy, informal writing, weak evidence, structure, and so on. These are all important.
But, no single sentence, in my opinion, is as important as the thesis statement, though. The thesis statement is a powerful, yet underutilised, tool in the academic arsenal, and it can make or break an essay.
This article is Part 1 of a two-part project! In this part, we’ll look at some reasons why thesis statements are important. Then we’ll analyse an example of an effective one.
In Part 2, we’ll look at the 5 rules to follow when writing thesis statements.
Why is the thesis statement important?
Have you ever had any feedback where your teacher said to you, “So, what’s your point?”, or “Where is your argument?”
Have you ever found yourself with nothing to write in an essay?
Have you ever thought “Why am I writing this?”, or “I don’t even understand what I am writing”?
These questions could all be solved with clear and strong Thesis Statements (because they really are that important). I’m going to list why they are the ‘spine’ of your essay:
- They control the main argument or purpose of your essay in concise and clear language.
- They present your stance (your opinion) to the audience, and allow you to show the strength of your argument.
- They allow you to keep your essay focused on one main topic, so you can keep your essay directed.
- They set the tone for the rest of the essay. This is where first impressions count.
- They show that you have understood the essay question completely.
With these functions in mind, it is really clear that you should focus on creating an effective thesis statement.
Tip: a good time to think about your thesis statement is while you plan your essay.
Identifying an effective thesis statement:
Take a look this introduction:
There are a number of reasons why essays receive poor grades, such as language accuracy, weak evidence, structure, and so on. No single sentence, in my opinion, is as important as the thesis statement, though. The thesis statement is a powerful, yet underutilised, tool in the academic arsenal, and it can make or break an essay. In this article, I’m going to cover some reasons why the thesis statement is this important and analyse an example of an effective one.
Using the list above, find the thesis statement.
Move down when you find it…
If you highlighted this:
The thesis statement is a powerful, yet underutilised, tool in the academic arsenal, and it can make or break an essay.
Then, well done, you successfully identified a thesis statement!
Now, I want you to take a minute and answer the following questions:
Was it clear? Did it give my stance? Did it state my main argument and focus?
If you noticed, I started my thesis statement with the main topic (the thesis statement) and I chose strong language to express my opinion (such as, ‘powerful’ and the present simple tense). I also used the phrase ‘make or break’ to show the importance. From the statement it is clear that my main argument is that thesis statements are important.
So to sum up, to have a strong argumentative essay, you need a strong thesis statement. Of course, you also need to support it with relevant and convincing arguments, but it all starts with the thesis statement.
Finding thesis statements in texts (especially academic articles) can make reading articles much easier.
If you want more thesis statement fun, part 2 is coming soon! It will explain the 5 guidelines that you should follow to write an effective thesis statement.
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