Whenever you write an essay, you must hone in on a main idea, a main point, or a central message. Everything that follows your thesis statement must harken back to it, your essay's main idea.
This will bolster your main point, allowing you to elaborate in a clear, coherent manner with supporting evidence. Even your conclusion must harken back to your thesis statement. So, what is a thesis statement and how do you draft a strong one? Let's talk.
So, we know a thesis statement is your main idea. It basically answers the question, "What is this essay about?" You must be able to sum up everything you're about to elaborate on in a concise sentence or two. Otherwise, the essay won't work. It will appear scattered and disjointed if you can't put the spotlight on a central theme or primary argument.
Introduce your thesis statement at the end of your introductory paragraph. It's the link that will join your opening thoughts with each of your supporting paragraphs. To open with a bang, you simply have to make a specific, strong statement that you plan to follow up on throughout the rest of your essay. Without question, specificity is the key. Which sample below appears more specific to you?
There are many things to do in Ireland.
Ireland offers a wealth of historical and artistic learning opportunities to every visitor. There's much to explore, from 10th century castle ruins to traditional Irish music sessions.
You can avoid loose generalities by employing coordinating conjunctions such as "and," "but," "for," "nor," "or," "so," and "yet." Other helpful words that will allow you to elaborate in a clear, concise manner include subordinating conjunctions such as "although," "because," "since," and "through."
When you develop robust clauses, remember to be careful with your comma usage. For example:
Although Dublin is Ireland's capital city, true exploration begins in the small fishing villages of the west coast.
It's important to separate clauses with a comma. If you have two ideas that are linked, but not entirely the same, that's where you'll want to place the comma. Wherever there might be a natural pause in our speech, that's also where you'll want to place a comma. For more on that, enjoy 8 Times Commas Were Important.
The other side of the coin is a run-on sentence. In an effort to be specific, you don't want to overlook proper punctuation. Take a look at these two samples:
When considering the cuisine in Ireland don't overlook them as a culinary superpower since they offer a wealth of seafood delights.
When considering the cuisine in Ireland, don't overlook them as a culinary superpower. They offer a wealth of seafood delights.
In terms of clarity, punctuation is as important as the words we select. A run-on sentence can quickly be cleaned up with a simple period and a clean, concise, follow-up point.
In an argumentative thesis statement, you're going to make a claim. You're making an argument. That means it's not necessarily a factual statement, nor is it a personal response. Rather, it's an idea that may provoke opposition, but your supporting evidence is going to back up your claim and - possibly - encourage readers to adopt your viewpoint. In these essays, it's okay to be assertive.
An explanatory thesis statement presents a specific subject to the reader. It's not necessarily a strong claim. Instead, it proposes ideas for thoughtful consideration; take it or leave it. The goal is to explain. These kinds of thesis statements are prevalent in research essays. In a way, they're a "deeper dive" into an area of knowledge.
Sometimes it's easier to consider what not to do. In the case of thesis statements, it's best to avoid vague words that don't contribute to the overall idea. At least for these two sentences or so, you might want to avoid adjectives and adverbs. Examples include "interesting," "exciting," "difficult," or "really." Let's look at some examples of thesis statements. We'll examine an original proposal, followed by its revised edition.
Original Proposal: In this essay, I will discuss the deterioration of the family unit.
Revised Edition: Gone are the days when children's grandparents lived in the in-law apartment downstairs. Today, families are scattered all across the globe, relying on technology to keep them united.
It's not enough to simply state what's about to come. Remember, specificity is key and the original statement is lacking in detail.
Original Proposal: There are advantages and disadvantages to adoption.
Revised Edition: Adoption allows parents to expand their families, even in the face of reproductive challenges. While the process isn't easy, featuring a wealth of paperwork and an extensive amount of time, it usually balances out in the end.
Sure, you're not going to outline every detail of your essay in your thesis statement. However, you have to consider that the reader is going to say, "So what?" after they've read your introductory paragraph. Does your thesis statement provide enough of a "tease" to entice the reader to want to learn more?
Original Proposal: The media has become a breeding ground for hatred.
Revised Edition: When you turn on the television, don't be surprised if you're met with news anchors who curse the president and engage in face-flushing debates with political pundits. The landscape of television news reporting has changed so drastically that, today, it's a breeding ground for hatred.
The term "media" may not be considered jargon, but it is specific to the world of communications and journalism. Will everyone reading your paper know what you're referring to? Also, you still have to answer the "so what?" component of your thesis statement as you prepare to support your claim with supporting evidence.
That's what a thesis statement boils down to. You're setting yourself up for success. Success comes knocking at your computer screen when you introduce a clean line of thinking that's properly punctuated and stands a chance at fighting against the "so what" proposition. For more practice and study, check out these examples of thesis statements too.
When you're ready to go beyond your introductory paragraph, here's more on how to write an essay. Then, similar to how you want to reel readers in with your thesis statement, you also want to leave them wanting more with your concluding paragraph. Here's more on how to write a conclusion.
Good luck changing the world, one essay at a time!