Thesis Statements! - Springfield Public Schools

Thesis Statements!
Thesis DON’Ts
 Avoid starting with “I think,” “I believe,” etc. Thesis
statements are always your thoughts. In fact, avoid
these phrases throughout your essay. YOU are the
one writing; obviously “you think” or “you believe” or
“you feel” what you are writing!
 Don’t just state a fact. A thesis statement is
something you must argue or prove (which you
will do in the rest of your essay).
A good thesis is limited.
 Minneapolis is a wonderful place to live because of
the art, athletic, and academic opportunities
available there.
 Minneapolis is a wonderful place to live.
Another thesis example…
 Springfield’s football team is good.
 Good coaches make Springfield’s football team
quick, smart, and talented.
A strong thesis is concise.
 Sleepy Eye’s football team needs to make several
changes in order to be competitive.
 Sleepy Eye’s football team could be more competitive
if it would pass more effectively, run faster, and think
on the go.
A strong thesis is specific.
 That essay was very good.
 That essay was very good because it had solid
mechanics, detailed description, and clear ideas.
A good thesis is not simply a statement of fact.
 My favorite place, Birch Lake, is ideal for water
 My favorite place, Birch Lake, is ideal for water
sports because the water is warm, smooth, and not
very busy.
Thesis Statement Checklist:
 A successful thesis:
 Gives you something to prove, back up, or develop
 Sums up what you are going to say
 Is neither too broad nor too narrow for the scope of the
 Does more than state a well-known fact (argument)
 Establishes a contract between you and your readers.
Your readers can expect that you’ll support your thesis
convincingly and interestingly and that you will not be
bothering them with extraneous information.
Your turn! Fix these thesis statements.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown are two teachers who are married
in this school.
An examination of the benefits of college is needed.
In this essay I am going to talk about the problems
faced by students in a high school setting.
Have you ever wondered why high school students do
their work so much more slowly than they need to?
Disrespect is a serious problem in today’s world.
Now add to these statements to make them into
viable thesis statements.
Choose one of these to add to:
1. Three important life lessons I have learned...
2. My favorite hobbies include…
Now choose one of these:
3. Wang-Lung is a contemptuous character because…
4. In The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck makes important
insights regarding…
Now add to these statements to make them into
viable thesis statements.
Athletes should (not) be given scholarships…
2. Roe vs. Wade should (not) be overturned…
3. The death penalty is (not) a just way of dealing with
4. We (do not) need same-sex marriage laws
Now write your own thesis from these sets of words.
1. College
2. Marriage
3. Homework
 ___________________ clearly
affects the United States
government, culture, and
________________ is affected
by the United States government,
culture, and economy.
 Example: Pearl Harbor clearly affected the
United States government, culture, and
Topic Sentences
 A topic sentence must be a complete sentence, not a fragment.
 A topic sentence is usually a direct statement, not a question.
 The subject of the topic sentence is usually the subject idea of
the paragraph.
 The verb and complement of the topic sentence usually show the
focus of the paragraph.
 The focus part of the topic sentences usually presents a
judgment or attitude about the subject.
Make sure that you are using transitions between
paragraphs and ideas as well.
also, again, as well as, besides, coupled with, furthermore, in addition, likewise,
moreover, similarly, accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, for this
purpose, hence, otherwise, so then, subsequently, therefore, thus, thereupon, wherefore,
as a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally, generally speaking, ordinarily, usually,
chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, particularly, including,
specifically, such as, for example, for instance, for one thing, as an illustration, illustrated
with, as an example, in this case, above all, chiefly, with attention to, especially,
particularly, singularly, comparatively, coupled with, correspondingly, identically,
likewise, similar, moreover, together with, in essence, in other words, namely, that is,
that is to say, in short, in brief, to put it differently, contrast, by the same token,
conversely, instead, likewise, on one hand, on the other hand, on the contrary, rather,
similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, in contrast, at first, first of all, to begin
with, in the first place, at the same time, for now, for the time being, the next step, in
time, in turn, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, the meantime, later, while, earlier,
simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind, after all, all in all, all things
considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the
whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up,
to summarize, finally, by the way, incidentally, here, there, over there, beyond, nearly,
opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance
 Your introduction should hook your reader, present
your main ideas, and include an effective thesis
statement that can be supported.
 Important: HOOK your readers! Tell them
something interesting that is going to make them
immediately interested in your topic.
 Ex: How many times does Wang-Lung belittle his
wife, O-lan, in his words and actions? How often
does he forget his wife because of his own selfishness
and desire?
 An effective conclusion summarizes your main points
in your essay and leaves your reader on a satisfied
 While you do not want to explicitly re-state
your thesis statement (i.e. don’t copy and paste from
your introduction), you should again mention your
main points in your conclusion.
 Thesis statement
 Topic sentences
 Transitions
 Introduction
 Conclusion

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