The Thesis Statement
The thesis statement serves at the controlling
idea of the paper. It represents the entire argument or analysis,
distilled into one or two condensed sentences. As such, the thesis
statement must be
The topic cannot be too broad for a short paper, nor beyond the
research capabilities of the author.
or interpretive. It cannot be a mere statement of fact, nor merely
a statement of opinion. It should instead capture the best of
your creative analytical thinking.
Avoid listing components of your coming analysis! The "list"
type of thesis statement promises doom in the form of a fragmented
paper. You may have been taught long ago to select a topic and
come up with three ideas about it. Hence you had five-paragraph
essays (introduction, three ideas, conclusion)--peachy long ago
when teachers wanted you to learn structure, but now we move on
to more sophisticated and impressive writing.
It should be full but concise, gaining its authoritative force
from its precision and uniqueness. Avoid slang and cliché
In addition, ideal thesis statements tend
Try to reach beyond the run-of-the-mill kinds of interpretation.
If you have done careful observation and reasoning, and can convey
these in the paper, you can go beyond the norm in your thesis
statement. The best kind of thesis statement ought to raise
Do not ask unanswered questions in your thesis
paragraph that you misguidedly think can take the place of the
actual statement (e.g., "But what is the real significance
of the film Planet of Dinosaurs? Hmmm.").
Don't be coy and withhold your idea in the
foolish hope that you will intrigue your readers at first and
surprise them later (e.g., "The real significance of the
film Planet of Dinosaurs is quite interesting!").
And, don't state in stilted, wooden fashion
what the paper will do (e.g., "This paper will examine four
different aspects about Mattel's 'Let's Get Anorexic' board game.").
Just make the statement!
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