Thesis Statement and Topic SentenceWhat is a thesis sentence?It conveys the central or main idea of the composition and indicates how themain idea will be supported.What is the difference between a thesis sentence and a topic sentence?• A thesis sentence governs the content and structure of a whole composition, whereas a topic sentence guides only one of its parts or paragraphs.• The thesis sentence plans the trip, as it were; the topic sentence shows one of the places that must be passed through to get to the destination.Where should the thesis sentence be placed within the composition?• Generally at the beginning of the composition• May be the ﬁrst and only sentence of the ﬁrst paragraph• May follow an introductory sentence or two and then come as the climax of the ﬁrst paragraphAre all thesis sentences alike in content and form?• A thesis sentence is a statement of position, of belief, or of a point of view, either your own or that of someone else, such as the author of your assigned reading.• Much like a good outline, a thesis sentence gives the plan for the composition.Divide the thesis sentence into two or three parts. • People who live in the suburbs are alike. (Undivided) • People who live in the suburbs are alike in age, race, and politics. (Divided into three parts) • Capital punishment should be abolished. (Undivided) Capital punishment should be abolished because it is useless and inhumane. (Divided into two parts) • The essay is a satire. (Undivided) The essay satirizes younger as well as older people. (Divided into two parts)Life on this earth may soon be wiped out. (Undivided)Plants, animals, and people (the so-called higher animals) may soon be wipedout. (Divided into three parts)• The second sentence of each pair above is a brief summary that tells not only where the composition is going but also how it is going to get there.• The composition must discuss each part of the thesis in the order in which it appears in the thesis.The division is for the purpose of supporting the thought or providing proof. • It may rain today. (Unsupported) o It may rain today because there are dark clouds in the sky and my barometer is falling. (Supported) • Mr. X thinks he has a cold or the ﬂu. (Unsupported) o Mr. X thinks he has a cold or the ﬂu because he has a sore throat, a headache, and a fever. (Supported) • Communication between black people and white people is often very poor. (Unsupported)
Thesis Statement and Topic Sentence o Communication between black people and white people is often very poor for two reasons: they live in different worlds and they speak different languages. (Supported)Do compositions always contain a thesis sentence?• Expository and argumentative compositions require a thesis sentence.• Narrative and descriptive compositions may not require one.Is the thesis always a single sentence?• In some cases it may be simpler or clearer to break the thesis down into more than a single sentence, especially if the main idea of the composition is unusually complex or if the composition is long.• Is the division of the thesis sentence always limited to two or three parts or supports? In a short composition of about four to eight paragraphs, plan to limit the parts or supports of the main idea to two or three. Practicing the Thesis Sentence• The most common form of the supported thesis sentence ﬁrst states the subject and then states the supports.• The supports are often introduced by words or expressions such as the following: -because -since -as -due to -by -in -in that• A punctuation mark, the colon (:), may substitute for these words and serve the same purpose.Examples • Deems Taylor calls Richard Wagner a monster because Wagner was conceited, unstable, and selﬁsh. • Christmas is an exhausting experience due to the extra energy and tension it inspires. • The profession of law demands three important qualities of mind: the ability to analyze ideas, an interest in people, and patience with details.Exercises-Try to develop these unsupported thesis sentences into thesis sentences with twoor three supports. 1. The Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking is dangerous. 2. It makes sense to drive a compact car. 3. A career in nursing offers rewarding opportunities. 4. Writing a good composition can be an exhausting experience. 5. A good marriage depends upon three important qualities in a couple. 6. Daytime television dramas are emotionally draining. 7. Men as well as women suffer from sexual stereotypes. 8. Four years of high school were (not) of great value to me. 9. Being a good police ofﬁcer demands three important qualities of mind. 10. It is dangerous to be living in this world today. 11. The Bible is a great book to study. 12. Tennis (football, baseball, etc.) is a challenging sport. 13. It is important to protect whales and other endangered species. 14. It makes sense to cook and eat at home. 15. A good vacation has three important ingredients.