Introductions to Thesis Statements After you have brainstormed and you have some main ideas of what you would like to write in your essay, you can begin thinking about writing a thesis statement.
Definition A thesis statement is a complete sentencethat contains one main idea. This idea controlsthe content of the entire essay. A thesisstatement that contains subpoints also helps areader know how the essay will be organized.Look at the introductory paragraph below. Seeif you can identify the thesis statement andsubpoints.
Key Facts About Thesis Statements Is usually at the end of your introduction paragraph. States an opinion or attitude on a topic. It doesn’t just state the topic, itself. States the main idea of the essay in a complete sentence, not in a question. Often lists subpoints.
States an Opinion or Attitude Example: I learned to play many musical instruments when I was young This would not be considered a good thesis statement because it is only expressing a fact. It doesn’t give the writer’s opinion or attitude on playing musical instruments. This thesis statement doesn’t give the writer very much to explain or prove in his/her essay.
Another example: Learning to play many musical instruments when I was young helped me to become a more intelligent and well- rounded person This thesis statement is much better because it expresses how the writer feels about the experience of learning to play musical instruments. This thesis statement requires the writer to explain how and why playing a musical instrument made him/her a better person.
The “So What” The lifestyle of a teenager in the Middle Ages was very different from the lifestyle of most modern American teenagers. So what? A better version of this statement might be: Because of the relative freedom enjoyed by young people today, the lifestyle of modern American teenagers is very different from the lifestyle of teens in the Middle Ages. (this at least says why the difference exists) A young person in the Middle Ages had very different expectations about marriage, family, and personal freedom than do young adults today. (this version of the statement emphasizes the Medieval, not modern, teenager, but it still does not present an argument to be defended)
Continue: This revision of the statement above does present a point "worth making," a point one could contest or support with data: A young person in the Middle Ages had fewer options for marriage, family, and personal privacy and freedom than do young adults today. An even more detailed version of this thesis could "map" the paper for a reader: Young people in the Middle Ages, who were considered young but responsible adults by the age of sixteen, had fewer social choices when compared to modern American teenagers. Unless they followed a religious calling, medieval teenagers had to contend with an arranged marriage and bearing children while living without what we would consider personal privacy or freedom.