What is a Thesis Statement?

It is one sentence. The main idea. A summary of your work. A thesis tells the reader your most important idea without detail.

A thesis is part of every good essay. Essays must have a thesis.

Usually, you put the thesis in the first paragraph of an essay.

Thesis Sentence Pattern

Sentence pattern: ________ (what/your idea) because _______ (how/why)

Thesis Example

Here is an example. The subject is food and children. Here’s my thesis:

  • Elementary school children should not eat fast food because it has little nutritional value, doesn’t give students energy to learn and is expensive.

The first part – elementary school children should not eat fast food – is my idea.

The second part – it has little nutritional value, doesn’t give students energy to learn and is expensive – tells the reader why or how.

The sentence does not have many details. It only tells the reader my main idea. That’s the purpose of a thesis.

The Good and the Bad

There is a difference between writing a thesis statement and writing a good thesis statement.
1. A good thesis statement is short and simple: it should be no longer than one sentence, regardless of essay length.

  • Good Example: Success is a result of doing the right things consistently.
  • Bad Example: In a world full of success gurus and books about success, it becomes ever so more important to delineate the one trait that ultimately determines success: doing the right things consistently.

2. A good thesis statement is limited to one main idea.

  • Good example: The key to successful dieting is focusing on a specific goal and taking steps to reach it.
  • Bad example: The key to successful dieting is focusing on a specific goal, which is also the key to successfully running a business and coaching a football team.

3. A good thesis statement is a declarative sentence with no qualifiers (might, maybe, perhaps, etc.):

  • Good example: Lebron James' ability to score, pass, and rebound make him the league's most valuable player.
  • Bad example: Does Lebron James' ability to score, pass, and rebound make him the league's most valuable player.
  • Bad Example: Lebron James' ability to score, pass, and rebound just might make him the league's most valuable player.

What to Avoid ...

  • words like might, maybe, perhaps, etc.
  • a long, complicated thesis
  • more than one main idea

Let's Practice

Thesis Sentence
Purpose: Write clear thesis sentences.
How to use: Use the sentence pattern to write a good thesis sentence.

For example: Elementary school children should not eat fast food ...

Thesis: Elementary school children should not eat fast food because it has little nu- tritional value, it doesn’t give students energy to learn and it’s expensive.

Can you write a good thesis sentence for each question?

1. Cooking and eating at home is a good idea for university students ...

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2. Technology is improving our lives ...

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3. People should drive compact cars ...

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4. Moving to America for many immigrants is not easy ...

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