A Thesis Statement

Definition

A thesis statement is a single sentence that sums up the basic idea of your paper.

Purpose

The thesis statement declares the main purpose of the entire paper. It should answer the questions: "What is my opinion on subject X? What am I going to illustrate or define or argue in this paper?" It is the single most useful organizational tool for both the writer and the reader.

Characteristics

Like any other sentence, the thesis statement has a subject and a verb. After you have decided upon the subject, write a verb to go with that subject. Remember, a good thesis statement is clear, restricted, and precise. It must deal with only ONE dominant idea.

Clear

The thesis statement should be phrased in words that are clear and concise.

Precise

Finding the right thesis statement is like fishing; you may have to throw many back before you hook a satisfactory one—one that says exactly what you want it to. A well-thought-out thesis statement controls and directs the paper; it indicates both the writer's purpose and attitude. Here, clarity and precision are preferred.

Summary of "Do's”

As you develop your thesis statement, keep the following "Do's" in mind.

Fulfill the assignment.

Assert one main idea.

Be clearly stated.

Say what it means.

State an attitude or opinion.