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Good Thesis Statement


A good thesis statement contains some easily recognizable components.

First, the student should remember the purpose of all good thesis statements. Thesis statements provide the reader with a very brief but thorough overview of the paper's discussion so that he or she will know what to expect. The statements operate on the premise that the reader who knows what is coming will be better able to realize what the essential information or persuasive argument of the paper is.

Second, in order to accomplish that purpose, a good thesis statement above all identifies the topic of the academic paper. The student who has written a thesis statement that does not mention the subject of the paper should certainly revise the statement. Additionally, good thesis statements mention the subject by name rather than by a pronoun.

Third, the student should make a list of the points that the thesis statement should contain. For the novice thesis statement writer, this may present a challenge, but a few principles will help the process go smoother. The student should identify all the major points that the paper makes; in most papers, this will be only three or four things. In a thesis, these points probably correspond roughly to chapter divisions; in a term paper, each of these points probably requires between a few paragraphs and several pages to explicate thoroughly. One key in this step is to differentiate between the overarching points of the argument and minor points that serve to augment the larger points. A good thesis statement only includes the most important ideas that the academic paper contains.

Fourth, the student should condense these points into a few clauses that connect together into a coherent sentence. Good thesis statements for argumentative academic writing depend on complex constructions that show relationships between the paper's subject and the points that the writer argues about that subject. The student should remember that in order to get all the clauses into one sentence, he or she may use subordinating conjunctions, well-placed adverbial phrases, and lists of clauses connected by commas.


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