Information+on+writing+a+good+thesis+statement

Information+on+writing+a+good+thesis+statement - 1.4.1 What...

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1.4.1 What Is a Thesis Statement? We will be talking about thesis statements quite a bit this semester. We will be writing thesis statements, revising them, and using them as tools to help us revise our essays. So let me clarify what I mean by the term "thesis statement." By the way, some of the explanation that follows will be more specific or slightly different from some things you find in your handbook. Where there is any conflict, this document rules. Perhaps the first step would be to clarify what I do not mean by the term "thesis statement." A thesis statement, as we will be using the term this semester, is not necessarily a sentence that appears in the first paragraph of your essay. Your thesis statement might appear in the first paragraph, or the last paragraph, or it might not appear in the essay at all. I do not mean by a thesis statement something that you necessarily write before writing the essay. I will often ask you to write a "trial thesis statement" before submitting a draft of your essay; the term "trial" means that this is not a thesis statement you are committed to. The only reason for asking for a trial thesis statement is to allow us to have something to discuss in class. You will usually not finish writing your thesis statement until you have nearly finished writing and revising your essay. Because your thesis statement may or may not appear in the body of your essay, I will ask you to always put your thesis statement at the very end of your essay, labeled and printed as a separate paragraph after your last paragraph or after your list of works cited, if you have one. So what is a thesis statement? A thesis statement is a single declarative sentence that states what you want your readers to know, believe, or understand after having read your essay . If we understand that definition, it will be a lot easier to work with thesis statements, so let's take a minute to break it down into its component parts and make sure we see what it contains. 1.4.1.1 A thesis statement is a single sentence. A thesis statement, in other words, is only one sentence, not two or three or more. Why? Because the thesis statement is the main point you want to make in one essay; so it should be one sentence. Frederick Crews defines an essay as "a short piece of nonfiction that tries to make a point in an interesting way." What makes it an essay is that it aims to make a point, one point. This doesn't mean that you can only make one assertion in an essay. But it means that all of the many claims you make must fit together, that they must all support or lead to a single point (claim, conclusion) that defines the whole essay. And if everything you say in an essay supports a single point or claim, then you can express that claim in a single sentence. Notice that nobody is saying that it must be a short sentence or a pretty sentence. But it must be one sentence, not two or more sentences. If you can't express the main point of your essay in one sentence, your essay probably doesn't have one point; it probably has two. And
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This note was uploaded on 10/02/2011 for the course WRITING 101 taught by Professor Gulya during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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Information+on+writing+a+good+thesis+statement - 1.4.1 What...

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