Sample Thesis Statements
|Topic||Thesis Statement = Topic + Your Position on it|
|Drunk driving||Anyone found guilty of drunk driving should have their licenses revoked for five years.|
|College internships||The college internship program provides important benefits for participants.|
|City mass transit||In the next ten years, Americans will be forced to embrace mass transit in their cities.|
Importance of Tone
Tone is established in the wording of your thesis, which should match the characteristics of your audience. For example, if you are a concerned citizen proposing a new law to your city's board of supervisors about drunk driving, you would not want to write this:
“It’s time to get the filthy drunks off the street and from behind the wheel: I demand that you pass a mandatory five-year license suspension for every drunk who gets caught driving. Do unto them before they do unto us!”
However, if you’re speaking at a concerned citizen’s meeting and you’re trying to rally voter support, such emotional language could help motivate your audience.
Using Your Thesis to Map Your Paper for the Reader
In academic writing, the thesis statement is often used to signal the paper's overall structure to the reader. An effective thesis allows the reader to predict what will be encountered in the support paragraphs. Here are some examples:
Use the Thesis to Map
|Thesis Statement||Support Paragraphs|
|Anyone found guilty of drunk driving should have their licenses revoked for five years.||Paragraphs will present reasons why drunk drivers should have their licenses revoked.|
|The college internship program provides positive consequences for participants.||Paragraphs will contain examples of positive consequences.|
|In the next ten years, Americans will be forced to embrace mass transit in their cities.||Paragraphs will show how changes over the next ten years will bring about mass transit.|
Three Potential Problems to Avoid
Because your thesis is the hub of your essay, it has to be strong and effective. Here are three common pitfalls to avoid:
1. Don’t confuse an announcement with a thesis.
In an announcement, the writer declares personal intentions about the paper instead stating a thesis with clear point of view or position:
Write a Thesis, Not an Announcement
|Proper Thesis Statement||Announcement (Avoid)|
|Anyone found guilty of drunk driving should have their licenses revoked for five years.||My paper will discuss drunk drivers and when to revoke their licenses.|
|The college internship program provides positive consequences for participants.||The positive consequences of college internships will be shown in this essay..|
|In the next ten years, Americans will be forced to embrace mass transit in their cities.||My topic in this paper is the future importance of mass transit.|
2. A statement of fact does not provide a point of view and is not a thesis.
An introduction needs a strong, clear position statement. Without one, it will be hard for you to develop your paper with relevant arguments and evidence.
Don't Confuse a Fact with a Thesis
|Simple Statement of Fact||Effective Thesis Statement (expresses a position)|
|Many businesses pollute the environment.||Increased penalties should be levied against businesses that pollute the environment.|
|Today's movies contain explicit violence.||Today's explicit movie violence provides a safe and healthy outlet for modern aggression.|
|America's population is aging.||The aging of America's population will soon cause a crisis in the social security program.|
3. Avoid overly broad thesis statements
Broad statements contain vague, general terms that do not provide a clear focus for the essay.
Use the Thesis to Provide Focus
|Too Broad||Effective Thesis (narrow focus)|
|Today, a high school diploma is totally meaningless.||High school diplomas have been devalued by grade inflation and social advancement.|
|Cable news shows cater to the American public.||The success of cable news indicates Americans want news that entertains, not informs.|
|The computer revolution has arrived.||The computer revolution has brought clear benefits and dangers directly into our homes.|