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UMGC Effective Writing Center Designing an Effective Thesis Statement

In this thread we focus on the thesis.

Key Concepts

  • A thesis sentence combines your topic and your position on the topic.
  • A thesis provides a roadmap to what follows.
  • A thesis is like a wheel's hub: everything revolves around it and is attached to it.
Image Still for Video: How to Write an Effective Thesis Statement for Your Essay

After your prewriting activities--such as assignment analysis and outlining--you should be ready to take the next step: writing a thesis statement. Although some of your assignments will provide a focus for you, it is still important for your college career and especially for your professional career to be able to state a satisfactory controlling idea or thesis that unifies your thoughts and materials for the reader.

Characteristics of an Effective Thesis

A thesis consists of two main parts: your overall topic and your position on that topic. Here are some example thesis statements that combine topic and position:

Sample Thesis Statements

  • 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.

Notice that a thesis statement could be written as an equation: 

Thesis Statement = Topic + Your Position on it

When writing your thesis, be sure to use direct language and avoid the "announcement" thesis that uses phrases like "In this paper, I will..." or "This paper will focus on..."


Choose one of the seven strategies for the introduction paragraph and use it to write an effective introduction for the project you are currently working on.

Be sure to add your paper's thesis as the last sentence of your introduction paragraph.

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