Every essay, term paper, and major writing assignment requires a thesis statement. Even though instructors of all academic levels continue to remind their students about this important part of every writing assignment, students still fail to include them. If they do remember to write a thesis statement, students tend to make mistakes on them. These are five things that every student should know about this important essay ingredient:
- What it is:
- Where should it go:
- How should it read:
- What to avoid:
The thesis statement is the controlling sentence of every writing assignment. It should clearly state the main point or argument that you, the writer, plan to make. It should be one sentence in length – no more, no less. It can be a complex sentence with a semi colon and several commas.
This important sentence should appear in the beginning of the essay. In most cases, it goes at the very end of the first paragraph. However, if you have a long essay, you should put the sentence at the end of the introduction. Readers will expect to see it at the end of the first paragraph, simply because they were taught to put the sentence there, too. If you put the statement in the middle of the paragraph, your reader will not recognize it.
It is vital that this sentence is specific, but not overly so. The statement should change as your paper grows because your argument might change a bit. It is a good idea to have conjunctions that help the reader understand the argument you are going to make in relation to the statement you plan to make. If the statement is too general, then you will have difficulty proving it. This is why so many writers will use a complex sentence rather than a short, choppy sentence.
It is wise to avoid using general words, like “many”,”a lot”, “some”, “none”, and “people.” These are too general and will not give you the focus that you need. It is also a good idea to avoid using jargon or technical language. Many writers will avoid cliche terms, too.
Who to write for:
In most cases, you will be writing for your instructor, who will look for your writing ability and your knowledge. Despite this, it is a good idea to write for a general audience. So, it is a good idea to avoid using terminology that is specific to the class in the thesis. It is perfectly acceptable to use the terminology later in the essay, as long as you define it there.