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How to Write a Compelling Thesis Statement

Writing a thesis statement can be a tricky matter. You have to strike a perfect balance between simplicity and substance, between keeping it simple and providing enough information for your readers to know what the point of your paper is. So let’s start with the basics: what is a thesis statement, where should you place it and how long should it be?

It’s easy to define thesis statement, certainly easier than to actually write it: we’re talking about the central point of a paper, the main idea that you want to convey with what you’re writing. You might need to write a thesis statement for a speech or for an academic essay of any kind, be it an informative, pros and cons or a persuasive paper. For anything ranging from a short essay to a dissertation paper, the thesis statement is usually made up of one or two sentences that concentrate the most important ideas of your work. As they act like a compass for the reader, these sentences are best placed at the beginning of your essay, preferably within the last sentences of your introduction. They help the audience grasp a general picture of what you’re addressing and decide whether they’re interested or not in your subject. So, let’s see how to write a thesis statement.

Ask a Relevant Question

Before writing your statement, formulate a question that it could answer. You won’t include the question in your statement, you’ll just use it to guide your formulation. Even if your essay has a complicated theme, this theme can probably answer a specific inquiry. By using this strategy, you narrow down all the information in your work and focus is to provide an answer to a clearly formulated dilemma.

For example, “What is the impact of daily technology use on kindergarten children?” can be a question to help you formulate the statement “Using technology daily has a negative impact on kindergarten children’s social and emotional development.” You can develop it further by explaining how you intend to support your statement, for example by describing how “technology can lead to isolation and diminished interest in exploring the physical environment”.

Informative or Argumentative?

As seen in the previous example, the essay can present a position in rapport with the question asked. This is an argumentative essay that reflects a particular point of view, be it a pro, a con or a balanced perspective. For a persuasive paper, the thesis statement is the marrow of your essay around which you will later build the arguments that sustain it. This is why it has to capture your perspective relative to the issue discussed.

In contrast, an informative essay needs a thesis statement that reflects objective reality. For example, if you’re writing about steps to set up a home business, you will want to briefly summarize them in your statement. Your aim is to explain what existing information you will provide in your paper, so it’s best to keep it simple, clear and without any personal opinion involved.

Say it Right

For an argumentative paper, it’s best to formulate your thesis statement not as a tentative exploration of an issue, but as an assertive statement. This grips the reader and can trigger a strong reaction, either in favor or opposed to your view. A good thesis statement doesn’t present a common idea that everyone would agree on, but a debatable perspective that can be agreed with or rejected. Of course, it’s important to keep a balance and not have an overly aggressive approach either. The key to a good statement is a balanced assertion.

Too Specific or Too General?

A good thesis statement is neither too specific nor too vague. If you go into unnecessary detail, you’ll lose your reader along the way. Moreover, it will also be difficult for you to keep focus while writing the essay body. On the other hand, if you keep it too general, for example by saying “Children today use too much technology”, you aren’t giving enough substance to your statement.

It’s best if you customize your formulation enough to make an eloquent point without exaggerating with either brevity or elaboration. For example, if you have two sentences in your statement, you can replace words such as “and”, “but”, “or” with conjunctions such as “although”, “because”, “since”, with the purpose of giving more cohesion to your main idea.

Keep it Clear

A good statement uses clear terms that don’t leave your idea open to interpretation. Make sure that you avoid unclear or overly general terms such as “culture”, “society” or “modern age”, instead focusing on more concrete aspects of your ideas. For example, talking about “daily technology use” is a better option than referring to “the technology age”. It’s also best to avoid technical language unless you know you’re writing for an experienced audience.

Be Original

The best way to captivate the reader is to formulate your statement in a compelling way. This means avoiding cliché or overly general structures. A negative example would be “Daily technology use has many disadvantages for children.” At one point, the readers might ask themselves: “So why is this relevant to me?” To offer them a convincing answer, it’s best to word your ideas in a way that truly reflects your point, as seen in the previous good thesis statement examples.

To Sum Up…

Remember that the thesis statement is like a business card for your essay or like a label on a product: if readers aren’t convinced, they probably won’t be interested to know more! A compelling thesis statement has to be clear, assertive and it has to answer a specific question with just the right balance between a bird’s eye view and a detailed perspective. Whether it reflects a personal opinion in an argumentative approach or an objective view in an informative essay, it piques the reader’s curiosity by expressing originality, eloquence, and passion for the subject.