Writing essays can be a pretty confusing process. First, you gather A LOT of information, and then, you have to somehow describe everything you wrote in an organized and understandable way to someone who might have no idea what you are talking about. The exciting thing is that you are an expert, but the more important thing is whether you can explain your ideas to the lesser or non-experts of the world.
Whether your essay is 150 words or 15000 words, the #1 way to tie all of that awesome information together is in your THESIS STATEMENT. What does that actually mean? Your thesis is the MAIN POINT of your essay or the #1 thing that you want your reader to take away. If you had to delete everything from your essay and could only have 1 sentence, your thesis would be it. In this 1 sentence, you are telling your reader what your essay is about.
Writing Your Thesis Statement
This is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes you might find yourself changing your thesis statement at the last minute. Generally, you can come up with your thesis statement right at the end of the brainstorm/research stage of your essay writing process. After you gather all that information, start to think to yourself—what is this information telling me? When I put everything together, what is that MAIN POINT?
Your thesis statement is typically one sentence (sometimes it can be two, if necessary). The trick is writing a thesis statement that answers the essay question and encapsulates everything you are trying to communicate (no big deal). Here are some examples for different types of essays from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab…
TEST: Make sure your thesis statement answers the questions of So what? How? and Why?
1 Sentence –> Whole Essay
Now that you have your awesome thesis statement, you have to put it in your essay and craft your essay around it. Your thesis statement usually will go right at the end of your introduction paragraph or essay section.
Now, imagine your thesis is like the brain of your essay. It tells every other paragraph in the essay body what to do. Each paragraph, especially in the first or topic sentence, should relate back and support your thesis. Maybe, you have one paragraph that introduces some opposing thoughts or counterarguments, but overall, everything in the rest of your essay should be connected and tie in with what you say in your thesis.
Here is an example of an outline for an essay topic asking: What is the best pet for living in a city?
- THESIS: Due to the small living quarters and lack of nature that are typical of urban living, cats are the best pet option for city-dwellers because of their adaptability to this type of environment.
P2: Lifestyle of a Cat
- Topic Sentence: The temperament of average domesticated cats allows them to remain content within an urban environment.
P3: Cat care
- Topic Sentence: In addition to the compatibility of cats with an urban environment, their lifestyle also fits perfectly with that of a typically busy city-dweller.
P4: Cat cost
- Topic Sentence: Although pet-owners are usually facing a tight budget, cats are relatively low-cost pets that are affordable in an urban environment.
Each topic sentence relates back and supports that spectacular thesis statement. Feel free to use words and phrases again to signal to your reader that in each paragraph you are still supporting your thesis. Also, remember to tie your thoughts together using your awesome transition vocabulary!
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