Thesis StatementsCharacteristics of an effective thesis statement:
- State a clearly defined opinion on a subject--Don't make your thesis merely an announcement of your subject matter or a description of your intentions.
Incorrect: I want to give my opinion on the national law that sets twenty-one as the legal age to drink alcohol and the reasons I feel this way.
Correct: The legal minimum age for purchasing alcohol should be eighteen rather than twenty-one.
- Clearly state the thesis in specific termsódonít be vague.
Incorrect: Living in an apartment for the first time can teach you many things about taking care of yourself.
Correct: By living in an apartment, freshmen can learn valuable lessons in financial planning and time management.
- Don't merely state a fact.
Incorrect: De Anza College raised its tuition this school year.
Correct: The governor has run the state so poorly that it has caused an increase in tuition at De Anza College this year.
- Have something worthwhile to say that will be of interest to your audience.
Incorrect: I donít like to take courses that are held in big lecture classes at this school.
Correct: Large lecture classes provide a poor environment for the student who learns best through interaction with both teachers and peers.
- Donít be unreasonable. Making irrational or oversimplified claims will not persuade your reader that you have a thorough understanding of the issue.
Incorrect: Too many corrupt books in our high school libraries selected by liberal, atheistic educators are undermining the morals of our youth.
Correct: To ensure that high school libraries contain books that reflect community standards, parents should have a voice in selecting new titles.
- Do not merely list your points; rather, show the relationships between them.
Incorrect: American consumers are concerned with quality, convenience, and choice.
Correct: Although American consumers are concerned with quality, they also want convenience by having many choices.
SAMPLE THESIS STATEMENTS ON SOLOMON'S ARTICLE:
Show the relationships:
Simple: America is an egalitarian and an elitist society. People use material objects as a means of gaining status.
More effective:Although America is founded on egalitarian principles, it has become an elitist society. Therefore, people use material objects as a means of gaining status.
More effective: Although America is founded on egalitarian principles, it has become an elitist society in which people use material objects as a means of gaining status.
Order is important:
Although America is founded on egalitarian principles, it has become an elitist society in which people use material objects as a means of gaining status. (Emphasizes the elitism.)
Americans use material objects as a means of gaining status in order to show their elitism. Paradoxically, America is also a country founded on egalitarian principles. (Emphasizes egalitarianism.)