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Thesis Statements
Thesis Statements
Your thesis statement is basically the point of your whole essay. It's almost impossible to write a good academic essay if you don't have a good thesis statement, like trying to build a house without setting a solid foundation first - the whole building will come down if you're not careful!

Although it is called a thesis statement, think of it as more of a thesis argument. By "argument" we don't mean that you are trying to start a fight with your reader. We mean that your thesis statement can't be just an obvious sentence relating to the topic you were given; it has to be something that can be argued against. That way, you won't be wasting your reader's time - or your own - writing a long essay about something that's obvious to everyone. The rest of your essay proves the validity of your thesis statement by providing evidence in the body paragraphs.

For instance, let's say your assignment is "Discuss the word 'love' and what it means in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet." If that is your topic, this would not be a good thesis statement: "Romeo and Juliet define what they think love means in many parts of the play."

See how that sentence isn't really out to prove anything? As long as you can point to different parts of the play in which Romeo and Juliet talk about love, no one can argue with you; and if no one can argue with you, you're writing a boring essay.

This would be a better thesis statement: "Although Romeo and Juliet claim they know what love is, their selfish, dangerous behavior proves that their 'love' is no more than a teenage crush."

This one is more of an argument. Other people could say, "No, I think you're wrong - their behavior is neither selfish nor dangerous." Or they may argue, "Romeo and Juliet aren't just teens, they symbolize true love at its best!" Your job is to prove your thesis statement with evidence from the play.

Another thing about thesis statements: make sure they aren't too broad or vague. Your thesis statement should be focused and specific. For instance, you might see why this wouldn't work as a thesis statement for your academic essay:

In Romeo and Juliet, the two lovers define what true love is through their actions.

While that sentence may have an argument that the reader can disagree with, it is too broad, and not specific enough. The following example shows how to fix that problem:

In the last act of the play, Romeo and Juliet, by making sacrifices for each other and ultimately giving up their lives, define true love through actions rather than words.

This thesis statement narrows the focus of the topic to the last act of the play, and clarifies what "actions" you will be writing about. There is no need to get too long and detailed in your thesis statement, but make sure that the topic is sufficiently narrow enough to tackle in the space you've been given. If you're writing a longer essay, then adjust your thesis accordingly.

The thesis statement should go at the end of the Introduction, because that's where most people will be looking for it.