Thesis Statement Basics: “What is a Thesis?”

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A thesis statement is a main, organizing sentence that summarizes what you intend to demonstrate or prove.  In other words:
  • A thesis statement is usually one sentence that organizes the entire paper.  
  • At a minimum, a thesis describes what will be discussed in the paper.
  • An excellent thesis statement goes beyond mere description and states what will be argued (i.e., what is the point?)
  • A thesis can have variety, but the most common form is this:  “This paper will argue that  _____________ because of point 1, point 2, and point 3.”
Example:   The San Antonio Spurs should have won game six, but they lost because of a missed free throw, a missed rebound, and an air ball.
(Notice that the “argument” is that the loss was due to three specific causes.  A weak thesis would be:  “This paper will discuss why the Spurs lost game six.”)
The paper would then be organized like this:
  • Introductory paragraph with the thesis statement at the end
  • Body 1:  Paragraph about the missed free throw and the crowd noise that caused it.
  • Body 2:  Paragraph about the missed rebound and the resultant three-pointer.
  • Body 3:  Paragraph about the air ball and what caused it.
  • Conclusion (that summarizes but does not introduce new information).
For further information about thesis statements, here is a helpful link:
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