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Writing Center: Thesis Statement

A guide to information to help you research and write more effectively.

Introduction

The Thesis Statement of the essay is a sentence or statement that presents the main idea and argument you are making to the reader. The Thesis Statement also lets the reader know the order in which your ideas will be expressed. In the Thesis Statement, you are not merely trying to describe the material. You are taking a specific position that you will need to defend in your essay. The Thesis Statement is a writer/reader tool. It keeps the writer on topic while it lets the reader know what to expect to find in the essay.

Things to Consider

  • Make sure that your Thesis Statement is not too broad. A thesis is too broad when you cannot adequately argue your main idea in the length essay you have been assigned
  • Example: "I like dogs." This would be an example of a broad thesis statement. From this statement, we know that I like dogs; however, no other reasons are presented. In this way, I could talk about a variety of points which makes the subject too broad.
  • Make sure that you Thesis Statement is not too narrow. A Thesis is too narrow when the main idea is so specific that an argument cannot be well developed and formulated.
  • Example: "I like dogs because they bark." This would be an example of a narrow thesis statement. From this statement, we know that I like dogs, and I do present a reason. However, the reason is so narrow it would be difficult to write many pages on that specific reason.