A strong thesis statement is the backbone of a well-organized paper, and helps you decide what information is most important to include and how it should be presented. This thesis statement, for example, could open a paper on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His moving speeches and nonviolent protests helped unite a nation divided by race. In contrast, poor thesis statements fail to take a position, are based solely on personal opinion, or state an obvious truth.
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This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft. Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing.
A thesis statement is the most important part of an essay. Taken together, a thesis statement explains your subject or position in a sentence or a couple of sentences. While the phrase thesis statement can sound intimidating, the basic goal is to clearly state your topic or your argument.
Published on January 11, by Shona McCombes. Revised on October 15, A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay. It usually comes near the end of your introduction. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across.