Exercise Four: Creating Your Thesis Statement

Once you have chosen a topic and generated a list of ideas to discuss in an essay, you have to create your thesis statement.

What is a Thesis Statement?
A thesis statement expresses your opinion about a topic.  It is the basis of the introductory paragraph of your essay.
· It should be a single complete sentence.
· You must be sure you can support the opinion in your thesis.

Thesis Rules
A thesis statement should:
· Never be an open-ended question
· Be limited to mentioning only those points you plan to discuss in your essay
· Never be so broad that it’s difficult to discuss all relevant information
· Only present one specific idea; not multiple ideas
· Not contain two conflicting ideas

ACTIVITY 4A
Identify the problems in the following thesis statements using these categories:
(a) conflicting ideas   (b) open-ended question  (c) too broad   (d) not limited

1.  The World’s Fair in New Orleans was a disaster because of the way the press criticized the way it was run, but it was exciting for little children and had many good food booths.

2.  TV commercials are obnoxious to the person who is intent on watching a good show; on the other hand, they provide entertainment in the antics of the performers and they provide a good opportunity to take a snack break.

3.  Since politicians are constantly bombarding each other, how do they expect anyone to know who is right and who is wrong?

4.  Rap music is a popular form of art because it is creative and original and because it follows the traditions of other spontaneously developed music like jazz.

5.  Unless people are conscious of pollution, the world will be destroyed by the year 2050
 

How to write a thesis statement
To create a thesis statement simply follow this formula:

TOPIC  +  OPINION  =  THESIS STATEMENT

Examples:
 
TOPIC
+
OPINION
=
THESIS STATEMENT
Animals + Dogs make better pets than cats = When it comes to animals, dogs make better pets than cats.
Movies and emotions + Titanic ignited many emotions = The movie "Titanic" ignited many emotions in an audience.
Gangs and identity in the story
"On the Sidewalk Bleeding".
+ The boy lost his personal identity and was only seen as a gang member. = In the story "On the Sidewalk Bleeding", the boy loses his identity and is only recognized as a gang member.

ACTIVITY 4B
Write thesis statements for the topics you chose in Activity 1.  Make sure your statements meet the Thesis Rules.