Writing a Thesis Statement

What is Thesis Statement?

Thesis statement is a statement that conveys the ultimate message, intention or the main argument of your essay. In other words, thesis statement can summarize your whole essay within a single sentence. Your thesis statement will be enough for the examiners about which side or position you are taking in the discussion or debate. For example, in the question of “do you agree?” type, this statement will tell the reader whether you agree and to what extent.

There are chaos surrounding how the thesis statement should be like. It is natural for you to think that this sentence should be long and complex, since it should summarize the whole essay. But as you get more confident with the use of language, you will know that a very short sentence can sometimes state a thesis more effectively than longer ones. Moreover, since the thesis statement is understood or interpreted in the light of the contextual information provided earlier, you might express only the core message in the thesis statement. Therefore, thesis statements can equally be written concisely or laconically. But for that, you should have a superior vocabulary and experience (practice). The thesis statement is usually written at the end of the introduction paragraph.

How to write a thesis statement?

Thesis statement by itself isn't any different from ordinary statements. It is unique just because this single sentence can convey the message of the whole essay. Except this special characteristic there’s no any other difference. You do not need to learn any new rules to be able to write thesis statement. More likely, you might be already using such statements in your essays without your conscious knowledge.

Now, I’ll present a few obvious examples about how thesis statement can be written!

Example 1

James Tan Chuan Xun, Educator in Chief at Future Perfect Education, wrote a thesis statement for the following essay title as:

Q. ‎"There is little in the 20th century of which we can be proud of" Discuss.
There is much to be proud of, much to be ashamed about, and much to hope for in the 20th century.

This sentence clearly reflects his overall view on the question. He is aware of the positive developments of which we should be proud of; the negative aspects of those developments of which we should be ashamed about; and despite what happened there still is a need for us to be hopeful and optimistic.

From this single sentence we can frame out how his whole essay will look like. We can more or less predict what he is likely to discuss in his body paragraphs. In a nutshell, we can know his overall view on this topic.

Example 2

Similarly, here are other examples demonstrating how to write thesis statement:

Q. To what extent are racism and other forms of discrimination a problem in your society?
While racism is absent, caste and gender discriminations are still huge problems in my society.

Here we can easily infer that racism is nonexistent but caste discrimination and gender discrimination are the burning issues in the author’s society. We can also expect that the author will outline the reasons behind such discriminations as well as justify why the problems concerned are highly intense in his society.

This question is seeking answer to two particular questions:

  • What kinds of discrimination problems are present in your society? (Identification and justification of the problem.)

  • To what extent are they problematic in your society? (Assessment of the intensity of the problem. Is the problem serious or mild?)


The thesis statement above has concisely answered these both questions.

Example 3

Q. Can democracy be imposed or must it grow naturally?
Democracy will still be the 'rule of people' even if established by imposition, however, for full acceptance of the people it should be allowed to grow naturally.

From this thesis statement, we are clear that the author is very positive about democracy. Democracy is the rule of people no matter how we introduce it to a country. People are powered with various rights in a democratic nation and their decision, expressed through voting and/or referendum, on the major issues of national interest is the final one. The author seems to understand these facts about democracy.

However, we can infer from his thesis statement that he is also aware of the possible consequences of imposing democracy. In the question, the word “imposing” contradicts directly with the principle of democracy. “Can we impose people to be free, even if they don’t want to?” can be an ethical question, a question for debate. Perhaps, the people do not want to take their decision themselves. Perhaps they find it easier, and totally comfortable to follow a dictator. For many reasons including religious, cultural and socio-economic, people might be accepting the rule of a non-democratic leader. In such conditions, they may even retaliate or revolt against any other forms of government, especially if imposed by some other people. The author also understands this possibility. Hence, he thinks that if the democracy has to gain full support from people, it should be allowed to grow naturally.

Conclusion

A thesis statement need not be difficult and complex. In fact, simpler and clearer thesis statements are better as they can communicate your argument more effectively than the difficult ones. Moreover, thesis statements are not that difficult to write if you practice writing them whenever you write a new GP essay. Just be clear in your mind what you are writing and remember that the length or structure of the sentence doesn't matter. Only what matters is that it should be able to give a big picture of the whole essay. Your thesis statement is your answer to the question in a single sentence.

Comments

  1. Dear Prem

    This is fantastically well explained. I am sure anyone who reads this will come clear about what the 'thesis' statement is all about and how easy it is to state one's stand for the whole essay in the last line of the introduction.

    Taz

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do we have to write a thesis statement in GP (as-level) exams as well??

    ReplyDelete
  3. Of course, you have to. That is why I've discussed about it in this site.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear Prem,
    I am a HSC student of Mauritius and while doing some research work,I've fallen on this website.The thesis statement is quite interesting but should this not be normally done in the conclusion?
    Indeed,the arguments developed also tend to show 'the personal stand' of the student. If the essay is a 'flexible one',we tend to develop more points thesis than antithesis or vice versa to show where we stand.

    I generally end my introduction by a question of about 3-6 words that reflects the question.In this way,the discussion is opened.Yet,I think that student should develop his or her own way of writing:the style. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Although, it all depends upon the type of the essay and how you define "thesis statement" and "personal stand/opinion", "thesis statements" normally come in the introduction paragraph whereas the "personal stand" you talked about is given in the conclusion paragraph.

    I agree with your view that students should develop their own styles rather than trying to copycat or generalize someone else's style.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think that's also a good way.:)

    Besides,is there a technique known for brainstorming?I mean there is no need to remember every argument for a particular theme and by applying a 'formula',you get ideas required for an essay title.This is the reason behind the fact many people hate GP.

    Yet,I 've studied the essays in the standard boklet issued in 2012 by Cambridge and intringuingly on the first essay,the candidate has written a bizare code.It's SHEEECSPPP.I think he or she used that to generate ideas for the essay mais have you idea how this code used?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Brainstorming is a process of generating and writing down as many ideas as you can about a topic and then selecting the relevant ideas from the list to discuss them in your essays. There's no hard and fast rule or technique about brainstorming.

    The information about code, is new to me. So, if it is possible please email the booklet to me (you can take a photo if it is in hardcopy) at prem.n.gaire@facebook.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've heard also there is also a method of generating examples using another code.
    Finally,GP is not a matter of learning everything by heart.There are techniques to apply. :)

    I have the explanation of these codes but unfortunately the person explaining how to use the codes speak in french.Do you understand french?That would be great. :D

    Besides,I'm not suscribed to fb. Better communicate via mail if you can,I've still more techniques to show you that are not on this website.;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for the document! I'd been busy to reply you earlier.

    You are right that, we don't need to learn everything by heart. And I am sorry that I don't understand French.

    However, I'll be interested to discuss more about the techniques of GP. So, I'll send you a mail from my gmail account and begin conversation there. In order to avoid spams, I don't want to publish my email address here.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dear Prem,

    Stumbled on your website one day before my gp test.

    Just asking if you know of a way to improve organisation and sentence structures in essays. Besides practicing.

    Maybe practice writing sentences? Does that help?

    Also, I find it hard to form opinions on an issue and mostly form them only when I have sufficient points to elaborate on. Would it be easier to form opinions if I know more about the issue on hand?

    Hope you reply soon!

    Thanks:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think one great way to improve sentence structure is to read a lot and imitate the styles from them. Practicing to write sentences can help but reading will acquaint with newer sentence structures. Plus, ideas and knowledge about the matter you are exploring/reading.

    As for the organization of the essay, it would be helpful if you do a brainstorming first and pen down all the points that you can discuss in the essay later. Afterwards, order them on the basis of importance and then only start to write your essay.

    Yes, if you have more knowledge about the issue at hand, then you will definitely be able to form opinions. For example, do you think 'abortion' is good? Here, if you have good knowledge then you can form opinions of when it becomes desirable or useful (esp. teen pregnancy, incest, and other complicated cases) and when it is not good. For example, in normal circumstances abortion is bad because, (i) it harms the health of a woman, that is makes them weak, and drained (ii) it creates room for infection in the uterus in the future, (iii) all the matters that should be released may not be cleared from the uterus in case of abortion, which is all the way, seriously bad & (iv) abortion may cause infertility in women!! So, in overall it is bad! But sometimes it can just become a "necessary evil"! So, with good knowledge I can confidently say that "abortion" is not good at all.

    ReplyDelete

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