LEOLEO: Literacy Education Online

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement in an essay is a sentence that explicitly identifies the purpose of the paper or previews its main ideas.

A thesis statement is an assertion, not a statement of fact or an observation.

A thesis takes a stand rather than announcing a subject.

A thesis is the main idea, not the title. It must be a complete sentence that explains in some detail what you expect to write about.

A thesis statement is narrow, rather than broad. If the thesis statement is sufficiently narrow, it can be fully supported.

A thesis statement is specific rather than vague or general.

A thesis statement has one main point rather than several main points. More than one point may be too difficult for the reader to understand and the writer to support.

You can revise your thesis statement whenever you want to while you are writing your essay. Writers often discover what their real purpose and point is in the process of putting their thoughts into words and then reading what they've written.

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LEO: Literacy Education Online
This handout was adapted by Libby Brunsvold from The Scott Foresman Handbook for Writers, 3rd ed., by Maxine Hairston and John J. Ruszkiewice, NY: Harper Collins, 1993, and Writing with a Thesis, 5th ed., by David Skwire, NY: Holt, 1990; Joe Mathison completed the html markup for the Write Place and LEO, St. Cloud State University. This document may be copied for educational purposes only. If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.

Last update: 14 October 2003

URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/thesistatement.html