There are two types of process essays. A direct process essay explains a process directly to the reader; some examples are a recipe, exercise instructions or directions on how to perform a science experiment. An expository or explanatory process essay describes how a process is performed but isn't intended to give direct instructions to the reader. Depending on the audience and type of essay, different techniques are useful to break the thesis for each type of process essay into three parts.
The most direct approach to breaking down a thesis statement for a process essay into three parts uses a "who, what and results" method. First, identify the audience for the essay. This will be the "who," and second person or "you" is acceptable. Second, identify what the process is, for example, "how to make an apple pie." And third, the results should present the outcome. For example, "If you follow these directions, you will bake a delicious apple pie that all your guests will enjoy."
Focus on the audience, problem and solutions for another method of breaking a thesis statement for a direct process essay into three parts. This method encourages the reader to focus on the end result. An essay about how to start a workout program should have a thesis identifying the audience, the problem and the result. For example, "If you haven't exercised in a while, starting again can be difficult, but the rewards are excellent."
If you can identify the specific number of steps your process will cover, another approach to breaking the thesis into three parts includes the main actions the reader will undertake, the task being described and the number of steps. For example, if you are writing about how to decorate Easter eggs and know there are six steps, the thesis could be, "Decorating Easter eggs is easy if you follow these six steps."
If you are writing a process essay explaining a concept or fact, the thesis can include a situation, a question and an answer. For example, an essay that explains what will happen to a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building could have a thesis of three short sentences. "Someone drops a penny from the Empire State Building. What will happen? The penny will not hurt anyone because of air drag and several other factors."
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