Forming the Preliminary Topic Sentence or Thesis Statement

A good thesis is like a road map when writing an essay.
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Writing a good thesis statement is a matter of knowing your opinion on an issue and stating it clearly and concisely. The thesis statement is the most important sentence in your essay because it is the guide of your paper and helps to keep you going in the right direction.

1 Arguable

You must assert your thesis statement authoritatively. It shouldn't be stated as an opinion or emotionally charged statement. For example, the statement, “Ice cream doesn’t taste good” is not a thesis statement; it is an opinion. However, “Ice cream is bad for your health” is a thesis statement because a person can defend or argue against it with evidence and facts. To write a good thesis you must state your position correctly.

2 Inclusive

Ideally, a thesis statement should include in one sentence everything you plan on covering in your essay. While this might seem implausible at first, it really is possible to fit your major points into one concise statement. For example, “Ice cream is bad for your health” is a thesis statement, but it is not enough to carry an entire essay. “Ice cream is bad for your health because it’s high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates” is a more effective thesis statement because it tells the reader exactly what your essay will cover.

3 Location

Your thesis statement does not have to be the first sentence in your essay; in fact, it probably shouldn’t be. Thesis statements are usually at the end of the introductory paragraph. Don’t bury your thesis in the middle of your essay. Remember, the purpose of your thesis statement is to help your readers see and understand your position on a certain issue. If you wait too long to introduce them to your main points, they might lose interest or not understand what you are trying to say.

4 Concise

It’s important that your thesis statement is short and to the point. Your thesis shouldn't run on for a paragraph. A short one- or two-sentence statement will suffice. An overly lengthy thesis can be confusing for the reader and can throw the writer off track by sending him or her off in too many directions. Keep your thesis statement as concise and on point as possible.

Stacy Alleyne is a certified English teacher with a BA in English and graduate work in English, education, journalism and law. She has written numerous articles and her own dining column for the "Gazette."