Thesis Statements For College Essays

Thesis Statements For College Essays
In this essay, I will discuss not only how to write, but how to come up with good thesis statements for college essays. Without a good thesis statement, an essay will lack focus, and be very weak overall. It doesn't really matter how many good ideas there are in that essay, there is nothing to tie the essay together as a whole.
What makes a thesis statement good is that it takes a definite position on a definite question. Notice that there are two parts to this. First, you need to come up with a question that you intend to answer. Second, you need to provide an answer to that question. When writing essay assignments, sometimes you are given a precise question such as "How did the fur trade affect relations between the English and French in Canada?" However, at other times, you'll simply be given a topic. In those cases, you need to think through two steps: what is the question and what is my answer?

To find the question, think about what you've read and about something that puzzled you. You're more likely to have something interesting to say about what interests you, and if you're thinking about something, it's gotten your attention. So, for a literature assignment, you might find that there is an image that you found especially interesting, or some aspect of a character's growth. For a history assignment, you might be interested in the interaction between two groups or two events. For a philosophy assignment, you might find a particular argument challenging or interesting. Ask yourself what it is that puzzles you. That can be your question.

Before moving on, you still need to hone that question. First, be careful to define your terms. What exactly do you mean by different historical events? What do you mean by various philosophical terms? What do you even mean by things like "significance"? This is a very important step, because it narrows your question down. You can use the answers to these questions in writing your introduction, clarifying for your reader what it is you intend to prove.

The final step is now to answer that question. For a yes-or-no question, the answer is generally yes-or-no. However, remember that "partly" is also an acceptable answer. In this case, what you should do is be specific in exactly what sense something is partly true. Don't simply say something is partly true, as that is not specific enough. If the question is more general than that, such as how something happened, be sure to state exactly what you believed happened in clear terms.

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