Video:How to Write a Compelling Thesis Sentencewith Jacob Taxis
A compelling thesis sentence is one of the most important parts of a well-written school paper. In this About.com video, you'll get some tips on writing a truly compelling thesis sentence.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Write a Compelling Thesis Sentence
Hi, I'm Jacob Taxis for About.com. In this video, you will learn how to write a compelling thesis sentence.
Reason for a Compelling Thesis Sentence
Writing a compelling thesis sentence can take a lot of work – but if written with clarity and precision, a thesis sentence can provide your reader with a crucial starting point from which they can follow your argument. In short, a compelling thesis sentence provides a specific answer to a question asked of your topic. Your thesis acts as a road-map of the argument you will present in your paper.
Thesis Sentence Must Take a Stand
Therefore, a compelling thesis sentence must do four things well: First, your thesis sentence must take a stand. Perhaps you've been asked to write a paper on a certain aspect of the Battle of the Little Bighorn and you've decided to write specifically on General George Armstrong Custer. To come up with a compelling thesis, ask yourself a question about the topic that you find interesting and helpful. For example, a good question might be,"What were General Custer's motivations for attacking a Native American force that was far larger than his own 7th Cavalry?" Whatever the answers might be, your thesis statement should stick to one of them.
Thesis Sentence Must Be Specific
Second, your thesis sentence must be specific. When writing a thesis sentence, avoid vague, predictable statements. Instead, be specific – set out the road-map of your argument that the reader will follow. Without a specific argument, you might very easily lose your reader's attention as they attempt to navigate through your paper, searching for your evidence and conclusions.
Thesis Sentence Should Convey a Main Idea
Third, your thesis sentence must convey one main idea. When we consider our initial question about General Custer and the Battle of the Little Bighorn, a poor thesis sentence might be the following: "Though greatly outnumbered, General George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry attacked the Native American forces for many reasons." Though probably true, the thesis sentence fails to make an argument and lacks specificity. We have also failed to answer our own initial question about his motivations behind his actions.
Example of a Compelling Thesis Sentence
Instead, a compelling thesis sentence might be the following: "General Custer's personal ambition helped lead to the failure of the American campaign during the Great Sioux War when he attacked, and was defeated by, a much larger opponent at Little Bighorn." Though this thesis sentence is highly contentious, the point being made is nonetheless very clear. Remember that your sentence should spark some discussion.
Questions to Ask Yourself
When you feel as though you've completed your thesis sentence, test it out by asking yourself these questions: Did I answer the question? Did I take a position? Is my thesis relevant to the topic? If you've answered "no" to any of these questions, go back to re-work your sentence. Though it takes time and patience to form a good thesis sentence, applying the effort will result in a strong starting point for any paper. If written with care, a compelling thesis sentence will provide your reader with a road-map for your argument.
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