Tips on writing a thesis for an english essay

Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument.

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You'll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument.

After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, "This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be.

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An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no. Superlatives like "the best" almost always lead to trouble. It's impossible to weigh every "thing" that ever happened in Engliah. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn't that be "the best thing"?


A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.

tips on writing a thesis for an english essay

Steps in Constructing a Thesis. First, analyze your primary sources.

tips on writing a thesis for an english essay

Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of thesiis author's argument?

Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis.

tips on writing a thesis for an english essay

Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis. Once you have a working thesis, write writng down.]