300 Days of Better Writing

June 17, 2013

Use thesis statements to introduce topics.

A thesis statement is a sentence or two that informs the reader about the main issue, topic, or idea about which you will write. They are necessary for effective communication.

In an academic essay, the thesis usually appears in the first paragraph, and it may state in obvious terms what idea you will discuss. An academic essay generally only has one thesis statement. For example, an academic essay may contain the thesis statement

“Pollution levels in Beijing have created major health concerns for residents”

and then continue to discuss the pollution levels, the effects of pollution on health in general, and the effect of pollution on Beijing residents.

Thesis statements are necessary in the “real world,” as well. They help the reader understand the purpose and theme of the upcoming text. A document may have several thesis statements, depending on its length and purpose. A formal letter may have only one main topic. A request for proposals may have a different thesis statement for each major section. Even a novel has a thesis statement: the introduction of the central conflict in the plot.

Thesis statements are important for two reasons.

  1. They give focus and direction to the writer. This helps you write a better organized and more cohesive document.
  2. They help the reader understand and mentally organize the content. This improves your communication.

Questions to consider: What is the main idea or topic of the document or document section? Do you state this idea or topic clearly?

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