An essay is controlled by one central idea. In an essay, the sentence containing the central idea is called the thesis statement. The thesis statement is similar to a topic sentence in a paragraph in that it contains an expression of an attitude, opinion, or idea about the topic (unlike the topic sentence, however, the thesis statement is broader and expresses the controlling idea for the entire essay). In fact, each of the developmental paragraphs should have a controlling idea that echoes or relates to the controlling idea—the central idea—in the thesis statement. A thesis statement is comprised of: introducing reader to the topic, and saying something arguable about the topic. Finally, the thesis statement is usually—although not always—contained in the last sentence of the introduction.
A few points about thesis statements:
· The thesis statement should be expressed in a complete sentence.
Not a thesis statement: My fear of the dark.
Thesis statement: My fear of the dark has made my life miserable.
· A thesis statement expresses an opinion, attitude, or idea; it does not simply announce the topic.
Not a thesis statement: I am going to discuss the effects of radiation.
Thesis statement: The effects of radiation are often unpredictable.
· A thesis statement should express an opinion; it should not express a fact.
Not a thesis statement: Cows produce milk.
Thesis statement: The milk cows produce is not always beneficial for human consumption.
Not a thesis statement: There are many advantages and disadvantages to going to college.
Thesis statement: The advantages to going to college far outweigh the disadvantages.