This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft. Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing.
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Whether you write it first or last, a strong thesis statement is a crucial piece of a top-quality paper. There are three main paper types: argumentative, expository, and analytical. There are also paper subtypes, such as the persuasive essay which is a type of argumentative writing or the reflective essay which is an analytical paper. However, every essay can be sorted into one of these three categories. Finally, an expository paper contains a topic sentence. This is because you are writing about a specific area or object, and not just an idea. These three types of thesis statement and their varying names lead you to your next step: learning.
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Creating a successful piece of academic writing is impossible without a properly composed thesis statement. A thesis statement is a sentence or two that clearly introduces the main point of your piece of writing, its central message. A thesis statement comments on your position in regard to your chosen topic, and helps your readers keep track of your arguments.
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