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The thesis statement is the main argument of any essay paper. It is usually one sentence, and it is placed somewhere in the first paragraph of the paper; the most common places to put the thesis statement is either at the beginning or end of the first paragraph to ensure the reader knows right away what the writer will be trying to demonstrate or prove with the essay. To write a strong thesis, the writer will need to decide where he or she stands on an issue before even putting the pen to paper.
It often helps to write the thesis statement first, before delving into the rest of the paper. The writer should decide how he or she feels about a certain question or topic, then jot down a few key points about those feelings. The goal is to summarize those thoughts and feelings in one sentence to give the reader a clear understanding of what the writer intends to prove or outline in the essay. The writer needs to gain the reader's trust and assert his or her authority on the matter at hand, so statements like "I think" or "I believe" should be avoided in favor or firmer statements. A good basic format for writing the thesis statement would be:
(Topic) exists in this manner because (reason).
The "because" part of the thesis statement is important because it backs up the writer's claim immediately to show the writer has thought through the argument clearly. The argument can then be clarified in the subsequent paragraphs, known as the supporting paragraphs because they support the thesis statement. The thesis should be clear, brief, and based in fact whenever possible. Concrete examples should be given based on the research the writer has done.
If, for example, the topic question is, "What meal is better for you: breakfast or lunch?", then the writer could write a thesis statement along these lines:
Good thesis: "Breakfast is a better meal because it replenishes the body after a long night of sleep and prepares it for the early stresses of the day."
Weak thesis: "I think breakfast is better than lunch."
The second example does not give any concrete reasons as to why breakfast is better than lunch; it is simply a statement of opinion that give the reader no clues as to how the writer intends to prove this point. Including one example of proof in the thesis statement goes a long way toward establishing the writer as an authority. The second statement also includes "I think," which does not convey confidence or a firm decision.