Home   |   TOPIC LIST   |   About   |   Contact

How to present the thesis statement

Usually you don’t want to blatantly announce the thesis statement to the reader. Doing something like this is pretty awkward and makes the writing look like an eight-year-old kid is the author:

In this essay, I will try to convince you, the reader, that gun control laws should be made stricter in order to reduce violence in society.

Two main things are wrong with this. First of all, it’s really, really blunt. The reader knows or can guess easily that your essay is going to be based around some central topic, argument or opinion. There’s no need to treat the reader like a complete idiot and blatantly tell them what your essay’s central statement is. It’s a little bit like listening to the first part of an eight-year-old’s talk or presentation to their classmates (not how you want to sound). An eight-year-old would usually start of with something like:

Today, I am going to talk about my Dad.

The second thing that you usually wouldn’t do is address the reader in the second person with the ‘you’. Sometimes this is appropriate; for instance, if you are writing the essay to convince only one person, or a very specific small group of people. This might happen if you are writing to your local politician to try to change a new road being built in your suburb. The personal touch introduced by using ‘you’ sometimes helps in this sort of situation. But it’s not something that is generally done in formal essay writing.

Try to write the thesis statement as a more definite statement. So remove all the ‘I am going to try’, and ‘I will attempt’ phrases from it. These statements tell the reader that you’re going to make an attempt to do something but that you’re not really sure whether it’s going to work! This is not the impression you want to give your reader. Also avoid unnecessary references to the essay itself. Phrases like ‘in this paper’ are unnecessary - the reader usually realises that the essay is where you’re going to discuss the topic or argument. How else are you going to get your points across to the reader - telepathy?

A better thesis statement might be something like this:

Increasing the strictness of gun control laws will result in an increase in peace and stability in society.

First up, this is a definite statement. There’s no doubt about the statement itself (although readers may, at first, disagree with it). Secondly, it’s not overly personal. There are no first person references, and it doesn’t address the reader in the second person either. Getting these things right is a big part of producing good thesis statements.

Handy Hint - Flora and fauna

I heard the expression ‘flora and fauna’ many times before I finally learnt what it meant. Flora is all about plants - you use the word ‘flora’ to refer to all the plants within a certain group. For instance, all the plants on a certain continent in the world. Flora in Roman mythology was the goddess of flowers.

African flora varies as you travel from the southern tip to the Mediterranean.

Fauna is all about animals - you use the word ‘fauna’ to refer to all the animals within a certain group. For instance, all the animals of a certain time period.

Discussion of the fauna 100 million years ago usually focuses on dinosaurs, but there were other types of animals prospering at the same time.

There are many situations in real life where you’ll hear the phrase ‘fauna and flora’ or ‘flora and fauna’. For instance, say you are visiting a national park. Reading the map guide, you may come across a description something like:

Yosemite National Park has a wide range of flora and fauna for visitors to see.

I never feel comfortable with the expression, so I always mentally change it to more familiar words:

Yosemite National Park has a wide range of plants and animals for visitors to see.

This is the end of the chapter. Click here to return to the main topic list