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Writing a Thesis Statement

So your thesis is the main argument of your essay, and it’s what unifies the entire essay. But how do you write a good thesis statement? Here’s an example:

Assignment: Write about welfare benefits.

Working thesis: “Welfare payments are not good for society.”

Too broad! Why?

Revised thesis: “Welfare payments are bad for society because they erode personal initiative.”

Pretty good. Can you make it stronger?

Revised thesis: “Despite their immediate benefits, welfare payments may actually be eroding personal initiative and depriving society of needed workers.”

Good! You’ve acknowledged the other side of the argument, and explained the “because.” This is a strong thesis!

* * *

Uh-oh! Now that I’ve thought about it more, I think my thesis is wrong. I want to argue the opposite!

Revised thesis: “Although welfare benefits may offend the rugged individualist, they relieve much want and anxiety, and they enable many a family to maintain its integrity.”

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