A thesis statement is a sentence that precedes an academic paper. The purpose of a thesis statement is to convey the main idea of the contents of the paper in a single sentence for the edification of the readers.
There are different things that people can do wrong when writing a thesis statement. In this post, we are going to look at some of the main mistakes that you should steer clear of when writing one.
Do I Really Need to Write a Thesis Statement?
Yes, you do.
While a thesis statement can be a requirement in some types of academic papers, it should not be omitted even if there is no prescribed compulsion for it.
There are different benefits to writing a thesis statement.
For starters, it can be a great help to your readers. If you add a thesis statement right at the start of the paper, it can give an accurate idea to your readers about what the paper contains. After reading the statement, they can elect either to go ahead with the paper or not.
Another benefit of writing a thesis statement beforehand is that it allows you to stay on point when writing the paper itself. For instance, if you adumbrate a certain set of points in your thesis statement, you will automatically avoid branching out when writing the paper.
Once again, these benefits are to be considered in situations where the thesis statement is not required.
What Mistakes Should You Not Make in a Thesis Statement?
Let’s move ahead to look at some of the main mistakes that you should not make in a thesis statement.
1. Making it irrelevant
The first thing that you need to make sure of in your thesis statement is that it should be relevant and reflective of the contents of the paper. This is actually something that takes precedence over things like the length and placement of the thesis statement. Relevancy is paramount, and any compromise on that can lead to the thesis statement becoming not only useless but harmful to the paper’s quality.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when writing a thesis statement.
- Don’t mention something that does not exist in the paper you’re writing
- Don’t omit any of the main things that do exist in the paper you’re writing
As far as relevancy goes, these two are the only pointers that you have to take care of.
2. Making it too long
A thesis statement is generally said to be a single sentence that conveys the main idea of the paper. But, sticking to the literal meaning, someone may be tempted to create such a long sentence that could, despite technically being one sentence, be as long as a couple of them…much like this one that you’re reading.
A sentence could technically be stretched to more than 1,000 words…as is the case with the longest one in William Faulkner’s novel “Absalom! Absalom!”
Of course, going for this type of stunt in a thesis statement is a big mistake.
When a thesis statement is referred to as a sentence, it means a sentence. You should stick to the average length of 20 words maximum.
3. Omitting details from it
The thesis statement is made to reflect the main theme and idea discussed in the paper. As such, it has to incumbently include all the main details without omitting any.
For example, if there is a particular paper that describes the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear plants, it would be improper to create a thesis statement that says:
The benefits of nuclear plants in the modern world
The drawbacks of nuclear plants in the modern world
Since both the advantages and the downsides are the themes of the paper, they both need to be included.
4. Adding details to it
Just as omitting details from a thesis statement is proscribed, the same goes for adding details to it. You shouldn’t add any element to your thesis statement that describes something that the paper doesn’t contain.
5. Writing in the first person
Writing in the first person is generally avoided and proscribed in academic content. The introduction of words such as “I” and “we” is antithetical to the cold professionalism that an academic piece should adhere to.
The thesis statement should be descriptive and written in the third person. It should give a description of the paper without addressing the reader or the writer.
Some General Tips for Writing a Thesis Statement
Above, we’ve discussed some mistakes that you should avoid in your thesis statement. Now, let’s take a look at some of the stuff that you should do.
- Make sure that the thesis statement is clear and concise. Use short and descriptive words to ensure that it doesn’t wind on for too long. Use a paraphrasing tool on the statement if you aren’t satisfied with your first draft.
- Make sure that there are no errors or mistakes in the thesis statement. Proofread it properly and run a grammar/spell check on it using an online grammar checker.
- Make sure that it doesn’t come up as plagiarized. While plagiarism is harmful anywhere in a paper, it can come off as specifically audacious if it happens to be detected in the thesis statement. Use a plagiarism checker to ensure the uniqueness of the thesis statement.
If you write the thesis statement properly, it can give your paper a good impression, and it can also provide you with a good base on which to structure the later content.
In this post, we have looked at some tips that you can follow to make your thesis statement on point.