Building a Thesis Statement
A thesis statement is a specific assertion (usually, a single sentence) that provides the main opinion—argument—of the paper. It provides the paper’s focus and structure.
A thesis statement is NOT:
A statement of fact
“Runaway Bride is a romantic comedy that was released in 1999.”
--Yes, but nobody is disputing that. We know or can easily look up the release date for Runaway Bride. What’s your opinion or interpretation of the film?
“This paper will discuss the failure of Runaway Bride as a screwball romantic comedy."
--Okay, now there’s an opinion, but the announcement portion is superfluous. If you are discussing something in your paper, we know your paper is discussing it without being told so.
“I think that Runaway Bride is a failure as a screwball romantic comedy.”
--No “seems,” “perhaps,” “I think,” etc. Sound certain of your opinion. Assert it. Don’t hedge your bets. After all, when you write about a subject, you take on the role of an expert in that area. “I think” and “I believe” are unnecessary. If it’s your paper, we know you’re thinking it.
Broad or vague
“Runaway Bride is a failure as a screwball romantic comedy.”
--Yes, it’s an opinion. No, it’s not an announcement, nor does it lack confidence. However, it’s not specific enough to provide a road map for your paper, as a good thesis statement should.
Thesis statements should:
Answer the question why? how? or to what effect?
"Runaway Bride, though it draws on classic screwball comdies such as It Happened One Night (1934), is a failure as a screwball romantic comedy because changes in sexual behavior prevent there from being any sexual tension between the male and female leads, the source of much of the comedy in the screwball genre."
Thesis statements from the sample papers on this site:
*Note: The first two thesis statements are single sentences. The third thesis is threaded through the whole introduction. Can you rewrite it in a single sentence?