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The Thesis Statement and Topic Sentences The thesis statement is the controlling idea of your essay


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The Thesis Statement and Topic Sentences


  • The thesis statement is the controlling idea of your essay that you will explore further in the body paragraphs of your essay. This controlling idea must do more than just state a fact. IT MUST HAVE A POINT OF VIEW. Make a claim based upon your own ideas. In other words, what do you want the reader to learn by reading what you have written? What is the big idea? Take a position.


3 Parts of A Thesis Statement:


Examples:

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great leader who guided others with his compassion, bravery, and wisdom.

    • Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • Claim (Point of View): was a great leader

    • Direction of Body Paragraph Focus: who guided others with his compassion, bravery, and wisdom.




  1. Mrs. Smith is the best teacher and role model I’ve ever had because she is kind, dependable, and encouraging.

  • Topic: Mrs. Smith

  • Claim (Point of View): is the best teacher and role model I’ve ever had

  • Direction of Body Paragraph Focus: because she is kind, dependable, and encouraging.




  1. Lebron James is the league’s most valuable player due to his ability to score, pass, and rebound.

    • Topic: Lebron James

    • Claim (Point of View): is the league’s most valuable player

    • Direction of Body Paragraph Focus: due to his ability to score, pass, and rebound.


TOPIC SENTENCES

Just as the thesis statement is the controlling idea of your entire essay, topic sentences state the main idea of individual body paragraphs and directly relate to your thesis.



  • Topic sentences provide support for your claim and direction for your reader. Consider the following analogies to help understand the importance of strong topic sentences.


The Solar System Analogy

Just as the sun is the center of the solar system and orbited by the planets, topic sentences revolve around your thesis statement, the central controlling idea.


Topic Sentence

Topic Sentence

Topic Sentence



Topic Sentence

Thesis

The Roof and Pillar Analogy

The thesis statement covers the overall argument/primary point of the paper and is supported by the topic sentences, which give the main points and evidence of the paper.










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Topic Sentences must be followed by details that support the main claim of the topic sentence. Details may serve any of the following purposes:

  • Details may provide specific examples related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may give information to explain or describe an idea related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may compare and contrast ideas related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may show cause and effect relationships related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may include a story or anecdote related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may include a personal reflection related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may include facts, statistics, or research related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may include inferences or conclusions the writer makes related to the topic sentence.

  • Details may further express the author’s point of view related to the topic sentence.


Mrs. Smith went out of the way to help me when I was having trouble with math. First of all, she always came in early to help me and the other students who had trouble understanding our multiplication and division problems. She often thought of activities using food, such as cookies or candy, to help us learn some difficult lesson. In addition, she never embarrassed me in front of other students. Instead, she pulled me aside after class and set up a time to work with me in the math lab or the library. I know I owe my current success in math to Mrs. Smith and all of the time and effort she put into helping me to improve my knowledge and experiences.


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