I'm writing an argument essay about curfews for teenagers.  Originally, my thesis read: Juvenile curfew laws are reasonable guidelines we should follow because they prevent juvenile crime and protect youth from victimization, help teenagers to avoid bad habits, and improve teens’ learning. But I want to combine two ideas, "prevent juvenile crime" and "protect youth from victimization," into one paragraph, so I changed my thesis to read: Juvenile curfew laws are reasonable guidelines we should follow because they fight crime to protect youth from victimization, help teenagers to avoid bad habits, and improve teenagers’ learning. I don't know how effective this change is. Could you give me some advice? Thanks!

Expert Answers

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First of all, both your original thesis and your revised thesis contain differing ideas in one sentence. The first stem of the thesis focuses on prevention. More specifically, curfew laws prevent crime, prevent teens from becoming victims, and prevent bad habits. You then switch your focus from prevention to improvement when you state that curfews "improve teens' learning." Therefore, your thesis becomes confusing.

I would suggest rewriting the thesis with a better focus in order to improve clarity. A revision could consist of something like the following: "Juvenile curfew laws are effective because they limit crime, victimization, and bad habits while promoting learning."

Another idea that could be effective is to limit the ideas in your thesis even if you want to discuss those ideas in your argument. This thesis could be written something like the following: "Juvenile curfew laws have many positive advantages for teens, such as limiting crime and creating good habits."

With the above thesis, when you discuss "limiting crime," that can also include victimization. When you discuss "creating good habits," that could include learning as well.

Good luck!

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I'm not sure your final rewrite states what you are trying to say. It makes it sound like fighting crime is what will protect youth from victimization, which isn't accurate.

Furthermore, I'm not sure a juvenile curfew does anything to "fight" crime. The connotation of that word suggests either police activity or vigilante crime fighting, which I'm sure you didn't mean.

These laws may deter crime committed BY young people, and prevent crimes committed AGAINST young people. The way you have it written currently suggests only one of those.

Perhaps changing it to something like, "Juvenile curfew laws are reasonable because they deter crime by preventing teens from becoming both victims or victimizers" would be helpful. 

Or maybe it could read, "Juvenile curfews are reasonable laws to enforce because they help prevent crimes committed both BY and AGAINST teenagers."

I hope this helps you. Good luck on your essay!

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