Expert Answers
carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An essay is a short written work that focuses on one subject. The thesis statement says what the author is going to write about in his paper.  Before the thesis is written, the selection of the subject or topic depends on what kind of essay that is assigned: informative, argumentative, persuasive, comparison/contrast. Let us assume that you are going to write an informative essay.  You have chosen the topic, capital punishment. 

Remember this is an informative essay, so you are not going to argue for or against the death penalty.  Your purpose is to tell the reader about the death penalty.  After doing some research on the subject,  you decide that you will write about the types of executions, the reasons for using the death penalty, and the cost of using capital punishment.

Now you are ready to write your thesis.  This is a sentence(s) that controls the essay.  It is tells the exact points that you are going to make in your essay.The thesis is the most important sentence in the essay.

Here is thesis for the subject above.  In some countries, Capital punishment is still used for certain crimes. (This is the thesis.)  

The types of executions, the reasons for the death penalty, and the cost of capital punishment are three areas that should be examined.  (This sentence tells the areas that will be covered in the essay and the order that they will be discussed.

Remember--The thesis is the most important sentence in the essay. 

kevin0001 | Student

A thesis for an essay is a sentence that gives the main idea or the writer's opinion of an essay. A thesis summarizes the entire essay into one or two sentences. This can be found in the introductory paragraph or in the concluding paragraph as a summary or wrap up for the end.

chrisyhsun | Student

The thesis of the essay (if written correctly, of course) is basically like the one sentence that summarizes the entire essay. It should capture the "essence" of what you want to say and be the idea you want to impart on your readers. In order to accomplish this, there are two (maybe three depending on subject and/or writing style) topics you must cover in the thesis statement -

  1. What the overall subject of the essay will be, like "hypocrisy in Thank You For Smoking" or "the effects of European colonization on indigenous populations". If the subject is history-related, the thesis should reference the time period and geographical location as well. If the subject is literature-oriented, the thesis should probably include the author's name too. (Although I didn't follow these last two tips in my examples, that was just to shorten them.)
  2. Your stance on the issue - on the most basic level, this can be merely positive/negative, but for a stronger essay, positive versus negative should be narrowed down more specifically.
  3. (slightly more optional but would make your essay stronger) - a broader statement (if speaking to a literary topic) or possibly the points you will discuss (if speaking to a historical topic). If you are purely concerned about the thesis statement, though, just the first two points should suffice.

These were the tips I learned about a thesis statement and they've greatly helped me, so I hope these do the same for you!

melissa1106 | Student

The thesis formally explains what you will be stating in the essay. It usually has however many details that coincides with how many paragraphs there will be. The thesis is the last sentence in the introduction and is your strongest sentence. Make sure it states clearly what you are trying to get across to the readers.

taangerine | Student

The thesis of your essay should always reflect upon your entire essay. It is the point that you are trying to get across throughout. It is important that you:

  • Clearly state your thesis in the beginning of the essay with one or two sentences.
  • Mention and reflect upon it in your follow up and body paragraphs
  • Re-state it in the conclusion and follow up on your examples.

It lets the reader know what your entire essay is going to be about and it keeps your thoughts organized as well. 

clyoon | Student

The thesis of an essay is a statement that captures the general topic of your essay. It is a statement that tells your audience what you will be writing about, and even better, it's a statement that shows your argument. It gives your reader direction so they know what side you're on if you're arguing something in a persuasive or argumentative essay. Without the thesis, your reader will have a more difficult time figuring out what you're trying to say. The reader would have to figure it out as they read the essay. But with the thesis, you're establishing your topic for them so they can see eye to eye with you better.

Yojana_Thapa | Student

The thesis of an essay includes what you're going to talk about in the whole the essays.

Hannah Privitera | Student

The thesis of an essay is the sentence that states what you are going to explain throughout the rest of your essay. It is the sentence that holds your whole essay together.

Think about your essay as a compass. As you outline your essay, your thesis acts as North. Wherever you go with the body of your piece, if you keep North in mind, you will get where you want to go.

In the conclusion of your essay, you will restate your thesis (communicate the same thing you said when you wrote it in the introduction, but rephrase it). When you do this, take a moment to evaluate if the information you outlined in the body still applies. If it does not, it probably means your thesis wasn't strong enough and you need to refine it. If it does - great job! You can move on to writing your first draft.