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How to Write a Thesis Paragraph


Writing a good introductory paragraph and thesis statement takes patience, research and a willingness to continue to revise your paragraph until your statement and supporting sentences are as strong as they can possibly be. The introductory paragraph and thesis statement define the topic and primary argument or position of your essay in a strong, specific and compelling way. Often times the introductory paragraph and thesis statement are the last part of your essay you write.

Research and write the first draft of your essay minus the introductory paragraph and thesis statement. Often you will start an essay with one idea for your thesis statement, but as you write you discover your essay focuses on a different argument, or you refine and further clarify your original statement. The introductory paragraph is often easier to write after you know what your paper is actually about.

Keep a list as you write your first draft of key arguments and themes in your essay. Use this list after you are done with your first essay draft to help you craft a thesis statement clearly identifying the primary argument of your paper. Since your thesis statement will be only one sentence at the end of your introductory paragraph, you must choose the most compelling argument for your statement. Your argument should also be the one which you can most strongly defend with your research.

Write your introductory paragraph. Your first sentence should immediately capture the reader's attention. Posing a question in your first sentence and then answering it in subsequent sentences is one way to pull your reader into your essay. Try to avoid beginning your essay with phrases like, "In this essay I will..." or "This essay will demonstrate how...." Your goal in the introductory paragraph is to build a compelling path to your thesis statement in a few sentences.

Insert your thesis statement as the final sentence of your introductory paragraph. Your thesis statement essentially launches your reader into the heart of your essay. Each paragraph that follows your statement will relate back to it and should further your statement's argument or position. For this reason, it is important that your thesis statement is as clearly and specifically written as possible.

Tips
  • Once you complete your first draft and introductory paragraph and thesis statement, revise your essay to make certain the entire piece focuses on defending the argument of your thesis statement.
  • Research resources which both support and reject your thesis statement to make certain you have considered as many positions and arguments as possible. In your essay it is good to address opposing viewpoints or theories to your thesis statement and why you disagree with them.
About the Author

Erika Sanders has been writing since 1997. She teaches writing at the Washington State Reformatory and edits the monthly newsletter for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, a national nonprofit organization. She received her Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the Solstice Program at Pine Manor College in Boston.

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