Introduction to Thesis Statements and Topic Sentences

What you’ll learn to do: identify, analyze, and create effective thesis statements

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Being able to identify the purpose and thesis of a text while you’re reading takes practice, and it is an essential skill to successful writing. Powerful thesis statements are an effective and important element of almost every writing assignment in college.

Before we begin crafting our own thesis statements, we’ll begin by practicing finding thesis statements. When trying to isolate the thesis in a piece of text, consider these questions:

  • What is the primary subject of this text?
  • Is the author trying to inform me or persuade me?
  • What does the author think I need to know about this subject?
  • Why does the author think I need to know about this subject?

Sometimes the answer to these questions will be very clearly stated in the text itself. Sometimes it is less obvious, and in those cases, the techniques on the following pages will be useful.