Rich are not relevant to a general audience: “From the time I was small, I have been very active in defending our environment,” “From the first time I saw environmental protestors, I realized that they were all crazy. ” Note that some of these topics could be converted into theses that would be arguable to a general audience if they were de-personalized and established as arguable issues. Also keep in mind that personal examples may play a significant supporting role in your essay–but not in the thesis or topic sentences.
• A thesis should be very clearly written in precise, familiar terms, avoiding language that is overly vague, broad, specialized, or technical. You can assume that your general audience consists of well-informed, intelligent adults with good, general vocabularies, but you cannot assume they are specialists in a particular subject–at least not in English 1A. Example of a vague and overly broad thesis: “In some cultures, aspects of the environment may play a role in life’s spiritual and metaphysical dimension.
”Example of a thesis that is too specialized for a general reader: “The image of the child in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific, historical, and literary narratives is often representing or figuring interiority, growth, historicity, and development. ” (This thesis may be quite clear to advanced scholars of literature or history, but a general audience would probably find it too obscure. ) • A thesis may reliably forecast the organization of the essay, letting the reader know what main supporting points will be covered and in what order.
This forecast is sometimes called a plan of development (POD) or a blueprint. A POD is often a good idea, but it is not an obligatory part of the thesis in English 1A; you may present it in the sentence following the thesis, or you may skip it altogether Example of POD in thesis: Skateboarding should be limited to special parks because it poses a nuisance to pedestrians, leads to serious injuries, and causes thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to public and private property.
Example of POD following thesis: Skateboarding is not just a harmless recreation and should, in fact, be limited to special parks. As it now stands, the sport poses a nuisance to pedestrians, leads to serious injuries, and causes thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to public and private property. The following thesis rules also apply to your essays in English 1A, but keep in mind that as your academic writing becomes increasingly skilled and sophisticated, you may outgrow these restrictions.
And they may not apply to the essays you write in other courses (check with your instructors). • Limit your thesis statement to one sentence. • Do NOT frame your thesis as a question–it should be a declarative statement. • Do NOT rely on an implied thesis. We will encounter some implied theses in our readings, but your essays must have an explicit thesis statement. • The thesis must appear in the essay’s first paragraph (the introduction) at the end of the paragraph. • Underline your thesis in English 1A to make it easier for me (and for you! ) to identify it.
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