College Writing Tips

College Writing Tip: Thesis Statement- What? How? Why? (Part Three)

Thesis Statements can be tricky, but they are not impossible!

This is Part Three of my three-post series talking all about those wonderful Thesis Statements. Regardless of the type of essay, I have three questions that you can (and should) ask whenever you start formulating your thesis statement.

What? How? Why?

Today we are going to look at the Argument Essay Thesis Statement and how my three questions apply to its development.

Argument Essay

This essay is clearly categorized as an argument (See the title of the essay). In this type of essay, you have to be arguing something, therefore it must include an opinion. Many students will jump on to hot-button topics like: abortion, immigration, trump, gun laws, etc. However, due to the corrosive atmosphere caused by such topics in classes, I always encourage my students to find a different topic. I have read papers by students who argue about: poaching, physical education, sexual misconduct in advertisement, driving laws, and drinking laws. Really the possibilities for argument topics are endless.

To begin your argument thesis you must first ask: WHAT am I going to argue?

  • Let’s stick with the world of writing shall we? Perhaps I might argue that traditional publishing is better than self-publishing. (Not necessarily my personal opinion, but for the sake of the argument. . .)
  • There, now I have a very clear opinion, but that is not enough.

Next, I must ask: HOW will I support my opinion? HOW will I address the counter-argument?

  • Indeed, in the argument essay, there are always two HOW questions. You cannot have a good argument without addressing the opposing opinion.
  • These questions drive me to think of criteria on which I will base my opinion. Some common factors included in publishing are: cost, marketing, ownership, ease of production, etc.
  • I might argue that traditional publishing is easier for the author because they do not have to pay the upfront costs of production, they have help with marketing, and they are given credibility.
  • But I would also need to address the opposing ideas that authors lose primary ownership with traditional publishing houses and they do not earn all of the profit.

Lastly, I have to address: WHY is this topic important? WHY am I writing about it?

  • This topic is important for all authors who are wanting to weigh their options. While this point will be clarified toward the end of the essay, it is helpful to hint at this in the thesis.

Argument Essay Thesis – here is the thesis combining all three of my questions.

Although self-publishing enables authors to maintain full ownership of and profit from their works, authors of any caliber should first consider publishing traditionally because publishing houses can assist with production costs, marketing ideas, and attribute credibility to the work itself.

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You know the drill! It’s your turn to try. Pick any topic that you have an opinion on and argue it with a well-thought out thesis based on what, how, and why!



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College Writing Tips, Writing Tips

Organization & a New Category!

Hey Everyone!

So yesterday, I talked a lot about organization and how it is so important for your own blogs! This week, I am re-organizing the categories under the “Writing Tips” tab on my main menu to include: Writing Tips, Blogging Tips, and now . . .

College Writing Tips!

As an English professor at a local university, it astounds me how many students come into my classroom woefully behind other students in their academic preparedness. There are a lot of basic writing tips and tricks that college students will find helpful in writing those essays and papers (for their English classes and beyond!).

Are you a student in high school or college right now? Do you want help on how to write the perfect paper? What topics are you interested in hearing me write about? What questions do you have for me?

Be sure to leave a comment below!

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