Thesis/Support Essays

Thesis/support essays convey a central idea clearly and succinctly. Because thesis/support essays open up and expand upon a single main point, they're suited to short reports, position papers, and critical analyses. Because they can, with practice, be written quickly, they're also handy for essay exams and letters of application or recommendation. As you become familiar with them, you'll no doubt see other uses.

Often your subject will be determined by your teacher, your employer, or the writing context itself. Other times you may be free to choose your own subject. Either way, the subject itself is only a starting point, which won't make or break your paper.

A thesis is a one sentence statement about your topic. It's an assertion about your topic, something you claim to be true. Notice that a topic alone makes no such claim; it merely defines an area to be covered.

Think of your thesis as a statement that remains to be proved. It commits you to showing your reader that it's founded upon good evidence and sound reasoning. That is, you want to show that you know what you're talking about, that you've investigated the matter thoroughly, have considered the implications of your findings, and are offering in your thesis not mere opinion, but a carefully thought-out conclusion. This job of uncovering and displaying your reasoning is the next step in writing a thesis/support essay.

Your topic sentences indicate the major support areas for your thesis, and the guide sentences show how you can develop each paragraph. Still, your paper is far from complete. While you've opened up your main idea to expose its parts, you have yet to get down to giving the specifics, the precise details that will help your reader feel the full weight of your thought. You must show the foundation of specific evidence that your general ideas are built upon. The following suggestions for paragraph development will help you coax forth details that will make your writing solid and substantial.