#EngClass: Thesis Statement

Fellas, what do you think is the most difficult part in working on a TOEFL/IELTS test?

“I think ‘listening’ test is most difficult for me.” – @asepnovrian

“Listening section.” – @lianawdsr

“Reading section.” – @ranavirgie

Hm. Plenty of you answered ‘listening.’ All right, we can figure that out next time. Today we are discussing Reading and Writing!

Reading and Writing play crucial role in Academic English. In fact, universities in US often have a Writing Center to assist the students. (So, fear not. Even many native speakers are struggling!) Our topic today is Thesis Statement. How to use it, and how to identify it in a text.

So, what is exactly a thesis statement? Why is it important to understand?

Thesis statement is a sentence (or two) in an essay that contains the focus of the essay itself. Thesis statement helps tell reader what an essay is all about. A well-written essay makes it easier for readers to understand. Many writers think of thesis statement as an ‘umbrella’: everything you carry along should be able to fit this umbrella.

Thesis statement is usually the first sentence in a paragraph – though it is not always the case! In TOEFL/IELTS test, we are often being asked to identify the main focus/idea of a certain paragraph. It can be a bit difficult.

Understanding how thesis statement works can help you identify main ideas in a text better. This is an example of a text with a thesis statement in the first sentence: ow.ly/i/6SEQP

As you can see, the sentences following the first are all explaining in more detail the idea in first sentence. The thesis statement becomes the basic idea, the main topic discussed. The other part of the paragraph are helping to explain it. Meanwhile, this is an example of a thesis statement located in the end of a paragraph (in blue): http://ow.ly/i/6SEVO

The first sentence was only a rhetoric. A question to trigger the interest of the readers. The main idea was in the last sentence. Because it was the one that serves as the ‘umbrella’.

How the umbrella works. I like to use this method when writing or reading an essay: ow.ly/i/6SF0e

So when you are reading a text, imagine the umbrella. Which part is above, which one is under it? :D

Hope that answers your concern in reading. Keep your questions coming!

Source: The Guide to Grammar

Compiled and written by @animenur for @EnglishTips4U on Sunday, 14 Sept 2014.



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