Every essay has a point, a main idea it explores. All of the information within an essay is designed to support that one main point. This point is what is called a “Thesis Statement.” It is customary to put a thesis statement towards the end of the first paragraph of the essay. It should be about one or two sentences long, and it should encompass the entire idea of the essay that follows.
What makes a good thesis statement is brevity and clarity.
It should be quick and to the point, a sort of preview of what can be expected when diving deeper into the essay that is being read. It could be thought of as a sort of figurative bucket, which will then have to hold all the points and arguments of the main body of the essay. The thesis statement should be vague enough that the essay that follows it has room to grow as it being written by the author, but at the same time precise enough to allow the paragraphs following it to flow in a logical manner.
A good thesis statement should provide a claim and a reason.
This means it should state main idea, for example “Over reliance on cars is making our population obese”. This statement, however, when viewed by the average reader would be quickly followed by the question “Why does this matter” and should be followed by the reason the issue is important. In the case of our example we can follow the claim with the reason “and this is causing all of us to pay more medical insurance.” This is an important hook, that lets the reader know that he has a reason to keep reading the essay, and that he will get useful information out of it.
The lack of a thesis statement is a clear sign of a badly written essay.
One that lacks focus, and has logically unrelated thoughts strewn about all over it. Another good analogy for the thesis statement is a map. Imagine that there are two men wandering through a foreign city, one holding a map, and the other without it. The man with the map will take the quickest route until he gets to his destination, while the one without it will be stuck walking aimlessly until he find his destination by chance, or gives up. If the map is a thesis statement, then the streets of the city can be seen as all of the possible ways the essay can develop. Without the map, or the thesis statement, the author of the essay will type aimlessly, and at the end the essay will not form one logical and cohesive narrative.
If you’re interested in writing a good essay, never forget the thesis statement.
It should be the first priority, the first step that allows you to plan out what it is you’ll be writing about. It will also allow the reader to be prepared for what he is about to read.