A thesis sentence is one that encapsulates a main argument or one component of a thesis statement. A thesis statement—the main point or argument of a text—can be of varying length and complexity. Therefore, it is not uncommon for a single thesis statement to be comprised of two or three main argument sentences. It is important not to confuse a thesis sentence with a thesis statement.
Sometimes, a main argument contains only one thesis sentence. In this single sentence, the entire main point or primary argument of the text will be expressed. More often, however, this point or argument is broken into two and sometimes more sentences, particularly if the point or argument is detailed or complex. When the main argument is comprised of more than one sentence, it is common for the first sentence to be an assertion of the primary interpretation or argument of the report, and for the second thesis sentence to present evidence or examples that support that interpretation or argument. This second sentence can be thought of as the "how" sentence because it explains how the interpretation or argument will be defended and discussed in the course.
Thesis statements must be very clear and precise; therefore, thesis sentences must be carefully crafted and even more carefully revised. A good practice for revising thesis sentences is to examine each word and phrase of the sentence and consider if that word or phrase is as precise as it can be. Consider the following thesis sentence: "Community service is a good thing for communities because it helps society improve." This has a basic idea, but it is not very specific. First, the word "good" is too vague. This writer should determine exactly what type of "good" community service does for communities. The same is true for the word "improve." This sentence should explain how society improves through community service. Another vague word is "society." Who or what comprises "society?" A better thesis on the same idea would be "Community service contributes to the social and cultural well-being of cities and towns by developing community relationships and addressing the particular needs of specific locales." All thesis sentences should be scrutinized in this fashion in order to develop thesis sentences that cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
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