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Confuzzled About Thesis Placement

Confuzzled About Thesis Placement

By Miss Marm

Writing a thesis is like wrapping a present: challenging, confusing, and involving way more tape than you thought you'd need. (In this metaphor, tape = thinking. Obviously.)

And even once you've got your thesis nailed down, further problems await. For example: where's the goshdarn thing supposed to GO?

A Sparkler writes:

Help! I am totally confuzzled about the placement of thesis statements. Last year in english class, my teacher said that your thesis statement should be the first sentence of your essay, but this year, my teacher (different teacher btw) says that it should be at the end of your intro paragraph. I can see an argument for both placements. Is there any 'correct' place to put a thesis statement? Any other tips on writing intro paragraphs?

Is there one "correct" place to put a thesis statement? Probably not. But it's definitely more common to see theses at the end of intro paragraphs. I like that placement, because I find it useful to think of thesis paragraphs as inverted triangles, with more general stuff on top, and the very specific thesis at the bottom. Here's a rough sketch:

General introduction

More specific lead-in

Road map of paper


Your old English teacher wasn't wrong; s/he just wanted to see something a little different. That's okay. In general, I think it's good to go with the flow and try out whatever this year's teacher wants to see. Think of it as a small experiment, one you can easily reverse if next year's teacher requires something different.

Sparklers, where does your teacher expect to see thesis statements? Have you heard different things from different teachers?

Topics: teachers, theses, the rules

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