Rule One: Make an Assertion
A thesis statement makes an assertion; it is not a simple statement or observation.
Fact or observation: More people are attending community colleges.
Thesis: Community colleges are attracting more students because they offer job training programs as well as academic courses of study.
Rule Two: Take a Stand - What's Your Opinion?
A thesis takes a stand; it does not make an announcement.
Announcement: The thesis of this paper is the difficulty of solving the environmental problems of the Indian River Lagoon.
Thesis: Solving the environmental problems of the Indian River Lagoon will prove more difficult than many people believe.
Rule Three: It's a MAIN IDEA
A thesis is a main idea, not a title.
Title: The effect of the Internet on society.
Thesis: Continuing advances in the Internet are having a great impact upon communication in modern society.
Rule Four: Narrows Your Topic
A thesis statement narrows the topic.
Broad: The American automobile industry has many problems.
Narrow: The primary problem facing the American automobile industry is competition from foreign auto makers.
Rule Five: It's Specific
A thesis statement is specific.
Vague: John D. MacDonald’s stories are very good.
Specific: John D. MacDonald’s stories advanced the thriller genre by employing intelligent dialog, introducing environmental and economic concerns, and delving into moral issues.