Thesis Statements and Hooks for a sturdy essay!

What is a Thesis Statement?

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence summary of the topic, argument, or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that brief summary as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

· to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two

· to better organize and develop your writing

· to provide your reader with a “guide” to your paper or story

How to Generate a Thesis Statement?

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “write about whether or not you think living forever is a blessing or a curse.” Turn it into a question... Q: “Is living forever a blessing or a curse?”

Then answer the question...

A: In my opinion, living forever is a curse and in this essay I will convince you to think the same.


A: Living forever is a blessing and by the end of this essay you will see why I believe this.

The answer to your question is the thesis statement for the essay every time! You are making a claim with your thesis statement.

Writing Hooks

Strategies to use to catch your reader’s attention in the very first sentence of your essay.

1. Begin with a simile or a metaphor.
Ex. My life has been a carnival.
Ex. My family is like an open book.

2. Begin with a question.
Ex. Who is the greatest athlete of all time?

3. Begin with a definition.
Ex. Amiable is the best way to describe my personality: I am friendly and caring.
Ex. Perfect is the best adjective to describe me: I am flawless in every aspect of my life.

4. Begin with a quotation.
Ex. “Learn to laugh” is something my kindergarten teacher told me after Ralph Thorsen spilled paint on my daffodil picture.

5. Begin with a comparison to a well-known person or celebrity.
Ex. I am as photogenic as Tyra Banks.

6. Begin with placing yourself in the future.
Ex. In the year 2012 I see myself as a supreme ballerina performing in Camelot at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

7. Begin with a dilemma.
Ex. Deciding to attend Hampton Roads Academy, a private school, was one of my most difficult decisions.

8. Begin with a scene.
Ex. The day of my birth began with Hurricane Charlie pounding at our door in Charleston, South Carolina.

9. Begin with the best advice you have ever received.
Ex. “Butch, did you practice the piano?” Since I was six years old, this has been a daily reminder from my dear mother.
Ex. “Be all you can be” has been my inspiration from my grandfather who is a retired Marine Corps colonel and my mentor.

10. Begin with an anecdote.
Ex. As my cousin and I pedaled our new bikes to the beach, 6 years old, suntanned and young, we met an old, shaggy-haired man weaving unsteadily on a battered old bike.


Rachael F.

English Tutor at Your Service

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