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The Thesis Equation


For Z, X is Y because {a, b, c}.



  • X = essay subject narrowed to a length suitable for assignment

  • Y = writerís attitude about subject or what he/she is going to tell us about the subject

  • {a, b, c} = reasons to support X/Y statement, formulated as topic sentences in the body section of the essay (# of reasons vary per paper)

  • Z = limiting/focusing factors, such as audience and context of essay

Note: a thesis statement does not always include Z and {a, b, c}, but it should always have an X and Y. However, your essay must always make clear what the Z and {a, b, c} are to the reader. Z begins in the introduction and continues throughout the essay in the choice of reasons to suit the audience and context as well as the tone and diction levels. {a, b, c} come directly from the X/Y statement and the Z because they are reasons that logically support the essayís thesis and also will appeal to the essay reader.


Example:  Students should not complain about tuition hikes at Seminole State College because the money provides many useful services to them in computer labs, the library, and in classrooms.



SSC tuition hikes



students should not complain

{a, b, c}


money provides services in computer labs, the library, and in classrooms



the limiting factors are: students (the audience and complainers) and SSC (where the tuition hikes are occurring)


Thesis statements are not:

1.   Statements of fact: SSC raised tuition this year.

2.   Statements of the obvious: Students donít like paying tuition.

3.   Announcements of intent: This essay will explain how SSC uses tuition money in ways beneficial to students.