Pro Con Essay Thesis And Outline

Writers Workshop: Writer Resources

Writing Tips: Thesis Statements

Defining the Thesis Statement

What is a thesis statement?

Every paper you write should have a main point, a main idea, or central message. The argument(s) you make in your paper should reflect this main idea. The sentence that captures your position on this main idea is what we call a thesis statement.

How long does it need to be?

A thesis statement focuses your ideas into one or two sentences. It should present the topic of your paper and also make a comment about your position in relation to the topic. Your thesis statement should tell your reader what the paper is about and also help guide your writing and keep your argument focused.

Questions to Ask When Formulating Your Thesis

Where is your thesis statement?

You should provide a thesis early in your essay -- in the introduction, or in longer essays in the second paragraph -- in order to establish your position and give your reader a sense of direction.

Tip: In order to write a successful thesis statement:

  • Avoid burying a great thesis statement in the middle of a paragraph or late in the paper.
  • Be as clear and as specific as possible; avoid vague words.
  • Indicate the point of your paper but avoid sentence structures like, “The point of my paper is…”

Is your thesis statement specific?

Your thesis statement should be as clear and specific as possible. Normally you will continue to refine your thesis as you revise your argument(s), so your thesis will evolve and gain definition as you obtain a better sense of where your argument is taking you.

Tip: Check your thesis:

  • Are there two large statements connected loosely by a coordinating conjunction (i.e. "and," "but," "or," "for," "nor," "so," "yet")?
  • Would a subordinating conjunction help (i.e. "through," "although," "because," "since") to signal a relationship between the two sentences?
  • Or do the two statements imply a fuzzy unfocused thesis?
  • If so, settle on one single focus and then proceed with further development.

Is your thesis statement too general?

Your thesis should be limited to what can be accomplished in the specified number of pages. Shape your topic so that you can get straight to the "meat" of it. Being specific in your paper will be much more successful than writing about general things that do not say much. Don't settle for three pages of just skimming the surface.

The opposite of a focused, narrow, crisp thesis is a broad, sprawling, superficial thesis. Compare this original thesis (too general) with three possible revisions (more focused, each presenting a different approach to the same topic):

  • Original thesis:
    • There are serious objections to today's horror movies.
  • Revised theses:
    • Because modern cinematic techniques have allowed filmmakers to get more graphic, horror flicks have desensitized young American viewers to violence.
    • The pornographic violence in "bloodbath" slasher movies degrades both men and women.
    • Today's slasher movies fail to deliver the emotional catharsis that 1930s horror films did.

Is your thesis statement clear?

Your thesis statement is no exception to your writing: it needs to be as clear as possible. By being as clear as possible in your thesis statement, you will make sure that your reader understands exactly what you mean.

Tip: In order to be as clear as possible in your writing:

  • Unless you're writing a technical report, avoid technical language. Always avoid jargon, unless you are confident your audience will be familiar with it.
  • Avoid vague words such as "interesting,” "negative," "exciting,” "unusual," and "difficult."
  • Avoid abstract words such as "society," “values,” or “culture.”

These words tell the reader next to nothing if you do not carefully explain what you mean by them. Never assume that the meaning of a sentence is obvious. Check to see if you need to define your terms (”socialism," "conventional," "commercialism," "society"), and then decide on the most appropriate place to do so. Do not assume, for example, that you have the same understanding of what “society” means as your reader. To avoid misunderstandings, be as specific as possible.

Compare the original thesis (not specific and clear enough) with the revised version (much more specific and clear):

  • Original thesis: Although the timber wolf is a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated. [if it's so timid and gentle -- why is it being exterminated?]
  • Revised thesis: Although the timber wolf is actually a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated because people wrongfully believe it to be a fierce and cold-blooded killer.

Does your thesis include a comment about your position on the issue at hand?

The thesis statement should do more than merely announce the topic; it must reveal what position you will take in relation to that topic, how you plan to analyze/evaluate the subject or the issue. In short, instead of merely stating a general fact or resorting to a simplistic pro/con statement, you must decide what it is you have to say.

Tips:

  • Avoid merely announcing the topic; your original and specific "angle" should be clear. In this way you will tell your reader why your take on the issue matters.
    • Original thesis: In this paper, I will discuss the relationship between fairy tales and early childhood.
    • Revised thesis: Not just empty stories for kids, fairy tales shed light on the psychology of young children.
  • Avoid making universal or pro/con judgments that oversimplify complex issues.
    • Original thesis: We must save the whales.
    • Revised thesis: Because our planet's health may depend upon biological diversity, we should save the whales.
  • When you make a (subjective) judgment call, specify and justify your reasoning. “Just because” is not a good reason for an argument.
    • Original thesis: Socialism is the best form of government for Kenya.
    • Revised thesis: If the government takes over industry in Kenya, the industry will become more efficient.
  • Avoid merely reporting a fact. Say more than what is already proven fact. Go further with your ideas. Otherwise… why would your point matter?
    • Original thesis: Hoover's administration was rocked by scandal.
    • Revised thesis: The many scandals of Hoover's administration revealed basic problems with the Republican Party's nominating process.

Do not expect to come up with a fully formulated thesis statement before you have finished writing the paper. The thesis will inevitably change as you revise and develop your ideas—and that is ok! Start with a tentative thesis and revise as your paper develops.

Is your thesis statement original?

Avoid, avoid, avoid generic arguments and formula statements. They work well to get a rough draft started, but will easily bore a reader. Keep revising until the thesis reflects your real ideas.

Tip: The point you make in the paper should matter:

  • Be prepared to answer “So what?” about your thesis statement.
  • Be prepared to explain why the point you are making is worthy of a paper. Why should the reader read it?

Compare the following:

  • Original thesis:
    • There are advantages and disadvantages to using statistics. (a fill-in-the-blank formula)
  • Revised theses:
    • Careful manipulation of data allows a researcher to use statistics to support any claim she desires.
    • In order to ensure accurate reporting, journalists must understand the real significance of the statistics they report.
    • Because advertisers consciously and unconsciously manipulate data, every consumer should learn how to evaluate statistical claims.

Avoid formula and generic words. Search for concrete subjects and active verbs, revising as many "to be" verbs as possible. A few suggestions below show how specific word choice sharpens and clarifies your meaning.

  • Original: “Society is...” [who is this "society" and what exactly is it doing?]
  • Revised: "Men and women will learn how to...," "writers can generate...," "television addicts may chip away at...," "American educators must decide...," "taxpayers and legislators alike can help fix..."
  • Original: "the media"
  • Revised: "the new breed of television reporters," "advertisers," "hard-hitting print journalists," "horror flicks," "TV movies of the week," "sitcoms," "national public radio," "Top 40 bop-til-you-drop..."
  • Original: "is, are, was, to be" or "to do, to make"
  • Revised: any great action verb you can concoct: "to generate," "to demolish," "to batter," "to revolt," "to discover," "to flip," "to signify," "to endure..."

Use your own words in thesis statements; avoid quoting. Crafting an original, insightful, and memorable thesis makes a distinct impression on a reader. You will lose credibility as a writer if you become only a mouthpiece or a copyist; you will gain credibility by grabbing the reader with your own ideas and words.

A well-crafted thesis statement reflects well-crafted ideas. It signals a writer who has intelligence, commitment, and enthusiasm.


How to Write an Argumentative Essay on any Topic

Published 4/24/2013

What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay is an essay on any topic which discusses a topic and then makes an argument based on the discussion.

An effective argumentative essay must contain certain elements that will persuade your audience to see things from your perspective. During your essay planning, it’s important to consider your own points, known as the “pro” points, as well as strong arguments for the other side, known as the “con” points in order to shoot them down, making your essay more convincing.

How to Choose a Topic for an Argumentative Essay

In order to write a good essay, you need to find a topic that’s interesting, so that you can easily demonstrate your writing skills and finally get a high grade.

One of the best ways to find a topic for an argumentative essay is to perform a search for topics related to some compelling subject, like politics, religion, abortion, education or home life.

Using the following links, you can find a lot of good topics for your argumentative essay:

200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing

50 Argument Essay Topics

100 Argument or Position Essay Topics

Argumentative Essay Structure

Making sure to select the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the best way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.

An argumentative essay is organized according to one of these five patterns: pro-con, con-pro, 3-con, claim / counterclaim or alternating.

PRO-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this simple pattern for an argumentative essay, you discuss two pro points and one con point.

This pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

CON-PRO Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is very similar to the previous one, but the con point comes first.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each pro or con point.

3-CON Pattern

Recommended for short school essays on any topic.

In this pattern for an argumentative essay you don’t explicitly present any particular point, but instead refute three con points.

The pattern contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, one for each CON point.

Claim / Counterclaim Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This pattern for an argumentative essay is more advanced than the previous three, and allows for a more complete development of your argument.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and two main parts. In the three paragraphs of the first body part, you refute or rebut three points of the counterclaim. In three paragraphs of the second body part, you make three points in support of your main idea, and provide support for your claims.

Alternating Pattern

Recommended for advanced school and college essays on any topic.

This structure for an argumentative essay provides another option for claim and counterclaim discussion.

The pattern contains an introduction, a conclusion, and three main sections. In two paragraphs of each ,main section,, you refute or rebut one point of the counterclaim and provide one point supporting your claim.

Did you choose an argumentative essay pattern? Great! Now...

After choosing an essay pattern, now all you need is to write your essay, on any topic, according to your chosen structure. Also, be sure to read the A+ writing tips for an argumentative essay on any topic below. Follow these instructions and you will write an excellent argumentative essay.

Writing an A+ Argumentative Essay

Introduction

In an argumentative essay, the introduction is very important. It is where you lay out the main argument that your essay will make, and it gives the reader his/her first impression of your essay.

Start with brief background Information

Every pet owner knows that there are enormous responsibilities that go along with having a cat or dog. You must feed and exercise your pet to keep it physically healthy; you must play with it, and keep it emotionally healthy, too. You have to keep it safe from cars, people, or other animals, and you need to protect other people, property, or pets from your own animal.

Introduce the Topic of Your Essay

There’s another responsibility that not all pet owners think about, however: spaying or neutering, or “fixing.” What does “fixing” your pet mean? Simply put, it means taking your pet to the vet for a quick, cheap surgery that will prevent your pet from ever reproducing.

Explain Why it’s Important

This surgery solves problems that pet owners know about, and some that they might not have considered before.

State Your Position clearly

I believe that all pet owners should be required to have their pets fixed.

Counterclaim refutation paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying surgery is expensive.
Spaying surgery is risky.

Persuasively refute or rebut the point using evidence
(logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

To refute the point is to prove it is incorrect:

Almost all cities have a fund to help pay for the surgery. Just ask your vet or the local S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). The cost can be as low as $10.

To rebut the point is to prove that it is irrelevant or not powerful enough:

Spaying or neutering when your pet is young and healthy is almost 100% safe.
On other hand, your animal is in much more danger if it is not fixed, for the urge to run away from home will put your pet in extremely dangerous situations.

Turn this point to the opposite point, thus supporting your thesis

Therefore, there is no way we can agree with this point. Spaying or neutering should be done as soon as you get your pet.

Claim supporting paragraph

Clearly state the point

Spaying is good for the health of your pet.

Provide the supporting evidents (logical explanation, facts, statistics, well-known authority opinions)

Animals who are not fixed can sometimes go crazy trying to find mates. They can injure themselves trying to escape from their homes, or they may fight with other animals when they have escaped. Of course, while running free, they are in danger from cars. And finally, for females who become mothers, we must remember that giving birth is not a safe process.

Restate the argument as a proved thesis

For the ordinary pet owner, all these reasons should be strong enough to convince them to “fix” their dear pet.

Conclusion

The conclusion of an argumentative essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion reiterates your point, and reminds the reader that you have convinced them of your argument. The conclusion is the last part of the essay that your reader will experience.

Restate (do not repeat) your claim

No matter how you look at it, there’s really no valid reason not to spay or neuter your pet.

Briefly recount the arguments

Whether you consider the potential suffering of unborn animals, the health and comfort of your own pet, or your own convenience as a pet owner, you must agree that the facts all show that spaying or neutering is the way to go.

End by showing the importance of your conclusion

It’s not only the convenient choice, but also the morally right choice, and one that all pet owners should make.

Finalizing your Work

Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.

There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:

  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
  • Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
  • Ensure that your title page is done as required
  • Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine

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