Tips on WRITING a WONDERFUL Thesis
Statement for the comparative paper
A thesis statement is a focused summary of the MAIN IDEA, OPINION, or
AGRUEMENT you are presenting in your paper.
A thesis will narrow your topic somewhat, to focus on a particular aspect of the topic
and your particular insight or argument about it.
Generally, a thesis statement appears at the end of the first paragraph of your paper.
As you write your paper, your thesis statement may change. Sometimes, you don’t
discover what you really want to say until you’ve almost finished writing the paper.
Avoid starting a thesis statement with “In my opinion. . .” or “This essay will argue
that. . .” because these phrases sound amateurish.
Your thesis statement will relate the two parts of history your paper compares, based
on key similarities and differences. It may take the form of a comparative sentence that
uses contrast words such as “although,” “while,” “however,” or “but.”
Everything you write in your paper should relate to your thesis statement.
Below are examples of thesis statements which have been analyzed for their topic, focus,
and argument. If you can figure out your own topic, focus, and argument from reading
your thesis statement, you are on the right track.
“Popular opinion holds that the Panic of 1829 and the Great Depression had separate causes. It is generally
said that economic problems in London caused the Panic of 1819, while the crash of the stock market in
1929 caused the Great Depression, however a deeper investigation reveals that aside from these surface
differences, the events had very similar underlying causes.”
Topic: two economic depressions.
Focus: the causes
Argument: both depressions had very similar underlying causes
“While public opinions about alcoholism have changed since the early 1800s, the effects of the disease
remain remarkably the same.”
Topic: alcoholism in two time periods.
Focus: public opinions and effects of the disease.
Argument: opinions have changed, but the effects have not.
“No two Presidents came closer to being transformed into kings by their own people than George
Washington and Andrew Jackson. While Washington could have used the public’s adoration of him to do
just about anything he wanted, he was restrained in his leadership and did not push his potential for power
nearly as far as he could have. Andrew Jackson, by contrast, used his public popularity to justify a
controversial expansion of the powers of the President.”
Topic: two very popular presidents.
Focus: public image and use of power
Argument: Washington could have used his popularity to become more powerful
than he allowed himself. Jackson exploited his popularity to expand his power as
You are being held responsible for upholding three major grammatical laws. Each time a
rule is violated, your paper loses 1 point.
1.) Complete sentences
2.) Subject-verb agreement
3.) Pronoun agreement
1.) Complete sentences. Every word you write in your paper will be part of a
2.) Subject-verb agreement. Subjects are either singular or plural. Verbs are either
singular or plural. Make sure you match them correctly
3.) Pronoun agreement. Every pronoun stands for a specific noun. Some pronouns
are singular (she, her, hers, he, him, his it, its) and some are plural (they, them,
their). Some pronouns are nominative (she, he, it, they, who), which means they
stand in for the subject of a sentence of clause. Some are objective (him, her,
them, whom) which means they receive the action of a verb. Some pronouns are
possessive (hers, his, its, theirs, whose), which means that they show ownership.
Fix the following groups of sentences, so that they are all complete.
1.) In the Era of Good Feelings, there were a lot of compromises. Such as the Missouri
2.) The Era of Good Feelings was a good time in history. This gave the United States a
good sense of nationalism. Especially when the US told Europe what they wanted.
3.) There were up sides too, America gained Florida from Spain for the cost of $5
million, and Maine became a state.
4.) When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth singed the Mayflower Compact.
5.) The Era of Good Feelings was as good as the name suggests. First and foremost, the
6.) As the steamboat go through the canal, it gets closer to the Hudson River.
7.) The reason for the higher crime rates are all the acts of violence on television.
8.) Because of the surge in crime, the number of children coming to the hospital with
serious injuries are going up.
9.) Other prevalent themes in the “Era of Good Feelings,” in addition to a nationalist
attitude, was an increasingly apparent sense of sectionalism.
10.) Everyone should do what they want.
Fix these pronoun errors.
11.) Heather and Christina play Thomas Jefferson’s children at Monticello. She is a good
12.) Both of my topics are about impeachment of a US President at the time of their
13.) The dog will stay with it’s puppies.
14.) Anyone who wants to get into their favorite college should get a high SAT score.
15.) Lincoln was the only President whom had bipolar disorder.
16.) Johnson and Clinton were not the only Presidents who Congress had disagreements
17.) Whoever the American people want as their President usually gets elected.
(illogical and redundant statements)
Writing redundant or illogical statements in your essay will lower your paper’s overall score (-1 point for
each error). Make sure you are aware of what you are saying.
Redundant statements repeat information unnecessarily without introducing any new ideas. Fix these to
remove the redundancy
1.) Both of my topics are about impeachment of a US President at the time of his
2.) The South was primarily agricultural. Most of its economic activity involved farming.
3.) Jonathan was a criminal. He committed many crimes. Some of his crimes were
robbery and selling drugs.
Many students thoughtlessly write statements that are illogical, meaning they say things that are impossible
or blatantly untrue. Mistakes often fall into a few categories:
A.) Matching subjects with actions they don’t do.
4.) The pancakes cook my mother.
5.) The lawn mowed.
6.) Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were Presidents who tried to impeach.
B.) Logic errors of geography and chronology
7.) The Second Amendment gives people all over the world the right to own guns
8.) Americans declared their independence when the Constitution was signed.
9.) The First Ku Klux Klan began in 1866 and lasted until it was suppressed by President
Grant in the 1870s. Neo-Nazis are another white supremacist group that emerged in the
1970s and 1980s. Both unfortunately still exist today.
C.) Errors with Conjunctions (such as because, and, but)
In a sentence, “and” indicates two things go together. “But” indicates contrast.
When you join a cause and effect using the word “because,” it is placed before the cause.
10.) Americans have the Constitution because they are a free people.
11.) I love going to the mall, and it’s really crowded and too expensive.
12.) Rob’s arm is broken because of the cast he’s wearing.