Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #449 - How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part Four - "because-should thesis"

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #449 - How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part Four, Writerly Wednesday

Hi Mom,  No poem this week. I am opting for the next installment of the How to Write a Persuasive Essay item instead.

I have been threatening to put my "because-should thesis" method online for some time. I did some Google searching a while back on thesis statements, but I did not find that anyone had specifically invented the same format for writing thesis statements for persuasive essays.

I should preface these remarks with the caveat that not all thesis statements need to be framed in the "because-should" form. But most arguments --potentially all arguments -- for persuasive essays are best formed in a problem-solution form. Describing the problem part with reasons or causes in a "because" clause, then naturally leads to a call for action in a solution part of the sentence, a "should" clause. A problem statement alone lacks an answer to "so what?" What should be done about this problem? Whereas a solution statement alone lacks the answer to the natural "why" question, why legalize marijuana or whatever the call to action may be.

I have developed my ideas about thesis statements and "because-should" thesis statements in particular since I originally wrote the explanations contained herein, but I will save those remarks for future posts. This post contains the nitty of the gritty, the basics of the form and the basics of the reasons for the form.

As always my remarks are written as if I am lecturing to you in my class because, well, I am.

If you are new to my blog, brought here by some Internet searching for how to write a thesis, WELCOME! Feel free to explore, meet my Mom to whom this is written (Hi Mom), and leave me comment! Thanks for stopping by.

If you're a regular reader other than my Mom, then you know what I am all about, but thanks for stopping in, also.

Here are the links to the previous three installments of this feature.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part One

How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part Two

How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part Three

And onward...


THESIS STATEMENTS ARE REQUIRED:The WHOLE point of the academic, persuasive writing we're doing is to emphasize the necessity of a thesis. Without a thesis, your paper would have no focused argument and thus would lack purpose.

THESIS IS MORE THAN AN ATTENTION-GETTING TOOL: Though a thesis can be used to ensnare the reader's attention and keep it, the true purpose of the thesis is to provide the argument the writer will make in the introduction so as to focus and structure the essay.

LIKE A COURT OF LAW NOT A MURDER MYSTERY: A persuasive paper is not like a murder mystery, a whodunit. You do not wait to reveal the thesis at the end of the paper.

Think of a paper as a court of law and YOU, the writer, are a defense attorney. Would you start your case by saying, "I am not going to tell you whether my client is guilty or not guilty. I want you to figure it out for yourself."

um.... no.

You would instead say something like, "My client is not guilty, and after you have heard the evidence I will present, and seen the holes that I will rend in the prosecutor's argument and evidence, you will reach the same conclusion that my client could not have murdered Lindsay Lohan (as much as we all wish he had)."

Thesis statements may take many different forms. One thing that they all have in common (or should have in common) is that they are all ARGUMENTS.

A thesis is an argument.

Often textbooks for composition courses muddy the waters by being vague directions and dancing around the thesis subject by explaining that it (a thesis) delivers the “controlling idea” or that a thesis delivers the “point of the paper” or the paper’s “main idea.” I am here to make this simple. In this class, you must write an ARGUMENT, an opinion, a statement with which someone could (and probably will) disagree. Yes, this statement is the controlling idea, the main idea, the point. Yes, it will contain an essay map, it will be concise, and it will be placed at the end of the introduction.

But let’s not equivocate. It’s AN ARGUMENT.

It cannot be a question, a statement of fact, or something that does not need to be proven.
If you write the thesis as a proper argument, it will need to be PROVEN (supported with evidence).

Students often find the composition of the thesis difficult (especially before writing the paper). REMEMBER, at this stage, you are creating a preliminary thesis, a working thesis. As you write your paper, your thesis may change. In fact, if you apply yourself to this work as you should, it probably will change.


One way I try to help you to create a strong thesis is to give you a format for the thesis, like a formula. You can plug in your material to my formula, and you will have a ready-made, argumentative thesis. It’s impossible to come out of this process without a thesis in a strong problem-solution form.

The formula uses the words BECAUSE and SHOULD to structure the sentence. In the “because” part, you give the reasons for the problem, and in the “should” part, you describe what “should be done,” which is the solution. The sentence can be written with either the because part first and the should second or the other way around. Each paper subject will alter which part of the sentence should come first (the most important part) and which should come second.

As you create these parts, you are also writing the ESSAY MAP. You are sharing with the reader the topics you will explore to support your claim that this problem should be solved. In some cases, you have to argue more substantially that the problem exists, and in other cases, you devote more time to the solution as the problem is more self evident.

The formula looks like this
1.    because of problem x, so and so should do Y
2.    so and so should do X because of problems y and z

Not all thesis statements need to use this formula, but they will be better for it.

I will now share some key ideas to remember and examples.

  • preview SUBJECT & topic sentences
  • essay map

Examples of thesis statements using the because-should method follow in the table. The table below shows examples with and without the because-should thesis formula.
Thesis Statments
Problem +
Solution =
Because Clause +
Reasons +
Should Clause +
Describe Solution
Formula Complete!
Example without
Trust is the most important element in any marriage; without trust, a marriage may not survive.
Example with
Because trust is the most important element in a marriage, both partners should work together in an open dialogue to nurture and maintain trust, even if this means attending couple's therapy.
Example without
The Vietnam War was useless.
Example with
Because of the great loss of human life, wasted resources, and ultimate failure to achieve the stated goals, the Vietnam War should be re-assessed historically as a useless military invasion.
Example without
Gun crimes take a great many innocent lives unnecessarily.
Example with
Because gun crimes are so rampant in our country and criminals don't care where they are when they commit gun crimes, states should change the laws restricting concealed weapons permits.
Example without
Office politics can destroy a company.
Example with
Because office politics can damage employee morale, destroy productivity, and even ruin a company's reputation, companies should provide human resource programs and interpersonal communications training twice a year.
Example without
Parents should help pay for sports in which their children participate.
Example with
School districts should institute a pay-to-play sports program requiring parents whose children participate in sports to offset a portion of the expense because of the budget constraints in most school systems and because a disproportionate amount of money is usually allocated to sports despite the small number of students who participate in them.

More to come in part five.
   Chris Tower    The Galactic Monkey Wrench   Kalamazoo, Michigan   49006   Contact me here with questions or comments.

© All text and some of the images are the exclusive copyright of christopher tower (who purposefully avoids capitalizing his name), also known as the galactic monkey wrench, located at the Eldorado Ranch and batcave in the heart of the Great Lakes. All rights reserved. All paronomasia intentional.


Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.


- Days ago = 451 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1609.28 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.
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