Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #455 - How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part Five - "because-should thesis, part two"

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #455 - How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part Five - "because-should thesis, part two"

Hi Mom,

I am back once again with the next installment in my series on writing persuasive essays. I am hoping that actual students with whom I am sharing these links actually migrate here and visit this very spot.

I am adding to and modifying this from the original, so students who may have examined the "How To Write a Persuasive Essay Web Site Final Project" will see new material herein.

I still think of your schooling, Mom, and helping you with your work. You were such a good student. I discussed these memories in previous installments, see forthcoming links.

Here are the links to the previous four 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

How to Write a Persuasive Essay Part Four

And onward...

As I wrote in part four, I defined a formula for writing a thesis. I call this formula the "because-should thesis" based on its sentence construction (a subordinated sentence with a "because" clause and a "should" verb in the main clause) and how it sets up a problem-solution essay.

Not all thesis statements need to use my formula, but it will help students who are struggling to formulate a thesis statement in early composition classes. Some narrow-minded and old-fashioned instructors may balk at the use of the word "because" to lead the sentence (though the formula can be applied in the "should-because" order), but there's nothing grammatically wrong with the set up as I have described it.


  • Describes problem AND solution
  • Creates a complex sentences as your thesis
  •  preview SUBJECT & topic sentences = essay map

THESIS is usually the last sentence of the introduction.


  1. Both a definition (and argument) of the problem and an argument for the solution.
  2. My because-should method automatically sets up problem and solution both in the thesis.
  3. An essay map - parts of the argument.



Supporting thesis statements is easy once you begin to accumulate your ideas. Once you have devised a thesis, you can analyze your audience and THE topics that you will investigate to support your thesis; from that point, you can begin to develop the topic sentences that will lead off your paragraphs, and you can devise the structure of your paper.

But first, your thesis must pass FIVE vital tests before you can begin to assemble all your support.


1.    STATEMENT: Is it a statement of an argument? Is its goal to convince the reader of something? A thesis statement is not a question. If it was supposed to be a question, it would be called the thesis question not the thesis statement.

SAMPLE THESIS: “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, school districts should institute a pay-to-play sports program, so that parents whose children participate in sports will offset a portion of the expense.”

2. POSITION AND ONE SENTENCE: Is the thesis statement the last sentence of the introduction? Are all the parts of it (problem/solution and essay map) all expressed in one sentence? (My because-should method works best for this).

3.    WHY? All thesis statements must be able to answer the "why" question. Sometimes this question is how or when or where or who or what as well. But most often why.
"The U.S. government should legalize marijuana."

WHY?? My because-should form answers the why question.

MORE EXAMPLES lacking the WHY answer

    “Capital punishment should be legalized in all states.”

    WHY? This one needs an answer to the WHY question

    “Parents should limit the amount and type of video games that they allow their children to play."

   WHY? This one needs an answer to the WHY question.

   “The smoking ban in Ohio should be repealed; bar and restaurant owners should be able to decide individually whether their establishments will allow smoking on the premises.”

4.    SO WHAT? All thesis statements must pass the so what? question. Often a thesis statement does not pass this test because it is phrased as a fact and not an argument.

"Marijuana is the highest grossing cash crop in the United States."

SO WHAT? What's the argument that uses this fact? Of what is the writer trying to convince me?

5. BECAUSE-SHOULD FORMAT - Not all thesis statements need be expressed in BECAUSE-SHOULD format, but they will be better for it.

Is your thesis expressed as a problem and solution. IE. Because of this problem, we should institute this solution.

Does your thesis have an essay map? Is there a preview of the topics that will be explored in the essay, topics to develop and make the thesis argument?

SAMPLE THESIS (The following is not a very good thesis. It's simply designed to show use of #s 3 and 4 above in a single thesis statement. I could do better if I wrote a REAL thesis on this subject).

Because Marijuana is the highest grossing cash crop in the United States, The U.S. government should legalize marijuana.


Because office politics can damage employee morale, destroy productivity, and even ruin a company's reputation, companies should provide team building programs and interpersonal communications training twice a year.

   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 = 457 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1610.04 - 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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