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HOW TO Write a Thesis Statement For an Persuasive Essay Step 1: Find the FAT in the prompt. • F is for FORMAT: Is the prompt asking you to write a letter, an editorial, or a speech? If it does not specify, then the format is a regular, academic essay. • A is for Audience: Does the prompt specify the audience? If not, then you are to assume the audience is your classmates and teachers. • T is for Topic: Persuasive essays are asking you to take a side on a specific topic or issue. What is that issue? Example: Prompt 1: Decide whether or not technology is having negative effects on students who are graduating high school now compared to students who graduated 10 years ago. • • • F: No specified format, so it is a regular, academic essay. A: No specified audience, so it is my teachers and classmates. T: Whether or not technology has created negative effects for modern-day students more than students from 10 years ago. Prompt 2: Write a letter to the editor of your school newspaper with supporting or opposing whether violence in the media has negative effects on young adults. Support your position with reasons, examples, facts, and/or other evidence. Convince your readers to take your position seriously. • • • F: Letter A: Editor of school newspaper, anyone who reads school newspaper (students, teachers, administration) T: Whether or not media has negative effects on teenagers. For the purposes of this “How To” handout, Prompt 1 will be used in the rest of the examples. Step 2: Determine the two opposing sides. Example: Prompt 1: Decide whether or not technology is having negative effects on students who are graduating high school now compared to students who graduated 10 years ago. Side One Side Two Technology has negative effects on today’s students. Technology does not have negative effects on today’s students. or Technology has positive effects on today’s students, compared to students 10 years ago. Step 3: Choose the side that you can argue more easily. This may not be the side you particularly believe in your heart, but it is the side you have the most evidence to use as support. Step 4: Brainstorm a list of reasons or pieces evidence that will help you prove your side and persuade others to adopt your point of view. Example: Technology’s negative effects on students • unable to problem-solve, because accustomed to getting automatic answers • reading skills deteriorated, because more involved in technology than reading longer works of literature • short attention spans • • vocabulary deteriorate, because of text messaging interpersonal communication deteriorated less patient • unable to use resources wisely • Step 5: Choose the three ideas that you would be able to write the most about and for which would have the most evidence. Order them from least important to most important. YOUR POSITION ON THE TOPIC Reason/ Supporting Detail 1 Reason/ Supporting Detail 2 Reason/ Supporting Detail 3 Example: Technology negatively affects Technology ESSAY TOPIC modern-day high school graduates negatively Reason/ lack of Supporting reading Detail 1 skills deterioration deteriorati Reason/ of interpersonal onSupporting of skills Reason/ to inability Supporting problem Detail 3 solve Detail 2 Step 6: Combine the ideas from your diagram to compose a complete sentence. Example: This sentence is your thesis statement. Technology negatively affects modern-day high school graduates, because of the lack of reading skills, deterioration of interpersonal skills, and inability to problem solve.