Understanding Your Purpose

How Thesis is Related to Purpose

The following examples illustrate how subject, purpose and thesis are related. The subject is the most general statement of the topic. The purpose narrows the focus by indicating whether the writer wishes to express or explore ideas or actually explain or argue about the topic. The thesis sentence, claim, or main idea narrows the focus even farther. It is the sentence or sentences which focuses the topic for the writer and the reader.




Thesis, Claim, or Main Idea

Childhood experiences

To express your feelings and explain how one childhood experience was formative.

The relentless competition between me and my sisters distorted my easygoing personality.

Heart disease

To inform readers about the relationships between Type A personalities and heart attacks.

Type A personalities do not necessarily have an abnormally high risk of suffering heart attacks.

The death penalty

To persuade readers that the death penalty should be used.

Despite our belief that killing is wrong, a state-administered death penalty is fair, just, and humane.

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