Can the thesis statement be a question?

A past article discussed the ways how you can formulate a good thesis statement. In persuasive, argumentative, and expository essays, your thesis statement is your main claim, your stance, the answer to the question. Still, some may ask, can the thesis statement be a question? A very tricky question indeed. But before we answer that question, we must remember the purpose of a thesis statement in a paper:  

Qualities of a thesis statement:

  • A thesis statement is the writer’s summarized answer to the question posed by the topic. The writer backs his thesis statement with reasons, arguments, and evidence.
  • It is the element that binds together all the other parts of the paper.
  • It dictates the tone and flow of the essay.
  • It is expressed in the first paragraph, right after the introduction.
  • It provides a glimpse of what the reader should expect. It is the clue to what the conclusion of the essay will be.
  • It normally consists of only one sentence only–a summary of the writer’s claim.
  • It is commonly implied and not directly stated.
  • Its breakdown and validity, with all the evidences, can be read throughout the body of the essay.
  • It answers the question “What is this all about?” and “How important is this issue?”

thesis statement questionCan the thesis statement be a question?

  • No, because the purpose of the essay is to answer a question. The thesis statement is the answer to that question.
  • No, because you want to present the reader with an answer to a question. The essay will be pointless if the thesis statement is in the form of a question because a question does not answer anything.
  • Asking “Can the thesis statement be a question?” is an obvious indication that you must review and relearn the purpose of a thesis statement.

Can there be a question in the thesis statement?

  • No, there should not be a question present in the thesis statement because the question is already a given.

Can there be a question before the thesis statement?

  • Yes, but only for the purpose of a more intense thesis statement, which will be the answer to the question. But technically it would not be part of the thesis statement. The question just happens to be in the same paragraph before the thesis statement.

thesis statement questionExample of a question before the thesis statement: "Is the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States unethical to its religious citizens? Since the United States was founded as a secular nation observing a clear separation of church and state policy, the legalization of same-sex marriage is a milestone in secular human rights and in no way infringes the religious liberties of its citizens because of the country’s Constitution." In consideration of all the points raised, we again repeat and arrive at a logical and convincing truth: The thesis statement cannot be a question.

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