How to Write a Clear, Direct Thesis Statement for the GED RLA Extended Response

By Achim K. Krull, Murray Shukyn

Regardless of how you ultimately decide to introduce your GED Reasoning Through Language Arts Extended Response, you need to write a clear and direct thesis statement — a single sentence that proclaims your opinion regarding the issue discussed in the two passages. When writing your thesis statement, make sure it meets the following requirements:

  • Expresses your position on the issue discussed in the passages: Take a stand. Pick a side.

  • Makes a statement that you’re prepared to support: Limit the scope of your thesis so it covers only the evidence presented in the passages. For example, if the passages cover why unions are or aren’t beneficial for workers, and you write a thesis statement claiming that unions are good for businesses, you have no evidence from the passages to support your claim. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

  • Is clear and direct: The reader needs to know where you stand on the issue.

Here are two examples of strong thesis statements:

  • Based on the evidence presented in the two passages, unions are necessary to ensure fair compensation and acceptable working conditions for employees.

  • Although the second passage presents solid evidence in favor of unions, union dues are an added expense that modern day workers can ill afford.

Don’t tell the reader what she already knows. The most common error in writing thesis statements is to write a statement of fact instead a statement of opinion. Here are a few examples of statements that fail to establish the writer’s opinion on the issue:

Both passages present evidence to support their claims.

  • There are numerous reasons to support unions.

  • Some people think that unions are unnecessary.

  • Passage Two presents an argument in favor of unions.

  • Unions charge dues that some workers do not like to pay.

Take a stand on the issue and defend your position. You choose your position as though you’re a judge, but when writing your thesis and essay, pretend you’re a lawyer presenting your case to a judge or jurors. They need you to tell them what you’re going to prove. However, keep yourself out of it. Avoid any mention of yourself with I, me, my, myself, or mine:

  • After reading the two passages, I have concluded that unions are good for workers.

  • I am of the opinion that unions should be abolished.

  • Evidence in the two passages leads me to believe that unions are a necessary evil.