Don’t get into a dispute; know your purpose.

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A reader from Brownsville Texas asks for free editing on the following submission:

Family disputes can get out of hand, lead to unwelcome emotions and cause long term depressions.  There are many reasons for disputing. Undesirable feelings from family disputes can lead to insensitive words to each other. Undesired depression comes after the disputes.

Comments: I have to do revision on the thesis statement. No x,y,z

My response:

The first sentence gives us some consequences of family disputes. This would be fine if the paragraph was to go on to tell us more about these consequences. But the second sentence goes back and tells us about the causes of disputes. The the third sentence tells us something about the results of disputes, but they are not the results we were waiting for based on the first sentence. Finally the fourth sentence relates to the first sentence, but gives no new information. Your thesis statement needs to tie all the sentences together; in other words all the sentences in the paragraph should spring from the thesis statement.

The question of what would be a good thesis statement depends on what the purpose of your paragraph is. If it’s to be a persuasive paragraph, then we need to have a thesis statement which is could be debated like: teen fashion causes a lot of family disputes. Then we could argue for the thesis or against the thesis.

But if your paragraph is just to be informative, then we only need a thesis sentence which ties things together. Here’s a sample below. I’ve put the thesis statement in bold italics so you can see how the rest of the paragraph is related to it.

Family disputes can have very serious consequences. Although there may be many reasons for disputes, what is important is that the disputes can lead to some angry words being exchanged. Additionally disputes can cause hurt feelings which linger long after the dispute is settled. Finally, family disputes can trigger depression in sensitive individuals. All in all, family disputes should be avoided and families should strive to live together in harmony.

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