“You're not supposed to be in here! You're going to ruin the surprise!”This article contains spoilers about the game's lore.
It is Cordylon's responsibility to sort and file knowledge obtained by the Lotus. Although the acquisition of such data occupies most of the AI's time, there are moments where Cordylon can be inclined to share the fruits of its labor with others. On those rare occasions, its massive databanks open and offer those deemed worthy insight.
Cephalon Cordylon is a recurring character within the Warframe community. They answer questions from Tenno about the universe of Warframe in the biweekly Ask A Cephalon blog column.
The following are all the known entries known to the Ask a Cephalon blog. As per Entry 24 in March 22, 2016, there has been no other entries released in the future.
Entry 24 (Mar-22-2016) ▾▾
Ory_Hara asks: Does seeing that the Infested were able to assimilate even a Cephalon like Jordas cause you concern, Cordylon? What do you think of the process of a Cephalon being assimilated into the Infested hivemind?
To be assimilated into the Infestation is to lose all sense of self, and while I do not 'feel' in an emotional organic sense I do lament the loss of Cephalon Jordas to Infested corruption. Any Cephalon who fails to fulfill their intended purpose is a tragic waste of resources.
I, however, am not concerned. To succumb to Infestation there would need to be several breached security codes, including those dedicated to disinfection, prior to gaining access to my hardware. In such a scenario it is safe to assume that this entire facility has suffered catastrophic damage and the end of all life onboard is eminent.
(PS4)Killerworld asks: In Corpus settlements I've seen a huge Osprey carrying cargo, other times, I've seen it sunken in snow. What is that Osprey?
The Corpus produce Osprey for more than combat purposes, as such a simple design is quite versatile in what it is capable of.
Some Osprey units have been optimized to lift heavy structures, while others serve as personal life-support systems or portable shields for use in harsher environments. There are also known occurrences for smaller Osprey units being used as serving trays, or portable beverage dispensers, although such a case is limited to more affluent individuals.
TARINunit9 asks: When I'm fighting to cleanse Infested off a starship, I have a habit of using my Castanas to break the exterior windows as I step back into my landing craft, to vent rooms of loose bio-matter and force the ship into hull breech lockdown.
Does this habit actually accomplish anything useful, or am I simply making things more frustrating for my employers?
While it may seem like venting a room of its atmosphere may be assisting in the overall cleanup of an Infested vessel, the reality is your actions have consequences you have not taken into consideration.
The first and most important procedure in handling Infested material is isolation and containment. By venting Infested matter into open space you have already make the task of disinfection nearly impossible. Additionally, you have now threatened Infestation spreading to other remote locations.
Given the frequency of inter-planetary travel in some regions of space you may also be putting smaller, less armored vessels at risk. There are several accounts of smaller freighter ships experiencing damage from stray debris. Single-manned craft can be severely damaged from the larger shipping containers that Corpus vessels may carry, assuming they do not have a proper fastening or magnetic lock.
There is also a minor fine of 10,000 Credits for any discovered cases of 'littering' in commercial sectors, enforced by the Corpus Trans Planetary Shipping Board. Though it is unlikely the Lotus would ever allow such a fine to be enforced, participation in a clean space is highly encouraged.
A Dedicated Tenno asks: I know the Lotus likes to get us all something special on our... uh... birthday. Any idea what she has in mind this year? I'd love something in purple.
I should remind you that the Lotus' documents, including schedule and personal itinerary, are highly classified. Even if I were aware of what potential 'gift' you were to receive I would be unable to share such information.
There is, however, no harm in scheduling some time at the firing range in the near future. That was a polite recommendation, not a hint.
Entry 23 (Feb-16-2016) ▾▾
Shuhari Asks: How did Maroo find her bazaar?
The rogue known as Maroo has earned many connections through her less-than-honest dealings, but how she acquired her 'open market' remains a mystery. This does not mean that we have not taken some effort into learning the truth. Maroo's facility is, while minimalistic, impressive enough to have earned the curiosity of the Lotus.
Our most compelling leads suggest that Maroo had the facility reconstructed from the remnant debris of Tenno relays. The financial cost of such an endeavour would certainly be enormous, but it can be assumed that Maroo does make a significant return from transactions that occur on her trading post.
NikodemosTheMan Asks: Dear Cordylon, are Infested edible?
Due to the unique nature of Technocyte tissue there is a higher statistical probability that Infested flesh will begin to consume and assimilate organic life from within rather than be digested. This is because most organic beings do not contain the proper natural immunity to its infectious nature.
You are not the first being to question whether or not the Infested can be consumed, but documented history shows that us that Infestation is best eradicated rather than experimented with:
- Case # 324: Grineer Captain Vek Th'ow succumbs to Infestation after trying to crush an unusually small Infested Charger with his boot.
- Case #567: A Corpus research vessel is overwhelmed with Infestation after discovering an abandoned smuggler ship containing contaminated credits. Vigorous application of antibacterial soap did not seem to have any slowing effect.
- Case #132: A New Loka survey expedition perishes after collecting what they believed to be 'excellent quality moss'. Their bodies were recovered, mostly consumed by Infestation. No trace of moss was evident.
- Also See: Alad V.
Rotomtom asks: Are there any other Infested strains like the Mutalist strain made by Alad V?
Infestation can manifest in a wide manner of ways, capable of warping organic flesh into a deadly assortment of threatening creatures. The amount of time necessary to see such corruption to completion is inconsistent, but it's not inconceivable to think that certain strains could manifest to be more effective for a particular goal.
Knowing Alad V was able to directly influence Infested development means that there may be others doing the same.
Saryn Asks: I'm looking for a change of style. Something that will really let me stand out on the battlefield. Any thoughts?
If it's fashion advice you're looking for you may yield greater results from speaking to other Tenno. They seem to be quite adept at finding uniquely colorful patterns to decorate themselves with.
Even still, it is my understanding that the Lotus has uncovered new technology hailing from the Orokin Era that could interest you...
Entry 22 (Jan-26-2016) ▾▾
Clovis15 Asks: I know that "Capture the Cephalon" is a popular sport for Tenno training under Teshin these days, but I'm left wondering how the Cephalon - whom all seem to be sentient and self-aware - feel about being used this way?
You are correct in making the assumption that Cephalon are sentient, as it was discovered that a certain degree of self-awareness was ideal for ensuring the completion of specialized tasks. Cephalons Sark, Apnar, and Vull are very well aware of their design, and as such can perform with increased efficiency when compared to inferior programs.
Their desire to be returned to their respective 'base' is rivaled only by their need to see the opposing faction crushed into humiliating defeat. Rest assured that while Teshin's Cephalon assistants may sound as though they are in distress, such outcry is an important part of their assigned role. Any attempt to diminish their anguish during capture could be seen as interference, and is strongly discouraged.
BenzinNinJa Asks: In a solar system filled with death, dismemberment, constant fights, and the ever-shifting balance of power, there are plenty of things for the mortals to worry about. But what does a "being" such as yourself, everlasting and unless impacted by external influence, immortal, worry about?
While you are correct that I am not susceptible to many elements that would end the existence of organic beings, it is incorrect to assume I do not have 'worries'. For example, as data acquisition is my prime function, a lack of any data to properly file would leave me without a task. There is a high probability that I would be reassigned to perform a new task that may not be as insightful.
I keep a small part of my processes assigned to the task of monitoring other potential anomalies that could give cause for concern, such as:
- The sudden and immediate shift in gravitation alignment that could result in a collision with a nearby asteroid.
- A collapsing void rift that would tear through subspace, eradicating all physical material in its wake.
- Excessive static, most commonly the result of an unplanned visit from Volt.
I am also not entirely fond of organic life that has not yet reached its adolescent stage, as they require additional planning to manage and frequently emit unusual odors.
Salenstormwing Asks: Grineer Arc Traps seem dangerously effective. Is there any chance the Steel Meridian might have the blueprints for such items?
A question like this would be best directed toward Steel Meridian, but it should be noted that the most dangerous element of the Grineer Arc Trap is their use as a defense measure. Given the amount of power required to use a single trap, it would likely be far more effective to utilize the Amprex -- a weapon that serves a similar function but does not have the limitation of being stationary.
If you do ask Steel Meridian for such an item, I would be pleased if you could also arrange to receive the schematics of a Balor Fomorian. Despite several core flaws the Grineer battleship is a formidable opponent. I am always open to the possibility of relocating my servers to a much more strategic vessel.
Entry 21 (Jan-05-2016) ▾▾
Zephyrzay Asks: How does a Cephalon celebrate the festive season?
Cephalon have no need for celebration, but it is understood that organic life forms frequently enjoy distracting themselves from their mortality and eminent demise with a wide range of celebratory occasions. As participation in these events helps improve morale, I always stay prepared for any potential celebrations by keeping appropriate festive subroutines on standby.
These celebratory statements and actions include:
- "Congratulations on another year of existence."
- "A reminder: excessive consumption of mood-altering substances can lead to intense sickness."
- "Please enjoy this seasonally-correct and visually accurate representation of festive imagery."
The final statement is normally followed by a holographic image of confetti, streamers, and flashing lights. I have learned not to perform such an action around Tenno that feel particularly attached to Mirage, as it has encouraged an unintended response in the past.
Morec0 Asks: I'm certain that the Colonists have attempted, and likely continue to attempt, self-defence against the Grineer or Corpus throughout their history. What sort of weapons have they used or even made to defend themselves?
Even well-prepared Colonists likely do not have an appropriate defense that could withstand a premeditated Grineer or Corpus invasion, but there have been reports of some colonies surviving such attacks through unconventional means.
The most frequent come from Colonists that have enlisted the help of freelance mercenaries or Syndicates such as Steel Meridian. These deadly firefights still see causalities, but raids are expected on settlements unfortunate enough to catch the attention of the Grineer Empire. Corpus engagements can often be negotiated before coming to violence, but these contracts are rarely mutually beneficial for both parties.
A rare exception is the reported instance of a Corpus Hostile Investigation Unit that was held back by a single juvenile colonist. Description of the incident from HIU informants is unclear, but the core of the report focuses around several hand-made booby-traps that caused serious injuries preventing the team from performing a full sweep of the area.
Snowmotion Asks: Knowledgeable Cordylon, were you in possession of the capability to physically taste, of the various dishes and desserts on offer across our solar system, could you share the ones you believe would be most agreeable to you?
There are many dishes across our Solar System that could fall under the definition of `Agreeable` due to either the general appreciation for their base ingredients. Many of these prepared meals range widely depending on local tastes, but there are a few that stand out:
- Boiled Martian Oasis Jellyfish, dusted with blend of Earth spices served over the finest solar-enriched vegetation.
- The Corpus-created Nutritional Flavor Bar is well known amongst Crewmen for its marketing slogan: 'Sustain yourself with nourishment.'
- Kubrow Flank, fried or burned. This is one of two 'recipes' that can be found in Grineer logs under 'edible objects.'
An Avid Fisherman Asks: Where can I purchase a weapon that's both practical in combat, but also excellent for catching the occasional wild carp on Earth.
Any tool that can serve multiple purposes reliably is one to be admired, and I am pleased to announce that Tenno should have access to such a weapon within the next lunar cycle. While effective against wildlife I am inclined to warn Operators against using such a weapon for hunting wildlife larger than the size of a regulation Landing Craft.
Entry 20 (Dec-10-2015) ▾▾
Vision and Voice Asks: Where exactly do the credit rewards we get from most of our missions come from? Who's paying us?
Credit rewards are distributed by the Lotus for the successful completion of a Mission. These Credits are obtained by various means, whether through the resale of information obtained during espionage or the acquisition of goods obtained through remnant Corpus or Grineer outposts. On rare occasion the Lotus is forced to keep such discoveries secret, but such valuable data often comes with its own benefits.
Gifts from outlying colonies threatened by Grineer raiding parties are also not uncommon. Even Steel Meridian, though their intentions may be righteous, are required to take payments in order to continue their operations.
Mercer08 Asks: I enjoy the aesthetics of our Syandanas, so I hate bringing this up, but aren't Syandanas a tactical disadvantage? I mean, if an enemy grabs it or if it gets caught in a fan the Syandana's wearer would be in for it. So is there some technology we use to prevent such outcomes, or do we wear them solely for aesthetics and tradition?
The simplest explanation is that a Syandana varies on the intention of each individual Tenno. Some wear them for ornamental purposes, or to remind themselves of their heritage. Others wear the banners of fallen enemies to inspire fear. Most commonly Syandana use to display a high ranking or social status amongst peers or outsiders.
Reports of such unnecessary decoration being the result of a Warframe's destruction are quite rare, as Syandana are capable of being easily detached with minimal effort. Organic life with vulnerable air passageways are still recommended not to wear Syandana while experiencing an extensive sleep cycle.
Even including these reported instances of accidental self-harm there is insufficient data to suggest that wearing a Syandana provides a tactical disadvantage in combat. Until such data can be collected and analyzed there is no reason that the Tenno cannot continue to look extravagant in combat.
Caobie Asks: Since the ancient Earth holiday season is upon us are there any unique annual holidays that the Tenno, Grineer, or Corpus celebrate?
Of the three groups listed the Corpus are most likely to fit the description of celebrating a 'Holiday'. Most of these rituals are done with remarkable pomp and circumstance, as the entire purpose of having such a celebration is to notify your peers and rivals of an impending success or meteoric Profit gain.
These special occasions are not limited to a single day but rather a significant life event such as:
- The termination of your first financial opposition's business or life savings.
- The creation and successful patent of a unique new technology.
- The establishment of a new trade route.
- A child's first stock purchase, only after said stock has achieved a capital gain over the equivalent of 7 Earth day cycles.
- The death of a well-established relative.
The Tenno do not celebrate holidays as a whole, although it is not uncommon to find some Tenno have adopted new traditions to build comradery within the safety of their Dojo. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Dojo decoration.
- Clan outings to hunt and presumably maim exotic targets.
- Dramatic unveiling of new technology.
- Celebration based around the foundation of a Clan or Alliance.
Grineer have several celebrations based around celebrating the glory of their Queens, many of which end in the execution of traitors or presumed enemies of the Empire. These events are often held in public, frequently in the aftermath of a successful raid or invasion.
I am inclined to advise that, of the celebratory examples listed, you are strongly advised to not participate in a Grineer Liberation Festival.
Ivara Asks: Any chance the Lotus has a new hat I can use? I love my hood, but sometimes it's nice to use a bit of peripheral vision.
Entirely understandable, Ivara. You'll be pleased to know that our technicians are hard at work designing a new helmet suitable for keeping excessive light from impeding your vision while providing an improved field of view. Its design was largely inspired from ancient studies of Earth lore, but we assure you the material it is constructed from is of the highest quality. We expect a field-suitable product to be available before the end of the month.
Any increase in urges to commit banditry while wearing this experimental headgear are entirely coincidental.
Entry 19 (Nov-24-2015) ▾▾
Dmkrodan Asks: Cephalon, what is the most peculiar experience you have had in regards to the Grineer, or Corprus? Surely you have interacted with something outside of the Tenno?
Data acquisition requires I interact with a multitude of life forms, ranging from the Tenno and the Lotus to more elusive private contract workers.
Corpus are often on the forefront of technological advancement, and Tenno often uncover secretive documentation, but it is the Grineer who most frequently provide me with the most 'peculiar experiences' by a wide margin. Traitors to their Queens despite rigorous physical and mental conditioning, Grineer informants risk their lives to prevent atrocities from occurring where they can.
Grineer experience in genetic manipulation has left their engineers impressively adept at creating flesh-dissolving bacteria, aggressive neurotoxins and other admirably deadly organic weapons. Although few of these projects see weaponization, their commitment to scourging the battlefield of organic life is something to be admired.
Zahnny Asks: Do Cephalons contain any physical presence besides the devices they are stored in? So far we have only seen Cephalons use Holograms as a physical representation of themselves.
Cephalon, like most data, do require some element of physical attachment in order to exist. These devices range from entire servers to compact chips, and would vary in size depending entirely on the nature of the Cephalon in question.
Over time and extended interaction with organic life it was determined that organic beings feel less intimidated and more in control when able to speak directly to a form. Light constructs of organic life meant to provide comfort in conversation were briefly used -- but many expressed displeasure when faced with speaking to holograms of friends, family, Kubrow, or nonthreatening inanimate objects.
Physical proxies are expensive to create, and can be the subject of physical violence should disagreements arise.
NikodemosTheMan Asks: Do Corpus keep pets?
A 'pet' by definition is a domestic or tamed life form kept for companionship. Unless strictly involved in the research of an ongoing thesis many Corpus choose not to keep a 'pet', but may indulge in projects that can have the unintentional side effect of generating affectionate thoughts. Alad V's Zanuka, despite being an abomination in the eyes of Tenno, is a good example of this.
Many Corpus Crewman indulge in basic robotics, and it is not entirely uncommon for personal projects to emerge amongst staff. Some more competitive crews are even said to have regularly contest where top creations can be weighed against each other as a way of encouraging a more scientific growth within an isolated community.
These kinds of 'team building' exercises are only done on ships with an abundance of resources, as reports of theft or missing goods have been known to occur. Sabotage is not entirely uncommon as competition deadlines draw closer, but statistics have shown this is less likely to occur in facilities handling explosive or toxic materials. It is safe to assume that after a few internal incidents the risk of such subterfuge is truly not worth the reward.
Rhino Asks: Where is my Palatine Skin?
As you are well aware I do not handle the manufacturing of Warframe components -- however it would appear that regular updates from researchers at our Combat Aesthetics Division have been logged and are suggesting that this 'vintage Warframe look' will be available this week.
It is certainly good news for Rhinos across the sector. I anticipate my databanks quite busy responding to Tenno sending me visually appealing entirely complimentary color combinations to record.
Entry 18 (Nov-10-2015) ▾▾
Dhrekr Asks: Delicious Cordylon, what is the sound of a Cephalon's thoughts? I always assumed it's some sort of humming, but I could be wrong.
Delicious? This is an unusual greeting.
As I am made up almost entirely of data the list of reasons why oral consumption is not advised is extensive, but I am curious as to what inspired this particular word selection. In ancient times many less advanced cultures believed that consuming their enemies would bring them power. Such practice has been proven to bear no satisfactory results -- with broad exception given to Technocyte Infestation.
To answer your inquiry: Cephalon do not produce audio frequencies when processing information, or 'thinking'.
I also recommend submitting yourself to processing that you may be properly scanned and…treated for any potential breach of Infestation that may have occurred aboard your landing craft. I can assure you, such an investigation would be quite painless.
Ory_Hara Asks: Are certain Warframes forbidden to be used when browsing your databanks due to potential hazards they could pose to your hardware, like Mag or Volt for example?
Although Mag and Volt are capable of causing extensive damage to electronics it is not often that Operators mistakenly unleash the power of the Void on their own equipment. Furthermore due to the sensitive nature of my task it is quite rare for any Operator to interact directly with my databanks. Organic beings lack the finesse to properly navigate such an overwhelming amount of information, which is why Cephalon interaction is critical to the success of Tenno operations.
Should physical interaction be even required, such as to relocate my storage facilities, rest assured that my databanks are well protected against electrical surge, magnetic interference, excessive radiation, explosive force, and high-velocity weapons fire.
ColaDeTigre Asks: All-knowing Cordylon, who polishes the Void Towers? They look so…shiny. Is there a Corrupted Cleaning Service?
With the vast amount of particles that travel through space you are correct to assume that Orokin Towers should have significant more wear than they currently display. Many of the functions of these stations are still a mystery to us, as unlocking Orokin technology is a difficult task for even the most adept of the Lotus' agents.
Some have theorized that the towers use electromagnetic shielding to keep the pristine condition maintained, while others argue that nanomachines may be involved. A far less accepted theory was put forth by a Corpus researcher, suggesting that wounded or malformed Corrupted agents are given the task of maintaining the visual aesthetic of the towers.
Having never captured any proof that these agents could exist, the current theory has gained notoriety for its quote: "The best janitors go unnoticed."
ZyroHunter Asks: I have noticed in the Sealabs that in the Dormitories, there are shower units. If the Grineer troops have such a low life span why keep a shower in the dorms?
Contrary to popular thought the Grineer do concern themselves with cleanliness when the time is appropriate. Tyl Regor's research likely required disinfectant be applied regularly to any Grineer venturing to or from the lab's research facilities.
There was a brief period of time when Grineer raiding parties would cease bathing entirely, building up an aroma they believed would set fear into their opponents. The results were less successful than predicted when it was discovered that Corpus sensors were keenly adept at picking up certain aromas, and the project was dropped entirely when a particularly foul raiding party were vented into space.
Entry 17 (Oct-27-2015) ▾▾
Scout890 Asks: Is it possible to open a Corpus designed container without breaking it into small chunks?
Corpus storage containers, lockers and transport capsules are designed to keep goods contained and non-authorized personnel from access. Complex locking mechanisms, voice-recognition and other tools are used to keep valuable resources from falling into the wrong hands.
While it's entirely possible for a Tenno to spend time breaking into a single lock, these commercial containers are rarely linked into a network and therefore must be accessed manually. Although there is some risk to the material inside, breaking the container to access contents within is much more time efficient. There has also been reports of increased satisfaction from field agents who need an additional outlet for the stress of their work.
An interesting note, since the re-awakening of the Tenno many major shipping businesses within the Corpus have reported regular financial loss with exception to one. Material Packing Solutions has seen a significant increase in Profit over time. Sources site the success of MPS to an impeccable Goods and Services Replacement Contract, and a near monopoly on small to mid-sized industrial shipping containers.
Mercer08 Asks: We've seen cloning labs after dealing with Tyl Regor, but why haven't we attacked them before? We sabotage Grineer Galleon reactors all the time, but why not sabotage a reactor inside a cloning facility or weapons factory?
Writers Workshop: Writer Resources
Writing Tips: Thesis Statements
Defining the Thesis Statement
What is a thesis statement?
Every paper you write should have a main point, a main idea, or central message. The argument(s) you make in your paper should reflect this main idea. The sentence that captures your position on this main idea is what we call a thesis statement.
How long does it need to be?
A thesis statement focuses your ideas into one or two sentences. It should present the topic of your paper and also make a comment about your position in relation to the topic. Your thesis statement should tell your reader what the paper is about and also help guide your writing and keep your argument focused.
Questions to Ask When Formulating Your Thesis
Where is your thesis statement?
You should provide a thesis early in your essay -- in the introduction, or in longer essays in the second paragraph -- in order to establish your position and give your reader a sense of direction.
Tip: In order to write a successful thesis statement:
- Avoid burying a great thesis statement in the middle of a paragraph or late in the paper.
- Be as clear and as specific as possible; avoid vague words.
- Indicate the point of your paper but avoid sentence structures like, “The point of my paper is…”
Is your thesis statement specific?
Your thesis statement should be as clear and specific as possible. Normally you will continue to refine your thesis as you revise your argument(s), so your thesis will evolve and gain definition as you obtain a better sense of where your argument is taking you.
Tip: Check your thesis:
- Are there two large statements connected loosely by a coordinating conjunction (i.e. "and," "but," "or," "for," "nor," "so," "yet")?
- Would a subordinating conjunction help (i.e. "through," "although," "because," "since") to signal a relationship between the two sentences?
- Or do the two statements imply a fuzzy unfocused thesis?
- If so, settle on one single focus and then proceed with further development.
Is your thesis statement too general?
Your thesis should be limited to what can be accomplished in the specified number of pages. Shape your topic so that you can get straight to the "meat" of it. Being specific in your paper will be much more successful than writing about general things that do not say much. Don't settle for three pages of just skimming the surface.
The opposite of a focused, narrow, crisp thesis is a broad, sprawling, superficial thesis. Compare this original thesis (too general) with three possible revisions (more focused, each presenting a different approach to the same topic):
- Original thesis:
- There are serious objections to today's horror movies.
- Revised theses:
- Because modern cinematic techniques have allowed filmmakers to get more graphic, horror flicks have desensitized young American viewers to violence.
- The pornographic violence in "bloodbath" slasher movies degrades both men and women.
- Today's slasher movies fail to deliver the emotional catharsis that 1930s horror films did.
Is your thesis statement clear?
Your thesis statement is no exception to your writing: it needs to be as clear as possible. By being as clear as possible in your thesis statement, you will make sure that your reader understands exactly what you mean.
Tip: In order to be as clear as possible in your writing:
- Unless you're writing a technical report, avoid technical language. Always avoid jargon, unless you are confident your audience will be familiar with it.
- Avoid vague words such as "interesting,” "negative," "exciting,” "unusual," and "difficult."
- Avoid abstract words such as "society," “values,” or “culture.”
These words tell the reader next to nothing if you do not carefully explain what you mean by them. Never assume that the meaning of a sentence is obvious. Check to see if you need to define your terms (”socialism," "conventional," "commercialism," "society"), and then decide on the most appropriate place to do so. Do not assume, for example, that you have the same understanding of what “society” means as your reader. To avoid misunderstandings, be as specific as possible.
Compare the original thesis (not specific and clear enough) with the revised version (much more specific and clear):
- Original thesis: Although the timber wolf is a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated. [if it's so timid and gentle -- why is it being exterminated?]
- Revised thesis: Although the timber wolf is actually a timid and gentle animal, it is being systematically exterminated because people wrongfully believe it to be a fierce and cold-blooded killer.
Does your thesis include a comment about your position on the issue at hand?
The thesis statement should do more than merely announce the topic; it must reveal what position you will take in relation to that topic, how you plan to analyze/evaluate the subject or the issue. In short, instead of merely stating a general fact or resorting to a simplistic pro/con statement, you must decide what it is you have to say.
- Avoid merely announcing the topic; your original and specific "angle" should be clear. In this way you will tell your reader why your take on the issue matters.
- Original thesis: In this paper, I will discuss the relationship between fairy tales and early childhood.
- Revised thesis: Not just empty stories for kids, fairy tales shed light on the psychology of young children.
- Avoid making universal or pro/con judgments that oversimplify complex issues.
- Original thesis: We must save the whales.
- Revised thesis: Because our planet's health may depend upon biological diversity, we should save the whales.
- When you make a (subjective) judgment call, specify and justify your reasoning. “Just because” is not a good reason for an argument.
- Original thesis: Socialism is the best form of government for Kenya.
- Revised thesis: If the government takes over industry in Kenya, the industry will become more efficient.
- Avoid merely reporting a fact. Say more than what is already proven fact. Go further with your ideas. Otherwise… why would your point matter?
- Original thesis: Hoover's administration was rocked by scandal.
- Revised thesis: The many scandals of Hoover's administration revealed basic problems with the Republican Party's nominating process.
Do not expect to come up with a fully formulated thesis statement before you have finished writing the paper. The thesis will inevitably change as you revise and develop your ideas—and that is ok! Start with a tentative thesis and revise as your paper develops.
Is your thesis statement original?
Avoid, avoid, avoid generic arguments and formula statements. They work well to get a rough draft started, but will easily bore a reader. Keep revising until the thesis reflects your real ideas.
Tip: The point you make in the paper should matter:
- Be prepared to answer “So what?” about your thesis statement.
- Be prepared to explain why the point you are making is worthy of a paper. Why should the reader read it?
Compare the following:
- Original thesis:
- There are advantages and disadvantages to using statistics. (a fill-in-the-blank formula)
- Revised theses:
- Careful manipulation of data allows a researcher to use statistics to support any claim she desires.
- In order to ensure accurate reporting, journalists must understand the real significance of the statistics they report.
- Because advertisers consciously and unconsciously manipulate data, every consumer should learn how to evaluate statistical claims.
Avoid formula and generic words. Search for concrete subjects and active verbs, revising as many "to be" verbs as possible. A few suggestions below show how specific word choice sharpens and clarifies your meaning.
- Original: “Society is...” [who is this "society" and what exactly is it doing?]
- Revised: "Men and women will learn how to...," "writers can generate...," "television addicts may chip away at...," "American educators must decide...," "taxpayers and legislators alike can help fix..."
- Original: "the media"
- Revised: "the new breed of television reporters," "advertisers," "hard-hitting print journalists," "horror flicks," "TV movies of the week," "sitcoms," "national public radio," "Top 40 bop-til-you-drop..."
- Original: "is, are, was, to be" or "to do, to make"
- Revised: any great action verb you can concoct: "to generate," "to demolish," "to batter," "to revolt," "to discover," "to flip," "to signify," "to endure..."
Use your own words in thesis statements; avoid quoting. Crafting an original, insightful, and memorable thesis makes a distinct impression on a reader. You will lose credibility as a writer if you become only a mouthpiece or a copyist; you will gain credibility by grabbing the reader with your own ideas and words.
A well-crafted thesis statement reflects well-crafted ideas. It signals a writer who has intelligence, commitment, and enthusiasm.