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PUT YOUR BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT

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The purpose statement. Open with a short, clear purpose sentence. The purpose statement is not the same as the bottom line. It only tells the reader what to expect when reading the paper. A purpose statement does not tell the reader the conclusion(s) the writer draws.

Thesis. The bottom line or thesis statement tells your reader what it is you consider important. Put the recommendation, conclusion, or most important information (the main point) next. (Some writers combine the purpose and the main point.) The Army standard for writing requires putting the main point up front and using the active voice. It is best to capture your bottom line in a single sentence that is clear and easy to understand. Being able to state your thesis in a single sentence indicates that you have a good understanding of your subject. After you have stated your bottom line and explained it in the first paragraph, you are free to support your thesis. For example:

  • Purpose: It is the purpose of this paper to discuss creating a fair and democratic electoral system for Haiti.
  • Thesis: The proposed changes to the Haitian electoral system will ensure fair and democratic elections.

Major parts. Introduce the major parts right after your thesis statement. This tells the reader how you will develop support for your position.