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What is a tag (TAG) in a thesis statement?

Jul 02, 2018

Each academic paper, be it an essay or research paper, should contain a thesis statement, which is the main claim of the entire text. Have you heard about TAG? The acronym TAG (Title, Author, Genre) is a special teaching tool that is common to many English composition & literature classrooms. It's a useful and easy method of helping students formulate and craft thesis statements in their writings properly.

Acronyms, in general, are frequently used at the beginning of the learning circles as well as advanced ones to develop and enhance important writing skills. There are two more acronyms a young writer should know: PEEL and IMRAD. PEEL stands for the:

  • Point
  • Explain
  • Evaluate
  • Link

IMRAD refers to:

  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Analysis
  • Discussion

While the first one may be used in any type of essay, IMRAD is only applicable to research papers, term papers, coursework projects, and dissertations as the regular essays have a simpler structure.

What is the purpose of such acronyms? These tools allow students, researchers, and professionals to prepare their documents much easier. In this paper, we will focus on the question, "What does TAG stand for in writing?"

Based on the words it represents, it's clear that it will likely be used in a thesis statement for either a book report, book, essay review, or critique. So, what purpose do the three basic elements serve? The title, author, and genre of work cover the basic, essential, identifying information required in any of these writing genres. Therefore, the best place for them would be at the beginning of your work.

So what exactly does each of these letters imply?

Writing the "TAG: Title Author Genre" in your thesis

Before including these three elements in your thesis statement, consider several small but essential points regarding each of them. Let's begin by having a closer look at the elements of the TAG statement.

Title

The title of the work should be written out completely and underlined, with each primary letter capitalized. For instance, in the title 'The Legend of Humphrey Jones', the only non-capitalized word would be 'of' because it is a preposition, while the remaining letters should be in uppercase. The names of poems, essays, or newspaper articles should be placed in quotation marks instead of being underlined.

Author

This one is pretty straightforward. Write the author's name as the first name and the last name. When referring to the author later in your work, you should only state his or her last name. If the author's name was mentioned before the TAG thesis statement, mentioning the last name in the thesis statement should suffice.

Genre

There are several genres your work may fall under, e.g., biographies, autobiographies, essays, short stories, poetry, narrative non-fiction, etc. It is, therefore, important to understand the genre well before selecting to write in it. In some cases, the genre may be easy to pick, but in others (short stories and the like) you may have to do a little research first.

While including each of the elements of a TAG sentence in an essay, fluency is a major and critical factor to be considered. Students may 'throw' each point in a sentence which usually results in poor or awkward wording. Take these two examples to understand the TAG writing better:

Bad example

Overcoming the odds, triumphs and challenges, The Legend of Humphrey Jones, John Doe, a book fitting the autobiography genre.

Better example

The Legend of Humphrey Jones (title), John Doe's (author) autobiography (genre) provides a substantial amount of vivid illustrations that depict the reality of life as a midwestern laborer in the early 1800's.

As you can see in the better example, TAG: title author genre is placed in the sentence without disrupting the flow of the important details of the thesis. Listing each element one by one does not make any sense. The title is underlined, and the thesis is broader and more developed than the previous one.

Now that we have acquired some basic understanding of how to place the TAG elements in the thesis statement, it may be a good idea to provide some more in-depth explanation of the thesis statements and book/essay reviews along with some general criticisms.

Structuring the thesis for a book review (with the TAG format)

In the process of writing a book review, the primary goal is to inform the reader about the writer's main ideas and evaluate how well he or she accomplished the purpose of the book. Work to identify the author's thesis, objective, or purpose, evaluate and make a judgment of the book based on the evidence collected from reading and primary sources. One may use the sources of other authors to collect more details. Look for the necessary info in:

  • Books
  • E-Books
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Websites
  • Videos
  • Scholarly articles

Put down the main ideas while reading. If you are reviewing a book in which the author details the hard life of a midwestern laborer, pay attention to the story's descriptive details, plot, clear evidence of the working conditions, suitable dialogues, etc. Evaluate how well the author established the plot, analyzing the effectiveness of incorporated dialogues, provided details, characters, and so on.

When preparing the thesis statement for a book review, indicate the author's objectives and the aspects of their writing you will be examining.

Example: look at how well characters are developed or how well the argument is supported. For more general reviews, focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the work. In the above example about The Legend of Humphrey Jones, the key issues that can be extracted from the thesis are the vivid illustrations provided by the author. They inform the reader that the book review/critique will focus on the examples of these vivid illustrations.

Another example of a book review thesis statement using the mentioned TAG method is:

Though Juniper Jinee (title), Sarah Snow's (author), narrative non-fiction (genre) was based on the real events that occurred during the winter storm of 2006, I felt as though the scenic descriptions resembled more of a fictional storm rather than a real one.

This last example shows the TAG information in order and provides a clear thesis statement that indicates that the reviewer will be focusing on the trouble in Snow's representation of realistic scenes in her narrative non-fiction. In addition to this, the paper should also provide a summary of the book, possibly some positive points as well, and finally, end with a closing statement or judgment of the book by the reviewer.

Hopefully, this article provided you with the complete answer to the question, "What is a TAG sentence in academic writing?".

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