Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on January 11, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on August 15, 2023 by Eoghan Ryan.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . It usually comes near the end of your introduction .

Your thesis will look a bit different depending on the type of essay you’re writing. But the thesis statement should always clearly state the main idea you want to get across. Everything else in your essay should relate back to this idea.

You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps:

  • Start with a question
  • Write your initial answer
  • Develop your answer
  • Refine your thesis statement

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

What is a thesis statement, placement of the thesis statement, step 1: start with a question, step 2: write your initial answer, step 3: develop your answer, step 4: refine your thesis statement, types of thesis statements, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about thesis statements.

A thesis statement summarizes the central points of your essay. It is a signpost telling the reader what the essay will argue and why.

The best thesis statements are:

  • Concise: A good thesis statement is short and sweet—don’t use more words than necessary. State your point clearly and directly in one or two sentences.
  • Contentious: Your thesis shouldn’t be a simple statement of fact that everyone already knows. A good thesis statement is a claim that requires further evidence or analysis to back it up.
  • Coherent: Everything mentioned in your thesis statement must be supported and explained in the rest of your paper.

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
  • Style consistency

See an example

a thesis sentence example

The thesis statement generally appears at the end of your essay introduction or research paper introduction .

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts and among young people more generally is hotly debated. For many who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education: the internet facilitates easier access to information, exposure to different perspectives, and a flexible learning environment for both students and teachers.

You should come up with an initial thesis, sometimes called a working thesis , early in the writing process . As soon as you’ve decided on your essay topic , you need to work out what you want to say about it—a clear thesis will give your essay direction and structure.

You might already have a question in your assignment, but if not, try to come up with your own. What would you like to find out or decide about your topic?

For example, you might ask:

After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process .

Now you need to consider why this is your answer and how you will convince your reader to agree with you. As you read more about your topic and begin writing, your answer should get more detailed.

In your essay about the internet and education, the thesis states your position and sketches out the key arguments you’ll use to support it.

The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its many benefits for education because it facilitates easier access to information.

In your essay about braille, the thesis statement summarizes the key historical development that you’ll explain.

The invention of braille in the 19th century transformed the lives of blind people, allowing them to participate more actively in public life.

A strong thesis statement should tell the reader:

  • Why you hold this position
  • What they’ll learn from your essay
  • The key points of your argument or narrative

The final thesis statement doesn’t just state your position, but summarizes your overall argument or the entire topic you’re going to explain. To strengthen a weak thesis statement, it can help to consider the broader context of your topic.

These examples are more specific and show that you’ll explore your topic in depth.

Your thesis statement should match the goals of your essay, which vary depending on the type of essay you’re writing:

  • In an argumentative essay , your thesis statement should take a strong position. Your aim in the essay is to convince your reader of this thesis based on evidence and logical reasoning.
  • In an expository essay , you’ll aim to explain the facts of a topic or process. Your thesis statement doesn’t have to include a strong opinion in this case, but it should clearly state the central point you want to make, and mention the key elements you’ll explain.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Ad hominem fallacy
  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

College essays

  • Choosing Essay Topic
  • Write a College Essay
  • Write a Diversity Essay
  • College Essay Format & Structure
  • Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

Follow these four steps to come up with a thesis statement :

  • Ask a question about your topic .
  • Write your initial answer.
  • Develop your answer by including reasons.
  • Refine your answer, adding more detail and nuance.

The thesis statement should be placed at the end of your essay introduction .

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

McCombes, S. (2023, August 15). How to Write a Thesis Statement | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/thesis-statement/

Is this article helpful?

Shona McCombes

Shona McCombes

Other students also liked, how to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples, how to write topic sentences | 4 steps, examples & purpose, academic paragraph structure | step-by-step guide & examples, what is your plagiarism score.

  • Translators
  • Graphic Designers
  • Editing Services
  • Academic Editing Services
  • Admissions Editing Services
  • Admissions Essay Editing Services
  • AI Content Editing Services
  • APA Style Editing Services
  • Application Essay Editing Services
  • Book Editing Services
  • Business Editing Services
  • Capstone Paper Editing Services
  • Children's Book Editing Services
  • College Application Editing Services
  • College Essay Editing Services
  • Copy Editing Services
  • Developmental Editing Services
  • Dissertation Editing Services
  • eBook Editing Services
  • English Editing Services
  • Horror Story Editing Services
  • Legal Editing Services
  • Line Editing Services
  • Manuscript Editing Services
  • MLA Style Editing Services
  • Novel Editing Services
  • Paper Editing Services
  • Personal Statement Editing Services
  • Research Paper Editing Services
  • Résumé Editing Services
  • Scientific Editing Services
  • Short Story Editing Services
  • Statement of Purpose Editing Services
  • Substantive Editing Services
  • Thesis Editing Services

Proofreading

  • Proofreading Services
  • Admissions Essay Proofreading Services
  • Children's Book Proofreading Services
  • Legal Proofreading Services
  • Novel Proofreading Services
  • Personal Statement Proofreading Services
  • Research Proposal Proofreading Services
  • Statement of Purpose Proofreading Services

Translation

  • Translation Services

Graphic Design

  • Graphic Design Services
  • Dungeons & Dragons Design Services
  • Sticker Design Services
  • Writing Services

Solve

Please enter the email address you used for your account. Your sign in information will be sent to your email address after it has been verified.

25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

JBirdwellBranson

Understanding what makes a good thesis statement is one of the major keys to writing a great research paper or argumentative essay. The thesis statement is where you make a claim that will guide you through your entire paper. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of your paper or your topic, then it's likely due to a weak thesis statement.

Let's take a minute to first understand what makes a solid thesis statement, and what key components you need to write one of your own.

Perfecting Your Thesis Statement

A thesis statement always goes at the beginning of the paper. It will typically be in the first couple of paragraphs of the paper so that it can introduce the body paragraphs, which are the supporting evidence for your thesis statement.

Your thesis statement should clearly identify an argument. You need to have a statement that is not only easy to understand, but one that is debatable. What that means is that you can't just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute . An ineffective thesis statement would be, "Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it." This isn't really something that's a debatable topic.

Something that would be more debatable would be, "A puppy's cuteness is derived from its floppy ears, small body, and playfulness." These are three things that can be debated on. Some people might think that the cutest thing about puppies is the fact that they follow you around or that they're really soft and fuzzy.

All cuteness aside, you want to make sure that your thesis statement is not only debatable, but that it also actually thoroughly answers the research question that was posed. You always want to make sure that your evidence is supporting a claim that you made (and not the other way around). This is why it's crucial to read and research about a topic first and come to a conclusion later. If you try to get your research to fit your thesis statement, then it may not work out as neatly as you think. As you learn more, you discover more (and the outcome may not be what you originally thought).

Additionally, your thesis statement shouldn't be too big or too grand. It'll be hard to cover everything in a thesis statement like, "The federal government should act now on climate change." The topic is just too large to actually say something new and meaningful. Instead, a more effective thesis statement might be, "Local governments can combat climate change by providing citizens with larger recycling bins and offering local classes about composting and conservation." This is easier to work with because it's a smaller idea, but you can also discuss the overall topic that you might be interested in, which is climate change.

So, now that we know what makes a good, solid thesis statement, you can start to write your own. If you find that you're getting stuck or you are the type of person who needs to look at examples before you start something, then check out our list of thesis statement examples below.

Thesis statement examples

A quick note that these thesis statements have not been fully researched. These are merely examples to show you what a thesis statement might look like and how you can implement your own ideas into one that you think of independently. As such, you should not use these thesis statements for your own research paper purposes. They are meant to be used as examples only.

  • Vaccinations Because many children are unable to vaccinate due to illness, we must require that all healthy and able children be vaccinated in order to have herd immunity.
  • Educational Resources for Low-Income Students Schools should provide educational resources for low-income students during the summers so that they don't forget what they've learned throughout the school year.
  • School Uniforms School uniforms may be an upfront cost for families, but they eradicate the visual differences in income between students and provide a more egalitarian atmosphere at school.
  • Populism The rise in populism on the 2016 political stage was in reaction to increasing globalization, the decline of manufacturing jobs, and the Syrian refugee crisis.
  • Public Libraries Libraries are essential resources for communities and should be funded more heavily by local municipalities.
  • Cyber Bullying With more and more teens using smartphones and social media, cyber bullying is on the rise. Cyber bullying puts a lot of stress on many teens, and can cause depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Parents should limit the usage of smart phones, monitor their children's online activity, and report any cyber bullying to school officials in order to combat this problem.
  • Medical Marijuana for Veterans Studies have shown that the use of medicinal marijuana has been helpful to veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Medicinal marijuana prescriptions should be legal in all states and provided to these veterans. Additional medical or therapy services should also be researched and implemented in order to help them re-integrate back into civilian life.
  • Work-Life Balance Corporations should provide more work from home opportunities and six-hour workdays so that office workers have a better work-life balance and are more likely to be productive when they are in the office.
  • Teaching Youths about Consensual Sex Although sex education that includes a discussion of consensual sex would likely lead to less sexual assault, parents need to teach their children the meaning of consent from a young age with age appropriate lessons.
  • Whether or Not to Attend University A degree from a university provides invaluable lessons on life and a future career, but not every high school student should be encouraged to attend a university directly after graduation. Some students may benefit from a trade school or a "gap year" where they can think more intensely about what it is they want to do for a career and how they can accomplish this.
  • Studying Abroad Studying abroad is one of the most culturally valuable experiences you can have in college. It is the only way to get completely immersed in another language and learn how other cultures and countries are different from your own.
  • Women's Body Image Magazines have done a lot in the last five years to include a more diverse group of models, but there is still a long way to go to promote a healthy woman's body image collectively as a culture.
  • Cigarette Tax Heavily taxing and increasing the price of cigarettes is essentially a tax on the poorest Americans, and it doesn't deter them from purchasing. Instead, the state and federal governments should target those economically disenfranchised with early education about the dangers of smoking.
  • Veganism A vegan diet, while a healthy and ethical way to consume food, indicates a position of privilege. It also limits you to other cultural food experiences if you travel around the world.
  • University Athletes Should be Compensated University athletes should be compensated for their service to the university, as it is difficult for these students to procure and hold a job with busy academic and athletic schedules. Many student athletes on scholarship also come from low-income neighborhoods and it is a struggle to make ends meet when they are participating in athletics.
  • Women in the Workforce Sheryl Sandberg makes a lot of interesting points in her best-selling book, Lean In , but she only addressed the very privileged working woman and failed to speak to those in lower-skilled, lower-wage jobs.
  • Assisted Suicide Assisted suicide should be legal and doctors should have the ability to make sure their patients have the end-of-life care that they want to receive.
  • Celebrity and Political Activism Although Taylor Swift's lyrics are indicative of a feminist perspective, she should be more politically active and vocal to use her position of power for the betterment of society.
  • The Civil War The insistence from many Southerners that the South seceded from the Union for states' rights versus the fact that they seceded for the purposes of continuing slavery is a harmful myth that still affects race relations today.
  • Blue Collar Workers Coal miners and other blue-collar workers whose jobs are slowly disappearing from the workforce should be re-trained in jobs in the technology sector or in renewable energy. A program to re-train these workers would not only improve local economies where jobs have been displaced, but would also lead to lower unemployment nationally.
  • Diversity in the Workforce Having a diverse group of people in an office setting leads to richer ideas, more cooperation, and more empathy between people with different skin colors or backgrounds.
  • Re-Imagining the Nuclear Family The nuclear family was traditionally defined as one mother, one father, and 2.5 children. This outdated depiction of family life doesn't quite fit with modern society. The definition of normal family life shouldn't be limited to two-parent households.
  • Digital Literacy Skills With more information readily available than ever before, it's crucial that students are prepared to examine the material they're reading and determine whether or not it's a good source or if it has misleading information. Teaching students digital literacy and helping them to understand the difference between opinion or propaganda from legitimate, real information is integral.
  • Beauty Pageants Beauty pageants are presented with the angle that they empower women. However, putting women in a swimsuit on a stage while simultaneously judging them on how well they answer an impossible question in a short period of time is cruel and purely for the amusement of men. Therefore, we should stop televising beauty pageants.
  • Supporting More Women to Run for a Political Position In order to get more women into political positions, more women must run for office. There must be a grassroots effort to educate women on how to run for office, who among them should run, and support for a future candidate for getting started on a political career.

Still stuck? Need some help with your thesis statement?

If you are still uncertain about how to write a thesis statement or what a good thesis statement is, be sure to consult with your teacher or professor to make sure you're on the right track. It's always a good idea to check in and make sure that your thesis statement is making a solid argument and that it can be supported by your research.

After you're done writing, it's important to have someone take a second look at your paper so that you can ensure there are no mistakes or errors. It's difficult to spot your own mistakes, which is why it's always recommended to have someone help you with the revision process, whether that's a teacher, the writing center at school, or a professional editor such as one from ServiceScape .

Related Posts

A Practical Guide to Statistical Control in Research

A Practical Guide to Statistical Control in Research

Using Logical Reasoning in Academic Writing

Using Logical Reasoning in Academic Writing

  • Academic Writing Advice
  • All Blog Posts
  • Writing Advice
  • Admissions Writing Advice
  • Book Writing Advice
  • Short Story Advice
  • Employment Writing Advice
  • Business Writing Advice
  • Web Content Advice
  • Article Writing Advice
  • Magazine Writing Advice
  • Grammar Advice
  • Dialect Advice
  • Editing Advice
  • Freelance Advice
  • Legal Writing Advice
  • Poetry Advice
  • Graphic Design Advice
  • Logo Design Advice
  • Translation Advice
  • Blog Reviews
  • Short Story Award Winners
  • Scholarship Winners

Need an academic editor before submitting your work?

Need an academic editor before submitting your work?

Developing a Thesis Statement

Many papers you write require developing a thesis statement. In this section you’ll learn what a thesis statement is and how to write one.

Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements . If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement . . .

  • Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
  • Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
  • Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
  • Is generally located near the end of the introduction ; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
  • Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.

Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you’re in doubt whether you need one.

Identify a topic

Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.

Consider what your assignment asks you to do

Inform yourself about your topic, focus on one aspect of your topic, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts, generate a topic from an assignment.

Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.

Sample assignment 1

Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II.

Identified topic

Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis

This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II).

Sample assignment 2

Analyze one of Homer’s epic similes in the Iliad.

The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64.

This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).

Developing a Thesis Statement–Additional information

Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.

Sample assignment: Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II Key terms: analyze, Spain’s neutrality, World War II

After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic. Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument. For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.

As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. This means that you cannot include everything you’ve learned about your topic, nor should you go off in several directions. If you end up covering too many different aspects of a topic, your paper will sprawl and be unconvincing in its argument, and it most likely will not fulfull the assignment requirements.

For the sample assignment above, both Spain’s neutrality and World War II are topics far too broad to explore in a paper. You may instead decide to focus on Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis , which narrows down what aspects of Spain’s neutrality and World War II you want to discuss, as well as establishes a specific link between those two aspects.

Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Try to avoid topics that already have too much written about them (i.e., “eating disorders and body image among adolescent women”) or that simply are not important (i.e. “why I like ice cream”). These topics may lead to a thesis that is either dry fact or a weird claim that cannot be supported. A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes. To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times . Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Derive a main point from topic

Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be. This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses. You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.

Look for patterns in your evidence

Compose a purpose statement.

Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.

  • Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis
  • Franco turned to the Allies when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from the Axis

Possible conclusion:

Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: Franco’s desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.

Purpose statement

This paper will analyze Franco’s diplomacy during World War II to see how it contributed to Spain’s neutrality.
  • The simile compares Simoisius to a tree, which is a peaceful, natural image.
  • The tree in the simile is chopped down to make wheels for a chariot, which is an object used in warfare.

At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.

This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64 moves in and out of the world of warfare.

Derive purpose statement from topic

To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence . As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.

For instance, you might find out that Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis, but when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from them, he turned to the Allies. As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power. Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.

Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately. Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn . Thus, you might begin with something like this:

  • This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression.
  • I plan to analyze anger and derision in offensive language to see if they represent a challenge of society’s authority.

At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement. As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.

As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.

Compose a draft thesis statement

If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.

Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement.

Assignment: Discuss the history of the Reform Party and explain its influence on the 1990 presidential and Congressional election.

Purpose Statement: This paper briefly sketches the history of the grassroots, conservative, Perot-led Reform Party and analyzes how it influenced the economic and social ideologies of the two mainstream parties.

Question-to-Assertion

If your assignment asks a specific question(s), turn the question(s) into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.

Assignment : What do Aylmer and Rappaccini have to be proud of? Why aren’t they satisfied with these things? How does pride, as demonstrated in “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” lead to unexpected problems?

Beginning thesis statement: Alymer and Rappaccinni are proud of their great knowledge; however, they are also very greedy and are driven to use their knowledge to alter some aspect of nature as a test of their ability. Evil results when they try to “play God.”

Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.

Main idea: The reason some toys succeed in the market is that they appeal to the consumers’ sense of the ridiculous and their basic desire to laugh at themselves.

Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them.

  • nature = peaceful
  • war matériel = violent (competes with 1?)
  • need for time and space to mourn the dead
  • war is inescapable (competes with 3?)

Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement (you will revise this later).

  • although most readers of _______ have argued that _______, closer examination shows that _______.
  • _______ uses _______ and _____ to prove that ________.
  • phenomenon x is a result of the combination of __________, __________, and _________.

What to keep in mind as you draft an initial thesis statement

Beginning statements obtained through the methods illustrated above can serve as a framework for planning or drafting your paper, but remember they’re not yet the specific, argumentative thesis you want for the final version of your paper. In fact, in its first stages, a thesis statement usually is ill-formed or rough and serves only as a planning tool.

As you write, you may discover evidence that does not fit your temporary or “working” thesis. Or you may reach deeper insights about your topic as you do more research, and you will find that your thesis statement has to be more complicated to match the evidence that you want to use.

You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.

Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, “ What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss? ” and “ How will I convince the reader that this is true? ” When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.

Refine and polish the thesis statement

To get to your final thesis, you’ll need to refine your draft thesis so that it’s specific and arguable.

  • Ask if your draft thesis addresses the assignment
  • Question each part of your draft thesis
  • Clarify vague phrases and assertions
  • Investigate alternatives to your draft thesis

Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.

Sample Assignment

Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.

  • Ask The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society.This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society.
Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans’ significant creativity and business ingenuity.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America’s economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans’ business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.

This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.

Complete the final thesis statement

The bottom line.

As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you’ll need to remember four things:

  • Context matters! Think about your course materials and lectures. Try to relate your thesis to the ideas your instructor is discussing.
  • As you go through the process described in this section, always keep your assignment in mind . You will be more successful when your thesis (and paper) responds to the assignment than if it argues a semi-related idea.
  • Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable ; it should predict the sub-theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument.
  • Make sure that you keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Change your thesis as your paper evolves, because you do not want your thesis to promise more than your paper actually delivers.

In the beginning, the thesis statement was a tool to help you sharpen your focus, limit material and establish the paper’s purpose. When your paper is finished, however, the thesis statement becomes a tool for your reader. It tells the reader what you have learned about your topic and what evidence led you to your conclusion. It keeps the reader on track–well able to understand and appreciate your argument.

a thesis sentence example

Writing Process and Structure

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Getting Started with Your Paper

Interpreting Writing Assignments from Your Courses

Generating Ideas for

Creating an Argument

Thesis vs. Purpose Statements

Architecture of Arguments

Working with Sources

Quoting and Paraphrasing Sources

Using Literary Quotations

Citing Sources in Your Paper

Drafting Your Paper

Generating Ideas for Your Paper

Introductions

Paragraphing

Developing Strategic Transitions

Conclusions

Revising Your Paper

Peer Reviews

Reverse Outlines

Revising an Argumentative Paper

Revision Strategies for Longer Projects

Finishing Your Paper

Twelve Common Errors: An Editing Checklist

How to Proofread your Paper

Writing Collaboratively

Collaborative and Group Writing

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.

Introduction

Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Make a Gift

Reference management. Clean and simple.

How to write a thesis statement + examples

Thesis statement

What is a thesis statement?

Is a thesis statement a question, how do you write a good thesis statement, how do i know if my thesis statement is good, examples of thesis statements, helpful resources on how to write a thesis statement, frequently asked questions about writing a thesis statement, related articles.

A thesis statement is the main argument of your paper or thesis.

The thesis statement is one of the most important elements of any piece of academic writing . It is a brief statement of your paper’s main argument. Essentially, you are stating what you will be writing about.

You can see your thesis statement as an answer to a question. While it also contains the question, it should really give an answer to the question with new information and not just restate or reiterate it.

Your thesis statement is part of your introduction. Learn more about how to write a good thesis introduction in our introduction guide .

A thesis statement is not a question. A statement must be arguable and provable through evidence and analysis. While your thesis might stem from a research question, it should be in the form of a statement.

Tip: A thesis statement is typically 1-2 sentences. For a longer project like a thesis, the statement may be several sentences or a paragraph.

A good thesis statement needs to do the following:

  • Condense the main idea of your thesis into one or two sentences.
  • Answer your project’s main research question.
  • Clearly state your position in relation to the topic .
  • Make an argument that requires support or evidence.

Once you have written down a thesis statement, check if it fulfills the following criteria:

  • Your statement needs to be provable by evidence. As an argument, a thesis statement needs to be debatable.
  • Your statement needs to be precise. Do not give away too much information in the thesis statement and do not load it with unnecessary information.
  • Your statement cannot say that one solution is simply right or simply wrong as a matter of fact. You should draw upon verified facts to persuade the reader of your solution, but you cannot just declare something as right or wrong.

As previously mentioned, your thesis statement should answer a question.

If the question is:

What do you think the City of New York should do to reduce traffic congestion?

A good thesis statement restates the question and answers it:

In this paper, I will argue that the City of New York should focus on providing exclusive lanes for public transport and adaptive traffic signals to reduce traffic congestion by the year 2035.

Here is another example. If the question is:

How can we end poverty?

A good thesis statement should give more than one solution to the problem in question:

In this paper, I will argue that introducing universal basic income can help reduce poverty and positively impact the way we work.

  • The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina has a list of questions to ask to see if your thesis is strong .

A thesis statement is part of the introduction of your paper. It is usually found in the first or second paragraph to let the reader know your research purpose from the beginning.

In general, a thesis statement should have one or two sentences. But the length really depends on the overall length of your project. Take a look at our guide about the length of thesis statements for more insight on this topic.

Here is a list of Thesis Statement Examples that will help you understand better how to write them.

Every good essay should include a thesis statement as part of its introduction, no matter the academic level. Of course, if you are a high school student you are not expected to have the same type of thesis as a PhD student.

Here is a great YouTube tutorial showing How To Write An Essay: Thesis Statements .

a thesis sentence example

logo that says helpful professor with a mortarboard hat picture next to it

25 Thesis Statement Examples

thesis statement examples and definition, explained below

A thesis statement is needed in an essay or dissertation . There are multiple types of thesis statements – but generally we can divide them into expository and argumentative. An expository statement is a statement of fact (common in expository essays and process essays) while an argumentative statement is a statement of opinion (common in argumentative essays and dissertations). Below are examples of each.

Strong Thesis Statement Examples

school uniforms and dress codes, explained below

1. School Uniforms

“Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate

Read More: School Uniforms Pros and Cons

nature vs nurture examples and definition

2. Nature vs Nurture

“This essay will explore how both genetic inheritance and environmental factors equally contribute to shaping human behavior and personality.”

Best For: Compare and Contrast Essay

Read More: Nature vs Nurture Debate

American Dream Examples Definition

3. American Dream

“The American Dream, a symbol of opportunity and success, is increasingly elusive in today’s socio-economic landscape, revealing deeper inequalities in society.”

Best For: Persuasive Essay

Read More: What is the American Dream?

social media pros and cons

4. Social Media

“Social media has revolutionized communication and societal interactions, but it also presents significant challenges related to privacy, mental health, and misinformation.”

Best For: Expository Essay

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Social Media

types of globalization, explained below

5. Globalization

“Globalization has created a world more interconnected than ever before, yet it also amplifies economic disparities and cultural homogenization.”

Read More: Globalization Pros and Cons

urbanization example and definition

6. Urbanization

“Urbanization drives economic growth and social development, but it also poses unique challenges in sustainability and quality of life.”

Read More: Learn about Urbanization

immigration pros and cons, explained below

7. Immigration

“Immigration enriches receiving countries culturally and economically, outweighing any perceived social or economic burdens.”

Read More: Immigration Pros and Cons

cultural identity examples and definition, explained below

8. Cultural Identity

“In a globalized world, maintaining distinct cultural identities is crucial for preserving cultural diversity and fostering global understanding, despite the challenges of assimilation and homogenization.”

Best For: Argumentative Essay

Read More: Learn about Cultural Identity

technology examples and definition explained below

9. Technology

“Medical technologies in care institutions in Toronto has increased subjcetive outcomes for patients with chronic pain.”

Best For: Research Paper

capitalism examples and definition

10. Capitalism vs Socialism

“The debate between capitalism and socialism centers on balancing economic freedom and inequality, each presenting distinct approaches to resource distribution and social welfare.”

cultural heritage examples and definition

11. Cultural Heritage

“The preservation of cultural heritage is essential, not only for cultural identity but also for educating future generations, outweighing the arguments for modernization and commercialization.”

pseudoscience examples and definition, explained below

12. Pseudoscience

“Pseudoscience, characterized by a lack of empirical support, continues to influence public perception and decision-making, often at the expense of scientific credibility.”

Read More: Examples of Pseudoscience

free will examples and definition, explained below

13. Free Will

“The concept of free will is largely an illusion, with human behavior and decisions predominantly determined by biological and environmental factors.”

Read More: Do we have Free Will?

gender roles examples and definition, explained below

14. Gender Roles

“Traditional gender roles are outdated and harmful, restricting individual freedoms and perpetuating gender inequalities in modern society.”

Read More: What are Traditional Gender Roles?

work-life balance examples and definition, explained below

15. Work-Life Ballance

“The trend to online and distance work in the 2020s led to improved subjective feelings of work-life balance but simultaneously increased self-reported loneliness.”

Read More: Work-Life Balance Examples

universal healthcare pros and cons

16. Universal Healthcare

“Universal healthcare is a fundamental human right and the most effective system for ensuring health equity and societal well-being, outweighing concerns about government involvement and costs.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Universal Healthcare

raising minimum wage pros and cons

17. Minimum Wage

“The implementation of a fair minimum wage is vital for reducing economic inequality, yet it is often contentious due to its potential impact on businesses and employment rates.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Raising the Minimum Wage

homework pros and cons

18. Homework

“The homework provided throughout this semester has enabled me to achieve greater self-reflection, identify gaps in my knowledge, and reinforce those gaps through spaced repetition.”

Best For: Reflective Essay

Read More: Reasons Homework Should be Banned

charter schools vs public schools, explained below

19. Charter Schools

“Charter schools offer alternatives to traditional public education, promising innovation and choice but also raising questions about accountability and educational equity.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of Charter Schools

internet pros and cons

20. Effects of the Internet

“The Internet has drastically reshaped human communication, access to information, and societal dynamics, generally with a net positive effect on society.”

Read More: The Pros and Cons of the Internet

affirmative action example and definition, explained below

21. Affirmative Action

“Affirmative action is essential for rectifying historical injustices and achieving true meritocracy in education and employment, contrary to claims of reverse discrimination.”

Best For: Essay

Read More: Affirmative Action Pros and Cons

soft skills examples and definition, explained below

22. Soft Skills

“Soft skills, such as communication and empathy, are increasingly recognized as essential for success in the modern workforce, and therefore should be a strong focus at school and university level.”

Read More: Soft Skills Examples

moral panic definition examples

23. Moral Panic

“Moral panic, often fueled by media and cultural anxieties, can lead to exaggerated societal responses that sometimes overlook rational analysis and evidence.”

Read More: Moral Panic Examples

freedom of the press example and definition, explained below

24. Freedom of the Press

“Freedom of the press is critical for democracy and informed citizenship, yet it faces challenges from censorship, media bias, and the proliferation of misinformation.”

Read More: Freedom of the Press Examples

mass media examples definition

25. Mass Media

“Mass media shapes public opinion and cultural norms, but its concentration of ownership and commercial interests raise concerns about bias and the quality of information.”

Best For: Critical Analysis

Read More: Mass Media Examples

Checklist: How to use your Thesis Statement

✅ Position: If your statement is for an argumentative or persuasive essay, or a dissertation, ensure it takes a clear stance on the topic. ✅ Specificity: It addresses a specific aspect of the topic, providing focus for the essay. ✅ Conciseness: Typically, a thesis statement is one to two sentences long. It should be concise, clear, and easily identifiable. ✅ Direction: The thesis statement guides the direction of the essay, providing a roadmap for the argument, narrative, or explanation. ✅ Evidence-based: While the thesis statement itself doesn’t include evidence, it sets up an argument that can be supported with evidence in the body of the essay. ✅ Placement: Generally, the thesis statement is placed at the end of the introduction of an essay.

Try These AI Prompts – Thesis Statement Generator!

One way to brainstorm thesis statements is to get AI to brainstorm some for you! Try this AI prompt:

💡 AI PROMPT FOR EXPOSITORY THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTUCTIONS]. I want you to create an expository thesis statement that doesn’t argue a position, but demonstrates depth of knowledge about the topic.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR ARGUMENTATIVE THESIS STATEMENT I am writing an essay on [TOPIC] and these are the instructions my teacher gave me: [INSTRUCTIONS]. I want you to create an argumentative thesis statement that clearly takes a position on this issue.

💡 AI PROMPT FOR COMPARE AND CONTRAST THESIS STATEMENT I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that remain objective.

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 100 Consumer Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 30 Globalization Pros and Cons
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 17 Adversity Examples (And How to Overcome Them)

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement

The important sentence expresses your central assertion or argument

arabianEye / Getty Images

  • Writing Research Papers
  • Writing Essays
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

A thesis statement provides the foundation for your entire research paper or essay. This statement is the central assertion that you want to express in your essay. A successful thesis statement is one that is made up of one or two sentences clearly laying out your central idea and expressing an informed, reasoned answer to your research question.

Usually, the thesis statement will appear at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. There are a few different types, and the content of your thesis statement will depend upon the type of paper you’re writing.

Key Takeaways: Writing a Thesis Statement

  • A thesis statement gives your reader a preview of your paper's content by laying out your central idea and expressing an informed, reasoned answer to your research question.
  • Thesis statements will vary depending on the type of paper you are writing, such as an expository essay, argument paper, or analytical essay.
  • Before creating a thesis statement, determine whether you are defending a stance, giving an overview of an event, object, or process, or analyzing your subject

Expository Essay Thesis Statement Examples

An expository essay "exposes" the reader to a new topic; it informs the reader with details, descriptions, or explanations of a subject. If you are writing an expository essay , your thesis statement should explain to the reader what she will learn in your essay. For example:

  • The United States spends more money on its military budget than all the industrialized nations combined.
  • Gun-related homicides and suicides are increasing after years of decline.
  • Hate crimes have increased three years in a row, according to the FBI.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increases the risk of stroke and arterial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

These statements provide a statement of fact about the topic (not just opinion) but leave the door open for you to elaborate with plenty of details. In an expository essay, you don't need to develop an argument or prove anything; you only need to understand your topic and present it in a logical manner. A good thesis statement in an expository essay always leaves the reader wanting more details.

Types of Thesis Statements

Before creating a thesis statement, it's important to ask a few basic questions, which will help you determine the kind of essay or paper you plan to create:

  • Are you defending a stance in a controversial essay ?
  • Are you simply giving an overview or describing an event, object, or process?
  • Are you conducting an analysis of an event, object, or process?

In every thesis statement , you will give the reader a preview of your paper's content, but the message will differ a little depending on the essay type .

Argument Thesis Statement Examples

If you have been instructed to take a stance on one side of a controversial issue, you will need to write an argument essay . Your thesis statement should express the stance you are taking and may give the reader a preview or a hint of your evidence. The thesis of an argument essay could look something like the following:

  • Self-driving cars are too dangerous and should be banned from the roadways.
  • The exploration of outer space is a waste of money; instead, funds should go toward solving issues on Earth, such as poverty, hunger, global warming, and traffic congestion.
  • The U.S. must crack down on illegal immigration.
  • Street cameras and street-view maps have led to a total loss of privacy in the United States and elsewhere.

These thesis statements are effective because they offer opinions that can be supported by evidence. If you are writing an argument essay, you can craft your own thesis around the structure of the statements above.

Analytical Essay Thesis Statement Examples

In an analytical essay assignment, you will be expected to break down a topic, process, or object in order to observe and analyze your subject piece by piece. Examples of a thesis statement for an analytical essay include:

  • The criminal justice reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate in late 2018 (" The First Step Act ") aims to reduce prison sentences that disproportionately fall on nonwhite criminal defendants.
  • The rise in populism and nationalism in the U.S. and European democracies has coincided with the decline of moderate and centrist parties that have dominated since WWII.
  • Later-start school days increase student success for a variety of reasons.

Because the role of the thesis statement is to state the central message of your entire paper, it is important to revisit (and maybe rewrite) your thesis statement after the paper is written. In fact, it is quite normal for your message to change as you construct your paper.

  • How to Write a Good Thesis Statement
  • What Is Expository Writing?
  • An Introduction to Academic Writing
  • Definition and Examples of Analysis in Composition
  • Write an Attention-Grabbing Opening Sentence for an Essay
  • How To Write an Essay
  • Tips on How to Write an Argumentative Essay
  • How to Write a Response Paper
  • The Ultimate Guide to the 5-Paragraph Essay
  • Understanding What an Expository Essay Is
  • The Introductory Paragraph: Start Your Paper Off Right
  • Tips for Writing an Art History Paper
  • How to Write a Persuasive Essay
  • The Five Steps of Writing an Essay
  • What an Essay Is and How to Write One
  • Development in Composition: Building an Essay

Home / Guides / Writing Guides / Parts of a Paper / How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

A thesis can be found in many places—a debate speech, a lawyer’s closing argument, even an advertisement. But the most common place for a thesis statement (and probably why you’re reading this article) is in an essay.

Whether you’re writing an argumentative paper, an informative essay, or a compare/contrast statement, you need a thesis. Without a thesis, your argument falls flat and your information is unfocused. Since a thesis is so important, it’s probably a good idea to look at some tips on how to put together a strong one.

Guide Overview

What is a “thesis statement” anyway.

  • 2 categories of thesis statements: informative and persuasive
  • 2 styles of thesis statements
  • Formula for a strong argumentative thesis
  • The qualities of a solid thesis statement (video)

You may have heard of something called a “thesis.” It’s what seniors commonly refer to as their final paper before graduation. That’s not what we’re talking about here. That type of thesis is a long, well-written paper that takes years to piece together.

Instead, we’re talking about a single sentence that ties together the main idea of any argument . In the context of student essays, it’s a statement that summarizes your topic and declares your position on it. This sentence can tell a reader whether your essay is something they want to read.

2 Categories of Thesis Statements: Informative and Persuasive

Just as there are different types of essays, there are different types of thesis statements. The thesis should match the essay.

For example, with an informative essay, you should compose an informative thesis (rather than argumentative). You want to declare your intentions in this essay and guide the reader to the conclusion that you reach.

To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments.

This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).

Most other types of essays, whether compare/contrast, argumentative, or narrative, have thesis statements that take a position and argue it. In other words, unless your purpose is simply to inform, your thesis is considered persuasive. A persuasive thesis usually contains an opinion and the reason why your opinion is true.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the best type of sandwich because they are versatile, easy to make, and taste good.

In this persuasive thesis statement, you see that I state my opinion (the best type of sandwich), which means I have chosen a stance. Next, I explain that my opinion is correct with several key reasons. This persuasive type of thesis can be used in any essay that contains the writer’s opinion, including, as I mentioned above, compare/contrast essays, narrative essays, and so on.

2 Styles of Thesis Statements

Just as there are two different types of thesis statements (informative and persuasive), there are two basic styles you can use.

The first style uses a list of two or more points . This style of thesis is perfect for a brief essay that contains only two or three body paragraphs. This basic five-paragraph essay is typical of middle and high school assignments.

C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia series is one of the richest works of the 20th century because it offers an escape from reality, teaches readers to have faith even when they don’t understand, and contains a host of vibrant characters.

In the above persuasive thesis, you can see my opinion about Narnia followed by three clear reasons. This thesis is perfect for setting up a tidy five-paragraph essay.

In college, five paragraph essays become few and far between as essay length gets longer. Can you imagine having only five paragraphs in a six-page paper? For a longer essay, you need a thesis statement that is more versatile. Instead of listing two or three distinct points, a thesis can list one overarching point that all body paragraphs tie into.

Good vs. evil is the main theme of Lewis’s Narnia series, as is made clear through the struggles the main characters face in each book.

In this thesis, I have made a claim about the theme in Narnia followed by my reasoning. The broader scope of this thesis allows me to write about each of the series’ seven novels. I am no longer limited in how many body paragraphs I can logically use.

Formula for a Strong Argumentative Thesis

One thing I find that is helpful for students is having a clear template. While students rarely end up with a thesis that follows this exact wording, the following template creates a good starting point:

___________ is true because of ___________, ___________, and ___________.

Conversely, the formula for a thesis with only one point might follow this template:

___________________ is true because of _____________________.

Students usually end up using different terminology than simply “because,” but having a template is always helpful to get the creative juices flowing.

The Qualities of a Solid Thesis Statement

When composing a thesis, you must consider not only the format, but other qualities like length, position in the essay, and how strong the argument is.

Length: A thesis statement can be short or long, depending on how many points it mentions. Typically, however, it is only one concise sentence. It does contain at least two clauses, usually an independent clause (the opinion) and a dependent clause (the reasons). You probably should aim for a single sentence that is at least two lines, or about 30 to 40 words long.

Position: A thesis statement always belongs at the beginning of an essay. This is because it is a sentence that tells the reader what the writer is going to discuss. Teachers will have different preferences for the precise location of the thesis, but a good rule of thumb is in the introduction paragraph, within the last two or three sentences.

Strength: Finally, for a persuasive thesis to be strong, it needs to be arguable. This means that the statement is not obvious, and it is not something that everyone agrees is true.

Example of weak thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are easy to make because it just takes three ingredients.

Most people would agree that PB&J is one of the easiest sandwiches in the American lunch repertoire.

Example of a stronger thesis:

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are fun to eat because they always slide around.

This is more arguable because there are plenty of folks who might think a PB&J is messy or slimy rather than fun.

Composing a thesis statement does take a bit more thought than many other parts of an essay. However, because a thesis statement can contain an entire argument in just a few words, it is worth taking the extra time to compose this sentence. It can direct your research and your argument so that your essay is tight, focused, and makes readers think.

EasyBib Writing Resources

Writing a paper.

  • Academic Essay
  • Argumentative Essay
  • College Admissions Essay
  • Expository Essay
  • Persuasive Essay
  • Research Paper
  • Thesis Statement
  • Writing a Conclusion
  • Writing an Introduction
  • Writing an Outline
  • Writing a Summary

EasyBib Plus Features

  • Citation Generator
  • Essay Checker
  • Expert Check Proofreader
  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tools

Plagiarism Checker

  • Spell Checker

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Grammar and Plagiarism Checkers

Grammar Basics

Plagiarism Basics

Writing Basics

Upload a paper to check for plagiarism against billions of sources and get advanced writing suggestions for clarity and style.

Get Started

  • Utility Menu

University Logo

26158766f7f76c0d163cbc4d15ae3f59

a thesis sentence example

  • Questions about Expos?
  • Writing Support for Instructors

Your thesis is the central claim in your essay—your main insight or idea about your source or topic. Your thesis should appear early in an academic essay, followed by a logically constructed argument that supports this central claim. A strong thesis is arguable, which means a thoughtful reader could disagree with it and therefore needs your careful analysis of the evidence to understand how you arrived at this claim. You arrive at your thesis by examining and analyzing the evidence available to you, which might be text or other types of source material.

A thesis will generally respond to an analytical question or pose a solution to a problem that you have framed for your readers (and for yourself). When you frame that question or problem for your readers, you are telling them what is at stake in your argument—why your question matters and why they should care about the answer . If you can explain to your readers why a question or problem is worth addressing, then they will understand why it’s worth reading an essay that develops your thesis—and you will understand why it’s worth writing that essay.

A strong thesis will be arguable rather than descriptive , and it will be the right scope for the essay you are writing. If your thesis is descriptive, then you will not need to convince your readers of anything—you will be naming or summarizing something your readers can already see for themselves. If your thesis is too narrow, you won’t be able to explore your topic in enough depth to say something interesting about it. If your thesis is too broad, you may not be able to support it with evidence from the available sources.

When you are writing an essay for a course assignment, you should make sure you understand what type of claim you are being asked to make. Many of your assignments will be asking you to make analytical claims , which are based on interpretation of facts, data, or sources.

Some of your assignments may ask you to make normative claims. Normative claims are claims of value or evaluation rather than fact—claims about how things should be rather than how they are. A normative claim makes the case for the importance of something, the action that should be taken, or the way the world should be. When you are asked to write a policy memo, a proposal, or an essay based on your own opinion, you will be making normative claims.

Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article “The Case Against Perfection” by Professor Michael Sandel.  

Descriptive thesis (not arguable)  

While Sandel argues that pursuing perfection through genetic engineering would decrease our sense of humility, he claims that the sense of solidarity we would lose is also important.

This thesis summarizes several points in Sandel’s argument, but it does not make a claim about how we should understand his argument. A reader who read Sandel’s argument would not also need to read an essay based on this descriptive thesis.  

Broad thesis (arguable, but difficult to support with evidence)  

Michael Sandel’s arguments about genetic engineering do not take into consideration all the relevant issues.

This is an arguable claim because it would be possible to argue against it by saying that Michael Sandel’s arguments do take all of the relevant issues into consideration. But the claim is too broad. Because the thesis does not specify which “issues” it is focused on—or why it matters if they are considered—readers won’t know what the rest of the essay will argue, and the writer won’t know what to focus on. If there is a particular issue that Sandel does not address, then a more specific version of the thesis would include that issue—hand an explanation of why it is important.  

Arguable thesis with analytical claim  

While Sandel argues persuasively that our instinct to “remake” (54) ourselves into something ever more perfect is a problem, his belief that we can always draw a line between what is medically necessary and what makes us simply “better than well” (51) is less convincing.

This is an arguable analytical claim. To argue for this claim, the essay writer will need to show how evidence from the article itself points to this interpretation. It’s also a reasonable scope for a thesis because it can be supported with evidence available in the text and is neither too broad nor too narrow.  

Arguable thesis with normative claim  

Given Sandel’s argument against genetic enhancement, we should not allow parents to decide on using Human Growth Hormone for their children.

This thesis tells us what we should do about a particular issue discussed in Sandel’s article, but it does not tell us how we should understand Sandel’s argument.  

Questions to ask about your thesis  

  • Is the thesis truly arguable? Does it speak to a genuine dilemma in the source, or would most readers automatically agree with it?  
  • Is the thesis too obvious? Again, would most or all readers agree with it without needing to see your argument?  
  • Is the thesis complex enough to require a whole essay's worth of argument?  
  • Is the thesis supportable with evidence from the text rather than with generalizations or outside research?  
  • Would anyone want to read a paper in which this thesis was developed? That is, can you explain what this paper is adding to our understanding of a problem, question, or topic?
  • Tips for Reading an Assignment Prompt
  • Asking Analytical Questions
  • Introductions
  • What Do Introductions Across the Disciplines Have in Common?
  • Anatomy of a Body Paragraph
  • Transitions
  • Tips for Organizing Your Essay
  • Counterargument
  • Conclusions
  • Strategies for Essay Writing: Downloadable PDFs
  • Brief Guides to Writing in the Disciplines

Quick Links

  • Schedule an Appointment
  • English Grammar and Language Tutor
  • Drop-in hours
  • Harvard Guide to Using Sources
  • Departmental Writing Fellows
  • Writing Advice: The Harvard Writing Tutor Blog

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Developing Strong Thesis Statements

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing.

The thesis statement or main claim must be debatable

An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. In other words, the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people.

Example of a non-debatable thesis statement:

This thesis statement is not debatable. First, the word pollution implies that something is bad or negative in some way. Furthermore, all studies agree that pollution is a problem; they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is unambiguously good.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. Still others could argue that corporations, not the government, should be paying to limit pollution.

Another example of a debatable thesis statement:

In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy.

The thesis needs to be narrow

Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start, generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. The broader your claim is, the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right.

Example of a thesis that is too broad:

There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First, what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use, recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes), or all uses of medication in general? Second, in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally, what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above, yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

Example of a narrow or focused thesis:

In this example the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. This is a much more manageable topic.

We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way:

Narrowed debatable thesis 1:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution.

Narrowed debatable thesis 2:

This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national anti-pollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus.

Qualifiers such as " typically ," " generally ," " usually ," or " on average " also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule.

Types of claims

Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic, or, in other words, what type of claim you want to make, is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of your broader topic.

Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Example:

Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person, thing, or event caused another thing or event to occur. Example:

Claims about value: These are claims made of what something is worth, whether we value it or not, how we would rate or categorize something. Example:

Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example:

Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge of the topic, your audience, and the context of your paper. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper.

  • The Student Experience
  • Financial Aid
  • Degree Finder
  • Undergraduate Arts & Sciences
  • Departments and Programs
  • Research, Scholarship & Creativity
  • Centers & Institutes
  • Geisel School of Medicine
  • Guarini School of Graduate & Advanced Studies
  • Thayer School of Engineering
  • Tuck School of Business

Campus Life

  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Athletics & Recreation
  • Student Groups & Activities
  • Residential Life
  • [email protected] Contact & Department Info Mail
  • About the Writing Center
  • Hours & Location
  • Appointments
  • Undergraduate Sessions
  • Graduate Sessions
  • What To Expect at a Session
  • Student Guides
  • Guide for Students with Disabilities
  • Sources and Citations Guide
  • For Faculty
  • Class Support
  • Faculty Guidelines
  • Work With Us
  • Apply To Tutor
  • Advice for Tutors
  • Advice to Writing Assistants
  • Diagnosing Problems: Ways of Reading Student Papers
  • Responding to Problems: A Facilitative Approach
  • Teaching Writing as a Process

Search form

  • About Tutoring

The Thesis Sentence

The thesis sentence is arguably the most important sentence in an academic paper. Without a good, clear thesis that presents an intriguing arguable point, a paper risks becoming unfocused, aimless, not worth the reader's time.

The Challenge of the Thesis Sentence

Because the thesis sentence is the most important sentence of a paper, it is also the most difficult to write. Readers expect a great deal of a thesis sentence: they want it to powerfully and clearly indicate what the writer is going to say, why she is going to say it, and even how it is that she is going to go about getting it said. In other words, the job of the thesis sentence is to organize, predict, control, and define the paper's argument.

In many cases, a thesis sentence will not only present the paper's argument, it will also point to and direct the course that the argument is going to take. In other words, it may also include an "essay map" - i.e., phrases or clauses that map out for the reader (and the writer) the argument that is to come. In some cases, then, the thesis sentence not only promises an argument, it promises the structure of that argument as well.

The promises that a thesis sentence makes to a reader are important ones and must be kept. It's helpful sometimes to explain the thesis as a kind of contract between reader and writer: if this contract is broken, the reader will feel frustrated and betrayed. Accordingly, the writer must be very careful in the development of the thesis.

Working on the Thesis Sentence

Chances are if you've had trouble following or deciphering the argument of a paper, there's a problem with the thesis. If a tutor's first response to a paper is that he doesn't know what the paper is about, then the thesis sentence is either absent from the paper, or it's hiding. The first thing you might wish to do is to ask the writer what his thesis is. He may point to a particular sentence that he thinks is his thesis, giving you a very good place to start.

Let's say that you've read a paper in which you've encountered this thesis:

Although heterosexuality has long been regarded as the only natural expression of sexuality, this view has been recently and strongly challenged by the gay rights movement.

What's wrong with this sentence? Many things, the most troublesome of which is that it argues nothing. Who is going to deny that the heteronormative view has been challenged by the gay rights movement? At this point, you need to ask the writer some questions. In what specific ways has the gay rights movement challenged heterosexuality? Do these ways seem reasonable to the writer? Why or why not? What argument does he intend to make about this topic? Why does he want to make it? To whom does he want to make it?

After giving the writer some time to think about and talk about these questions, you'll probably want to bring up another problem that is certain to arise out of a thesis like this one: the matter of structure. Any paper that follows a thesis like this one is likely to ramble. How can the reader figure out what all the supporting paragraphs are doing when the argument itself is so ill-defined? You'll want to show the writer that a strong thesis suggests - even helps to create - strong topic sentences. (More on this when we consider matters of structure, below).

But before we move on to other matters, let's consider the problem of this thesis from another angle: its style. We can see without difficulty that the sentence presents us with at least two stylistic problems: 1) this thesis, which should be the most powerful sentence of the paper, employs the passive voice, and 2) the introductory clause functions as a dangling modifier (who regards heterosexuality as the only natural way to express sexuality?).

Both stylistic problems point to something at work in the sentence: the writer obliterates the actors - heterosexuals and homosexuals alike - by using the dangling modifier and the passive voice. Why does he do that? Is he avoiding naming the actors in these sentences because he's not comfortable with the positions they take? Is he unable to declare himself because he feels paralyzed by the sense that he must write a paper that is politically correct? Or does he obliterate the actors with the passive voice because he himself wishes to remain passive on this topic?

These are questions to pose to the writer, though they must be posed gently. In fact, you might gently pose these questions via a discussion of style. For instance, you might also suggest that the writer rewrite the sentence in the active voice:

Although our society has long regarded heterosexuality as the only natural expression of sexuality, members of the gay rights movement have challenged this view strongly.

This active construction helps us to see clearly what's missing:

Although our society has long regarded heterosexuality as the only natural expression of sexuality, members of the gay rights movement have challenged this view strongly, arguing XYZ.

This more active construction also makes it clear that merely enumerating the points the author wants to make is not the same thing as creating an argument. The writer should now be able to see that he needs to go one step further - he needs to reveal his own position on the gay rights movement. The rest of the paper will develop this position.

In short, there are many ways to begin work on a writer's thesis sentences. Almost all of them will lead you to other matters important to the paper's success: its structure, its language, its style. Try to make any conversation you have about thesis sentences point to other problems with the writing. Not only is this strategy efficient, but it also encourages a writer to see how important a thesis is to the overall success of his essay.

Talking Your Way to a Workable Thesis

For the sake of making (we hope) a somewhat humorous illustration of the matter at hand, we offer the following scenario, which shows how tutor and tutee can talk their way to a workable thesis - and, indeed, to a good essay. So sit back, and enjoy this "break" in your training.

Imagine (though it is indeed quite a stretch) that a freshman composition teacher has the audacity to assign a paper on cats (the animals, not the play). The students may write any kind of paper they like - narration, description, compare/contrast, etc. - as long as their essays contain a thesis (that is, that they argue some point) concerning cats. A writer comes to you for help in developing her thesis. You read the assignment, and then you tell the writer that she first must choose the kind of paper she would like to do. She decides to do a narrative because she thinks she has more freedom in the narrative form. Then you ask her what she has to say about cats. "I don't like them," is her reply.

"OK," you say, "that's a start. Why don't you like them?" The writer has lots of reasons: they smell, they're aloof, they shed, they keep you up nights when they're in heat, they're very middle class, they steal food off of the table, they don't get along with dogs (the writer loves dogs), and on, and on. After brainstorming for a while, you tell the writer to choose a few points on which she'd like to focus - preferably those points that she feels strongly about or those which seem unusual. She picks three: cats smell, they steal food, and they are middle class. She offers her thesis: "I don't like cats because they are smelly, thieving, and middle class."

"O.K.," you say, "It's not a very sophisticated thesis but we can use it for now. After all, it defines your stance, it controls your subject, it organizes your argument, and it predicts your strategy - all the things that a thesis ought to do. Now let's consider how to develop the thesis, point by point."

You begin to ask questions about cats and their smell. "What do they smell like?" you say. The writer thinks awhile, and then says, "They smell like dirty gym shorts, like old hamburgers, like my eighth-grade math teacher's breath." The writer laughs, particularly fond of the final simile. Then she adds, "My boyfriend has a cat. A Tom. When he moved into his first apartment, that cat sprayed all over the place, you know, marking his territory. The place stunk so bad that I couldn't even go there for a week. Can you imagine? Your boyfriend gets his first apartment, and you can't even go in the place for a week?"

The writer has sparked your imagination; you think that she can spark her teacher's imagination as well. "Why don't you do your narrative about your boyfriend's cat? You could tell the story - or you could make up a story - about going over there for dinner, hoping for a romantic evening, and being put off by the cat." The writer likes this idea and goes off to write her draft. She returns with the following story about her boyfriend and his cat.

She was hoping for a romantic dinner; he was making her favorite meal. She could smell the T-bone and the apple pie before she even got to his door. But when she opened the door, her appetite was obliterated: the smell of cat spray smelled worse than her eighth-grade math teacher's breath. Of course, because she remained hopeful for a romantic evening, she put on her best face, tried not to grimace, and gave her boyfriend the flowers she'd picked up on the way. They chat; everything is going fine; he goes to the kitchen to check on dinner; she hears his shriek. The cat has stolen all of the food! Upon searching, they find the cat under the sofa, not only with their dinner, but with the writer's wallet, her favorite picture of her mom torn in half, her new leather jacket now full of cat hairs. This cat not only stinks, he's a thief as well. Still, the evening need not be a total waste. They order pizza, have some wine. She and her man talk; their moods improve, and she decides that it might be a nice time to kiss. She pulls the old yawn trick to get her arm around him, and just as she's ready to kiss him the cat jumps into his lap. "Oh, Pookie, Pookie, Pookie," her boyfriend says, giving himself over to the purring cat. "Damn lap cat," the writer says to herself, and leaves it at that. She has written a paper illustrating that cats are smelly, thieving, and middle class. She has fulfilled her thesis.

Now, you like this paper. It's got a great voice, and it's got humor. You feel, however, that the writer should refine the thesis. It has served the writer well in helping her to organize, control, predict, and define her essay; however, she needs now to consider how to choose words and a tone which will hook the reader and reel him in. You explain to the writer that her thesis can be humorous, that she can feel free to be extreme, because a funny, exaggerated thesis would suit this funny, exaggerated paper.

After some doodling and some dialogue, the writer comes up with the following thesis: "All cats should be exterminated because they are the stinking, kleptomaniacal darlings of the bourgeoisie." You laugh; you like it. Moreover, the thesis has given the writer an ending for her essay: she exterminates the cat in her boyfriend's microwave, convinces him to get a goldfish instead, and the two of them live happily ever after. The writer is happy. The tutor is happy. The paper works.

While you will likely not encounter a "cat" assignment at Dartmouth, this sort of experience with writing a thesis is a common one. Even when papers are more sophisticated than this one - even when the subject is Hitler's rise to power, or Freud's treatment of taboo - writers will often write a working thesis, one that guides them through the writing process. Then they will return to the thesis, sometimes several times before their paper is finished, revising it to better fit their paper's increasingly refined argument and tone.

Polishing the Thesis Sentence

Look at the sentence's structure. Is the main idea of the paper placed appropriately in the main clause? If there are parallel points made in the paper, does the thesis sentence signal this to the reader via some parallel structure? If the paper makes an interesting but necessary aside, is that aside predicted - perhaps in a parenthetical element? Remember: the structure of the thesis sentence also signals much to the reader about the structure of the argument. Be sure that the thesis reflects, reliably, what the paper itself is going to say.

As to the style of the sentence: hold the thesis sentence to the highest stylistic standards. Help a writer to make sure that it is as clear and concise as it can be, and that its language and phrasing reflect confidence, eloquence, and grace.

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Example: Thesis statement Despite Oscar Wilde's Aestheticist claims that art needs no justification or purpose, his work advocates Irish nationalism, women's suffrage, and socialism. You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps: Start with a question Write your initial answer Develop your answer Refine your thesis statement

  2. 25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze

    25 Thesis Statement Examples That Will Make Writing a Breeze JBirdwellBranson Published on April 30, 2018 PDT Last Modified on August 30, 2023 PDT Understanding what makes a good thesis statement is one of the major keys to writing a great research paper or argumentative essay.

  3. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Also, we'll provide some thesis statement examples and talk about how to write a thesis statement for different kinds of essays: persuasive, compare-and-contrast, expository, and argumentative essays. The thesis statement is located at the beginning of a paper, in the opening paragraph, making it an essential way to start an essay.

  4. 15 Thesis Statement Examples to Inspire Your Next Argumentative ...

    1. A good argumentative thesis is focused and not too broad. It's important to stay focused! Don't try to argue an overly broad topic in your essay, or you're going to feel confused and unsure about your direction and purpose. Don't write: "Eating fast food is bad and should be avoided."

  5. Creating a Thesis Statement, Thesis Statement Tips

    1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience. An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.

  6. Developing a Thesis Statement

    Sample assignment 2 Analyze one of Homer's epic similes in the Iliad. Identified topic The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64. Reason This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).

  7. Thesis Statements

    directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel. makes a claim that others might dispute.

  8. PDF Thesis Statements and Topic Sentences

    •A thesis statement can appear as one sentence (see examples C and D) or several sentences (see examples A and B); this is dependent on the requirements of your rhetorical context. ** Note: these are general guidelines for constructing a strong thesis statement and topic sentences in a thesis driven essay; always refer to your assignment or ...

  9. How to write a thesis statement + Examples

    English How to write a thesis statement + examples Content: What is a thesis statement? Is a thesis statement a question? How do you write a good thesis statement? How do I know if my thesis statement is good? What is a thesis statement? Definition A thesis statement is the main argument of your paper or thesis.

  10. Thesis Statement Examples

    Here are six more thesis statement examples for you to consider: Bad: Everyone should exercise. - Why should I? What's in it for me? Good: Americans should add exercise to their daily morning routine because it not only keeps their bodies at a healthy weight but also reduces the risk of high blood pressure.

  11. 25 Thesis Statement Examples (2024)

    Below are examples of each. Strong Thesis Statement Examples 1. School Uniforms "Mandatory school uniforms should be implemented in educational institutions as they promote a sense of equality, reduce distractions, and foster a focused and professional learning environment." Best For: Argumentative Essay or Debate

  12. How to Write a Thesis Statement With Examples

    Examples of a thesis statement for an analytical essay include: The criminal justice reform bill passed by the U.S. Senate in late 2018 ("The First Step Act") aims to reduce prison sentences that disproportionately fall on nonwhite criminal defendants. The rise in populism and nationalism in the U.S. and European democracies has coincided with ...

  13. How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

    Example: To make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you must procure the ingredients, find a knife, and spread the condiments. This thesis showed the reader the topic (a type of sandwich) and the direction the essay will take (describing how the sandwich is made).

  14. Writing a Thesis Statement

    A thesis statement is a sentence that states the topic and purpose of your paper. A good thesis statement will direct the structure of your essay and will allow your reader to understand the ideas you will discuss within your paper. ... Sample Analytical Thesis: Expository Thesis Statement: Explaining a Topic An expository thesis statement ...

  15. How to write a thesis statement (with examples)

    To answer that, let's think about what 'thesis' means. From the Greek thésis, meaning 'proposition', your thesis is your main argument. It is the position you have to support and defend for the remainder of your essay.

  16. Thesis

    Here are some examples of possible thesis statements for a student's analysis of the article "The Case Against Perfection" by Professor Michael Sandel. Descriptive thesis (not arguable)

  17. Strong Thesis Statements

    Example of a debatable thesis statement: At least 25 percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution. This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money.

  18. Mastering the Thesis Statement: Examples and Tips for Academic ...

    A thesis statement is a sentence that encapsulates the central point or main idea of a paper or essay. It is typically found near the end of the introduction and serves as a guide to the reader, outlining the writer's stance on the topic. ... Examples of Thesis Statements in Different Essay Types Narrative. In a narrative essay, the thesis ...

  19. The Thesis Sentence

    About Tutoring Share The Thesis Sentence The thesis sentence is arguably the most important sentence in an academic paper. Without a good, clear thesis that presents an intriguing arguable point, a paper risks becoming unfocused, aimless, not worth the reader's time. The Challenge of the Thesis Sentence

  20. How to Format a Thesis for a Research Paper

    1 It should be clear and concise: A research paper thesis statement should use plain language and explain the topic briefly, without going into too much detail. 2 It's a single sentence: A thesis statement is generally only one sentence, which helps keep the topic simple and makes it easier to understand. 3 It should establish the scope of ...

  21. Thesis Generator

    After the topic sentence, include any evidence in this body paragraph, such as a quotation, statistic, or data point, that supports this first point. Explain what the evidence means. Show the reader how this entire paragraph connects back to the thesis statement. Paragraph #2. Possible topic sentence for Paragraph #2: