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How to Write a Thesis Statement

This post will show you how to write a strong IELTS thesis statement. It will also explain why you should vary your thesis statement according to the question type you are given in the IELTS writing test.

This post will look at:

  • what a thesis statement is;
  • how to identify the different question types;
  • how to write a thesis statement for each question.

What is a thesis statement?

”A thesis is an idea put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed or analysed.”

A thesis statement is the most important sentence in your IELTS writing task 2 answer.  It is contained in the introduction ; each introduction should have one, along with a paraphrase  of the question and an outline statement.

A thesis statement is your main idea. I often describe it to students as “the way you feel about the whole issue in one sentence”. It tells the examiner that you have understood the question, and it will lead to a clearer, more coherent essay.

Let’s look at an example of an IELTS thesis statement:

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use contributes to global warming and has other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

Do you agree or disagree?

Thesis statement : This essay agrees that increasing motor vehicle use contributes to rising global temperatures and certain health issues.

As you can see, this sentence clearly shows the examiner how you feel about the question. The rest of your essay should support this statement.

How do I know what to write?

The first thing we need to do is to identify which type of question it is and look at the action words.  For example, in the question below, the action words are ‘do you agree or disagree?’

Question: There is a good deal of evidence that increasing car use is contributing to global warming and having other undesirable effects on people’s health and well-being.

Do you agree or disagree?

Therefore, we need to tell the examiner clearly whether we agree or disagree, which will influence our thesis statement.

Let’s look at other examples:

Computers are being used more and more in education.

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

  • Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say that this is a positive trend, while others argue that it is leading to negative consequences.

Discuss both sides of this argument and then give your own opinion.

Students are becoming more and more reliant on computers.

What are some of the problems associated with reliance on computers, and what are some of the possible solutions?

The main keywords in each of the three questions above are more or less the same- education and computers. However, if we look at the action words, we can see that we must answer the three questions in very different ways, which will affect our thesis statement.

The action words are:

  • What are some of the problems, and what are some of the possible solutions?

Therefore, it is important to take some time to analyse the question and establish what it  is actually asking us to do .

How do I write a thesis statement for each question type?

Once we have established what the question wants us to do, we can now think about our thesis statement. Below we will look at how to write a thesis statement for four different kinds of questions:

  • Opinion Question (Do you agree or Disagree)
  • Discussion Question (Discuss both points of view)
  • Advantages and Disadvantage
  • Problem and Solution.

You should remember that although IELTS writing part 2 questions normally follow a standard format as above, they sometimes change, and you should be prepared for that.

Opinion Question

Some aspects of celebrity culture have a bad influence on young people.

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

We have three choices with this kind of question:

  • I both agree and disagree

I tell my students to only choose options one or two . Choosing option three will often lead to a confused and/or very long essay. If you have just one opinion and you stick to this, it will lead to a clear and well-argued essay.

Therefore, you have two choices.

  • I agree that some aspects of celebrity culture negatively influence young people.
  • I disagree that some aspects of celebrity culture negatively influence young people.

All of your thesis statements for this kind of question should start with:

This essay agrees that…..

This essay disagrees that…..

We should try to avoid using personal pronouns like ‘I’ and we, therefore, use ‘This essay….’ instead.

Also, remember that we should not copy the question as this is not allowed in the IELTS writing test, and instead, we should paraphrase.

For example, ‘ This essay agrees that some famous people’s lifestyles have a detrimental effect on today’s youth.’

Second Example Opinion Question

Increasing the price of petrol is the best way to solve the growing traffic and pollution problems.

Thesis Statement: This essay disagrees that the best way to resolve increasing pollution and congestion problems is to raise the cost of fuel.

Discussion Question

Computers are being used more and more in education. Some people say this is a positive trend, while others argue that it leads to negative consequences.

For this question, we need to clearly state both sides of the argument and our own opinion.

We do this by simply paraphrasing the question, thus stating both sides, and then giving our own opinion. Our own opinion will be just one side of the argument.

Even if you favour both sides of the argument, state one. Again, this leads to a clearer answer.

Thesis statement: Some argue that schools and universities increasing the use of computers is beneficial, while others oppose this view. This essay agrees that the growing use of technology by educators is a positive development.

As you can see, this student has clearly stated both sides of the argument and stated which side of the argument she prefers.

Second Example Discussion Question

Some people think that parents should teach children how to be good members of society. Others believe that school is the best place to learn this.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Thesis statement: Some argue that teachers should teach youngsters how to be upstanding members of the community, whereas others feel this is the role of the mother and father. This essay agrees that this duty should be filled primarily by parents.

Advantage and Disadvantages Question

In this question, we need to clearly state what we think the main advantage is and the main disadvantage.

Thesis Statement: The principal advantages are the instant information available to students and the ability to communicate with other students. The main disadvantages are the lack of discipline and motivation provided by computers.

Second Advantage and Disadvantages Question

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Thesis statement: The principal advantage is that exposing children to languages as early as possible leads to higher proficiency levels later in life, which outweighs the main disadvantage of young children being overwhelmed by too many subjects.

Problem and Solution Question

What is a problem associated with reliance on computers, and what is a possible solution? 

Our thesis statement will need to state one main problem and one main solution.

Thesis statement: The principal problem is students allowing machines to do all the work for them without thinking for themselves, and a possible solution is to have stricter supervision from teachers and parents.

Cause and Solution Question

In some countries, the average weight of people is increasing, and their levels of health and fitness are decreasing.

What do you think is the cause of this problem, and what measures could be taken to solve this?

Thesis statement: The principal cause of this problem is people’s sedentary lifestyles, and a possible solution is to educate society about the dangers of not keeping fit.

This is just a broad overview of IELTS thesis statements, and it should be read in conjunction with my article on how to write an effective introduction to be fully understood.

**Please note**

It should be reiterated that these are the four most common question types that come up in the IELTS writing test. However, these question types sometimes do vary, and you should be ready to change your IELTS thesis statements and introductions accordingly.

To do this confidently on the day of your exam, you must have practised many times beforehand.

You can browse the free IELTS Writing Task 2 materials on my website to improve your skills from home, but free materials can only help you so much. If you need reliable practice questions and feedback on your work, you should join the Waiting List to my VIP Course or contact my team here: [email protected].

Video Lesson: How THIS student scored a Band 8.5 in IELTS Writing

In this video, my student will show you how she scored a Band 8.5 in her IELTS Writing test.

Watch us break down her essay step-by-step, talking about her introduction, thesis statement, how she used vocabulary to score high, came up with strong ideas and much more. Check it out here:

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

About Christopher Pell

My name is Christopher Pell and I'm the Managing Director of IELTS Advantage.

I started IELTS Advantage as a simple blog to help 16 students in my class. Several years later, I am very humbled that my VIP Course has been able to help thousands of people around the world to score a Band 7+ in their IELTS tests.

If you need my help with your IELTS preparation, you can send me an email using the contact us page.

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What is a Pro and Con Thesis?

Tips for writing a pro & con thesis:, 1. research your topic, 2. brainstorm pros and cons, 3. take a stand, 4. put it together, how to write a pro & con thesis statement.

You may be required to write a paper evaluating the pros and cons of a particular issue, providing both positive and negative attributes of a specific subject as well as your position.

  • It tells readers what you want them to know or consider about the topic after reading your essay.

The key to developing a pro and con thesis statement that includes the most relevant information is research.

Research helps you become better informed and determine what it is about your topic you want to examine.

  • Gather resources that help you establish inferences or raise questions.
  • Use information gathered from credible sources to determine your position, support your claim, and defend your viewpoints against opposing arguments.

Informed writers write a more authoritative thesis statement.

Once you have completed your research, brainstorm and list all pros and cons you can think of concerning your topic.

  • This can be done by separating positive from negative sides or randomly listing them together.
  • Try to develop a counterpoint for each pro and con.
  • You need at least three pros and cons for a sufficient argument.

A strong thesis statement is one that takes a stand and can be defended.

  • Decide which side of the argument you support and group all your thoughts into one central theme.

In order to take a stand, you must know opposing viewpoints and provide evidence against them.

  • Your viewpoints must be clearly defined, and all of your pro and con points should prove your thesis or disprove the opposing side.
  • Do not use words such as “I believe” or “I feel” in your thesis statement.
  • Your opinion of the topic must be a powerful statement that fits the facts.

A formula for putting together a pro and con thesis statement that shows both positive and negative benefits and chooses a position is by making a claim plus reason.

  • Make your claim and give the reason for it.

A claim plus reason thesis allows the writer to determine the focus, simplifies the relationship between ideas and keeps the reader focused on the viewpoint.

  • you may decide to write about the effects of being a child star and state the thesis like this: “Although being a child star can be a learning experience and a stepping stone to a successful adult acting career, it can be harmful because a child actor has an unstable school schedule, less social activity with other children and more exposure to adult subject matter.”
  • Using a claim plus reason formula gives your reader enough detail about the topic to grasp your argument.

<!--StartFragment-->I am a current senior studying at the University of Missouri - Columbia with a major in Journalism and a minor in Sociology. I have interests in photojournalism, documentary journalism and design fields. <!--EndFragment--><!--EndFragment-->

Preparation for the IELTS Exam

How to write an IELTS thesis statement.

Ielts essay introductions and thesis statements..

updated: July 27th 2022. When writing the introduction of an IELTS essay there are two steps that need to be taken. Paraphrase the task question and write a Thesis Statement . If the question asks for an opinion then it must be in the thesis statement. It depends on the type of essay you are writing as they are not all the same. It is advisable to write a thesis in the introduction for every type of essay. A good thesis statement can help you get a good band score in task response in the writing section.

The thesis statement tells the examiner what the essay is going to be about and the conclusion of the essay paraphrases the thesis statement. Some teachers have other views and say that a thesis statement is not needed. There are different approaches to writing an IELTS essay. If you have 10 IELTS teachers in a room there will most likely be 10 different opinions on the matter.

In my opinion, a thesis statement is logical and shows the reader what to expect in the rest of the essay. However, do not confuse Thesis statements with memorised outline sentences. See this link here about that.

What exactly is a thesis statement?

‘A thesis statement tells the reader what your essay is going to be about in one or two sentences. It usually includes your opinion or states your position’
  • Don’t use rhetorical questions in the thesis. The thesis statement is not a question.
  • Make it clear what you are going to write about briefly (1 or 2 sentences)
  • If it’s an opinion essay, give 2 reasons for your opinion in the thesis statement.
  • The thesis statement comes after paraphrasing the question.
  • Do not write an outline sentence, these look like a cliche and memorised. Examiners are trained to spot memorised phrases, for instance: ‘ This essay would like to explore reasons for this in more detail’
  • Don’t confuse thesis statements with the above outline sentence. Outline sentences are for very long academic essays. See this lesson here on phrases to avoid.

For each essay type this is what should be in the Thesis statement:

1. Opinion essays: write 2 reasons for your opinion. 2. Advantage disadvantage essays:  state the advantage and the disadvantage, 3. Problem solution essays:   briefly state 1 or 2 problems and possible solutions. 4 . Discussion essays: after paraphrasing both sides of the argument, give your opinion with a reason why you hold that view. 5. Two part question essays: answer the 1st question then answer the 2nd question briefly.

First you have to identify what kind of essay it is.

The first step before you begin to write is to make sure you understand the question, then identify what kind of essay this will be. There are 5 variations on an IELTS discursive essay click here to see a lesson on this .

Before you write the thesis statement you will need to paraphrase the question , click here for a lesson on this. Click here to see how to write a good introduction to a Problem Solution essay.

1. Discussion essay.

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

This is the Paraphrased introduction with a Thesis statement.

A number of people believe serious crimes need to have a set punishment, whereas others argue that the situation of the crime must be considered. I agree that the circumstances of the crime itself should be taken into account because every case is different.

Thesis Statement: ‘ I agree that the circumstances of the crime itself should be taken into account because every case is different’

It is important to give a brief reason for your view, the body paragraphs should expand on this. The examiner can clearly see your position in the introduction. In this essay, my position is that every case is different and a prison sentence would not be appropriate.

Note: For a more academic feel, rather than using a personal pronoun to state your opinion, you could state your position like this below:

This essay agrees that the circumstances of the crime itself should be taken into account because every case is different.

2. Opinon essay.

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

Again you need to paraphrase the question and then clearly agree or disagree , remember to choose just one side.. the words: ‘To what extent do you agree or disagree’ means how much do you agree/disagree, or how far do you agree/disagree. You should mention the other side of the argument but stick to your own opinion. Balanced essays do not necessarily get a higher band score.

Give 2 reasons for your view in the thesis statement here. This is the Paraphrased introduction with a Thesis statement:

It is argued that society would be better off if every type of advertising was prohibited. I disagree that all advertising should be disallowed as this policy would not benefit society and would negatively impact the economy.

Thesis statement: ‘ I disagree that all advertising should be disallowed as this policy would not benefit societ y and would negatively impact the economy.’

In this thesis statement I have clearly stated why I hold the opinion that advertising should not be banned with 2 reasons (no benefit to society and bad for the economy)  Remember to keep the introduction to under 55 words or it will be too long.

As mentioned before, you can use a more academic way to state your view, such as:

This essay disagrees that all advertising should be disallowed because this policy would not benefit society and would have a negative impact on the economy.

3. Advantages disadvantages essay.

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

This is the Paraphrased introduction with a Thesis statement:

In recent times, people can reside wherever they want in the world because of the progress that has made in technology and transport. The main advantage is the career opportunities that a person can get outside their own country, while a possible downside would be the stress of adjusting to living in a different culture.

Thesis statement: ‘ The main advantage is the career opportunities that a person can get outside their own country, while a possible downside would be the stress of adjusting to living in a different culture.’

Try keeping the whole introduction under 55 words as you don’t want it to look like a body paragraph. You can write about 2 advantages and 2 disadvantages, but you need to keep the introduction concise.

Another method is to just refer to the advantage and state the disadvantage, such as:

In recent times, people can reside wherever they want in the world because of the progress that has made in technology and transport. Although there are advantages, the downside would be the stress of adjusting to living in a different culture.’

This allows you to keep the thesis statement concise especially if you want to cover two advantages (or disadvantages)

4. Advantages disadvantages outweigh essay (this needs your opinion).

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

This type of advantage disadvantage essay is special because it asks ‘ Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?’. This means you have to write about what side you think is stronger and reflect that in the essay and also in the thesis statement. You need to state an opinion here.

Some experts argue that children should study a new language at primary school as opposed to secondary school. This essay agrees that the advantages are stronger than the disadvantages because youngsters pick up and master new languages much easier than at a high school age.

Thesis statement: ‘This essay agrees that the advantages are stronger than the disadvantages because youngsters pick up and master new languages much easier than at a high school age .’

I have underlined the reason for my opinion here. Giving a reason for your opinion is important in a thesis statement. The introduction is 44 words long so that will be fine. Remember to also address the other side of the issue in the main body paragraphs, the side you think is weaker.

Another method here is to use this style which is very concise at 32 words but it does not contain a reason for my view.

Some experts argue that youngsters should study a new language at primary school as opposed to secondary school. In my view, the advantages of younger children learning new languages outweigh the disadvantages.

5. Problem solution / causes solution essay.

ielts problem solution essay

People living in large cities have to deal with many issues in their day to day lives. The main problems people face are high rental costs and overcrowding. Some possible solutions would be to build more affordable housing and more green spaces.

Thesis statement: ‘ The main problems people face are high rental costs and overcrowding. Some possible solutions would be to build more affordable housing and more green spaces.’

I have listed 2 problems high rents, overcrowding and 2 solutions affordable housing, green spaces . You can choose just one problem and one solution and that would be fine.

6. Two part question (direct question essay).

direct question essay ielts

The world wide web is a huge source of knowledge which has created opportunities for people worldwide to study. However, not all information on the internet can be trusted, so the government needs to put measures in place to protect people from false information.

Thesis statement: ‘ However, not all information on the internet can be trusted, so the government needs to put measures in place to protect people from false information.’

Two part question essays are sometimes called ‘Direct question’ essays. They consist of 2 direct questions in the task question. Sometimes they will ask for your opinion such as: Do you think….?  or   What do you think…?

If the question asks for the opinion then you must state it. You should briefly answer the 2 questions in the thesis statement then give more detail in the body paragraphs.

Check out the blog posts about how to identify the 5 essay types and also how to paraphrase the question . These are key stages before writing your thesis statement. Make sure your whole introduction is under 55 words or it will be too long.

Take a look here at how to write a good introduction in writing task 2. Now you can try.

Here is a Discussion essay question where you have to give your opinion. Can you write a Thesis statement for it?

Some people believe that the best way to deal with heavy traffic in city centres is for privately owned vehicles to be banned, others however think this is not a realistic solution.  Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

Task question again:

Some people believe that the best way to deal with heavy traffic in city centres is for privately owned vehicles to be banned, others however think this is not a realistic solution. Discuss both sides and give your own opinion.

Paraphrased introduction: Some people argue that prohibiting private cars from city centres is the best way to tackle traffic congestion, whereas others say that this is unrealistic.

Thesis statement: I agree that private vehicles should be banned from city centres and more investment needs to be put into public transportation to alleviate traffic jams.

Full introduction with thesis statement:

Some people argue that prohibiting private cars from city centres is the best way to tackle traffic congestion, whereas others say that this is unrealistic. I agree that private vehicles should be banned from city centres and more investment needs to be put into public transportation to alleviate traffic jams.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions..

Leave a comment cancel reply.

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Opinion Essay Introduction: The Thesis Statement

In an IELTS opinion essay for writing task 2, your introduction has a background statement and a thesis statement. You should aim for between 40 to 50 words for the length of your essay introduction. While the background statement introduces the topics, the thesis statement is your answer to the task given by IELTS. It should introduce the main points and show the direction your essay will take. Below are two possible introductions with different thesis statements for the following IELTS task.

IELTS Task 2 The increase in the amount of traffic is responsible for growing problems in many large cities and this has resulted in more traffic congestion, particularly at rush hour. What measures could be taken to deal with this problem?

Essay Introductions

The introductions below have different thesis statements. Which one do you think is the best?

1. The growth in the quantity of traffic in most major cities has led to problems of congestion in the peak travel hours. There are a number of solutions to this issue which I will discuss in this essay.
2. The growth in the quantity of traffic in most major cities has led to problems of congestion in the peak travel hours. This can be solved by having a traffic free zone and improving the public transportation system offered to the public.

Number 2 is the best introduction.

Recommended Lessons

IELTS Opinion Essay Model Band Score 9 , click here IELTS Writing Task 2 Video: How to write an introduction, click here

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Hello Liz! I hope you are doing great! I appreciate your hard work, patience and dedication so much! I have purchased your advanced lessons and I am a bit confused about the use of “we” in the task 2 essays. You said in your discussion essay explanations that only in case of ” as people we do not live …” we can use this pronoun. My question is can I use ‘we’ in sentences like- ” …the food we intake…” or “exercise helps keep our body….” ? I am trying to follow your lessons as closely as possible, and I found them very helpful! Thank you so much for everything you are doing for us! God bless you! Regards, Mouli

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There are no rules that state we cannot use “we”. It is not a pronoun that is often used in IELTS essays, but there are times when we can use it. Your examples are fine. Just remember, most IELTS essays are about people in general, not “we”. For example, “We should all do more exercise” is better written “People should do more exercise.”

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Hi, Liz! Do you give private lessons on writing essays? Thank you.

I only offer my Advanced Video Lessons: https://elizabethferguson.podia.com/

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To what extend do you agree or disagree? I completely agree with this ideology. Before mustering the end point, I will shed light on my views in the following paragraphs.

Is it correct?

It sounds like you have memorised sentences to use in your essay. IELTS do not accept memorised language.

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Liz, love your website. I have a question with respect to thesis statement. Is it okay to pose a question as a thesis statement.

For a question on bringing tablets and computers to schools, I framed my thesis statement this way: …”Do students gain or benefit from these resources?” Is this correct?

Your thesis statement is your answer. You should not write it as a question. It is best to avoid writing questions in your essay. Present statements, supporting points, ideas – not questions.

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Hi Liz Could I give specific solutions in the introduction? I think it should be put in the body paragraph

It is fine to introduce your main ideas in the thesis statement and then put details and examples in the body paragraphs.

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I agree that the second introduction is better. However,I have a question which is what is the difference between an introduction and a conclusion. You said that the second introduction is better because it sums up the main points. But, this is what a conclusion is supposed to do. Please clarify my confusion dear teacher.

The introduction introduces the reader to the issues in the question and presents your answer. The conclusion summarises your ideas – it restates your opinion.

Exactly, this is what I am trying to say. If we already summarize our main points in the introductory paragraph, what would we write in our conclusion? This is my question.

You have introduced your ideas in the introduction and summarised them in the conclusion. They are the same ideas – introduced and concluded.

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Hi Liz, I like your teaching standard and methods. I have written introduction something different, could you please let me know anything is wrong except not included the opinion.

Many large cities have big problem of growing amount of traffic during a peak travel hours due to hight traffic congestion.

Thanks in advance Nishi

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traffic congestion is a serious concern in metropolis, which is due to the increase in traffic flow especially in peak timings. in my opinion, improving public transportation facilities as well as having traffic free zones would eradicate this issue.

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hi MS.liz back ground and thesis statement are only for opinion essay or applicable all types of essay in task 2 ?? please let me know

thanks in advance

All types. You can see my model essays on this page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2/or you can purchase my writing task 2 lessons: https://elizabethferguson.podia.com/

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Liz could you give me some good introduction sentences to start with in the opinion essay

There are no sentences which you can learn for a high score. Any sentences you learn to put in your essay will lower your score. You should start by paraphrasing the statement given – that’s all. Then add your thesis statement and your introduction is complete. See this page: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2/

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Dear Madam,

Can I write all advantages in one body paragraph and all disadvantages in one body paragraph.

Sure you can for an advs/disadvs essay. It’s a logical way to organise ideas into body paragraphs.

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Anne says: April 5, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Hi Liz I wanna ask a question. In this essay question: Some people think that the best way to reduce crimes is to apply longer prison sentences, while other people think that there are better methods of doing so.Discuss both points of view and give your opinion.

Can I write :

Some people believe that the most effective method towards reduction of crime rate is to lengthen prison sentences while others think that mandatory, unpaid community work would be better. In my opinion, capital crimes should attract longer prison sentences while minor offenders should be rehabilitated.

Now the question did not state what other people think, it just stated” while others think that there are better methods of doing so”. Is it OK for me to insert what I think that “other people” thought so that I can use and develop it in the body paragraph. Or should I just leave it and add all my points in my thesis Statement.

Thanks..looking forward to getting a reply from you.

Always paraphrase the background directly from the statement given. The actual views of others should be explained in your body paragraph. In your intro just mention “while others do not agree and believe in other solutions”.

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Liz I am bit confused about advantages and disadvantages essays.do I need to put advantage and disadvantages separately or just like option essay in a paragarph.??????

See my model essays: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2/

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Hi Liz, I have been attempted IELTS more than 6 times. Each time I get the required overall score which is 7.5. However I don’t get the required score for the individual modules(which is 7). For instance if I get a score 8 in listening, 7.5 in reading and 7.5 in speaking, i get only 6.5 in writing. At the same time , in the next attempt i get a 7.5 in writing with a reading score of 6.5. this continues to happen in each attempts i make. Any one of the module will be scored 6.5 each time (even I got a 6.5 in listening when i had all my modules markred 7.5. This make me depressed . Please help me . thank you

This means that you have the ability to hit band 7.5 in all sections but fail to do so repeatedly. This is can be due to your understanding of the requirements of the band scores. You may produce a band 7.5 essay in one test without realising why but then fail on your technique when you write the next test. Also tests have an element of luck involved. Your performance may vary depending on the topics and questions given. I suggest you review your reading skills: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-reading-tips-how-can-i-improve-my-score/ . Make a list of all errors you make in reading practice – why you made the error, the trap used and the paraphrasing used. Then review your understanding of the writing requirements. Don’t just look at the requirements for the score you want, read all band score requirements to learn why your score goes up or down: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-1-band-scores/ and also: https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2-band-scores-5-to-8/ . Also consider getting one or more of my advanced writing task 2 lessons so see where you are going right and where you are going wrong: http://subscriptions.viddler.com/IELTSLizStore

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Some people think that the government spend money on public service rather that wasting money on the arts .to what extend do you agree ? Allocating state funds for arts considered to be unfair for many , so according to them state funds should used used for the betterment of the public services. In my opinion , major share of public funds should necessarily be used for the basic requirement for the people such as health care system and public transport , but minimal support from state would help for the conservation of arts and culture for the future . Firstly, spending huge amount of state revenue on arts adversely affect on service sectors , mainly based on health . Recently , there is a tremendous growth in number of people who rely on hospital for both acute and chronic illness .lf the government fail to cope up with the public needs ,that lead to the deterioration of health of a society as a whole . Consequently , this would worsen the standard of health delivering services of the country. Another point to consider before investing public funds on arts is , it can weaken transportation system of the country . Whether the country developed or developing ,popularity of the public transport always remains the same , most citizen rely on public transport for their daily commuting . In such cases scarcity of enough funding would cause ineffective services . Moreover many solitary agencies will take over from government , which can result service users to pay exorbitant ticket prices . This would certainly become unaffordable and that weaken the infrastructure of the specific country . Finally , role of art and museums on prosperity of country’s culture is undeniable,so that sufficient contribution on conservation of those arts are worthwhile . More precisely , museums and art galleries are valuables that handed over by our ancestors , so it’s our turn to give adequate protection and also hand that over to our future generation . For that, little aid from state would be better off for the protection of those valuables. In conclusion , investing state funds on art is not feasible because government has got various other sectors to consider . However , offering financial aid for art is applicable for its protection and promotion .

Can you please tell me band score as well ,thank you

https://ieltsliz.com/ielts-band-scores/

Sorry I don’t comment on writing.

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Liz your teaching system is very good.

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HELLO LIZ I HAVE A QUESTION CAN WE WRITE “THE RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF TRAFFIC AND ITS PROBLEM IS A FREQUENT TOPIC OF DISCUSSION ” IN THE START OF THE INTRODUCTION…..

Sorry I don’t comment on writing. Liz

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Is “has lead” correct?

No, it should be “led”. All the best Liz

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hello mam! kindly tell me about different discourse markers one can use in speaking? thanks

They are listed on the speaking page under “linking devices for speaking”. All the best Liz

thanks alot! 🙂

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hello mam, is this thesis is right ? in the following text , I will ponder upon the entire articulates verdiction on it

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Hi Liz, Thank you for all the stuff you’ve been doing so far because I find them really helpful in order to achieve a great band score on the IELTS test. I have a question here. I know that the introduction 2 is way better. But I’m afraid that if I write my introduction in that way which gives the two main solutions then I probably won’t be able to paraphrase these two in the beginnings of each of my body paragraphs and also my conclusion. As a matter of fact, this might lower my score in terms of lexical resource because I run out of vocabulary. Am I right ?

You can repeat words in IELTS and still get a high score. Paraphrasing skills should be demonstrated but that doesn’t mean you change the words all the time. English has a limited number of words in the language so it is normal that some words are repeated. Aim for accuracy at all times. Liz

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Hi Liz, Is it necessary to include all my solutions in the introduction part? I’m afraid that I can not expand the two ideas of having a traffic free zone and improving the public transportation system enough, so in order to reach 250 words, I may include more small solutions which take one or two sentences each. But if I include them in the introduction, it seems tedious. How can I do in this case? Thank you very much!

I don’t really understand what you mean. Each body paragraph should contain one solution and each body paragraph should be equally developed. You can’t put one solution in one body paragraph and then two solutions in the next body paragraph. Your paragraphs must be planned properly and your solutions must be explained clearly. All the best Liz

I get it! I was just afraid that I have no enough descriptions for one solution a while back so I hoped to achieve 250 words by adding more solutions which seems not working now. I will try to focus one solution with more actual examples. Thanks a lot !!!

Your task is to answer the question and the question is about language not tourism. Don’t get distracted because there is extra information given by IELTS. You must identify what the issues are that you are responding to. This essay is easy because there’s a direct question for you to answer. All the best Liz

OK! I know what to do. Thank you!

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Guide to Advantage Disadvantage IELTS Essay Type

  • Essay Types
  • Double Question
  • Advantage Disadvantage
  • Problem Solution
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ielts essay advantage disadvantage type

IELTS advantage/disadvantage essays ask you to write about the benefits and drawbacks of a topic as well as (sometimes) asking for your opinion.  This guide covers everything you need to know to complete an Academic IELTS advantage/ disadvantage essay. Let’s start preparing with Benchmark IELTS!

Table of Contents

1.1 understanding the question, 1.2 example advantage/disadvantage questions, 2.1 essay structure 1, 2.2 essay structure 2.

  • 3.1 Identify key words and phrases

3.2 Organise your ideas

3.3 identify vocabulary, 4.1 introduction, 4.2 main body paragraphs, 4.3 conclusion, 5.1 complete the sample advantage/disadvantage essay, 5.2 advantage/disadvantage sample essay, 1. advantage/ disadvantage essay overview.

This section of the guide will show you how to identify an IELTS advantage/disadvantage question.

Remember, there are five main types of writing task 2 questions:

  • Advantage/disadvantage
  • Double question
  • Problem/solution

It is very important to understand what type of question you are given in the exam so you can respond in an appropriate way: different question types will require different responses.

Advantage/disadvantage essay questions can be presented in several different ways.

Here are some examples of the way an advantage/disadvantage question may be worded:

  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages and give your opinion.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of _____ and give your opinion.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of _____?

You may also see questions using synonyms for advantage and disadvantage, for example:

  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of…?

Be careful, the question itself might not always use words or phrases relating to advantage/disadvantage and they could be hidden in the statement,  as seen here:

  • Some people believe that using a bicycle as your main form of transport has a lot of advantages , whereas others believe that it has many disadvantages . Discuss both views and give your opinion.

Here is another example of a question where you are asked to give your opinion:

  • Do the advantages of … outweigh the disadvantages

After you have identified the essay type , you need to understand what you are being asked to do. To do well in the Task achievement marking component, you need to ‘ address all parts of the task’ .

This type of essay question will always be split into two parts:

  • The IELTS statement
  • The question

You must always write about both the advantages and disadvantages of the given topic. As we can see in example questions 1-6, sometimes you are asked to give your opinion on the question, and sometimes you are not. Let’s compare the following questions:

You are not being asked to give your opinion

Here are some example advantage/disadvantage essay questions:

In the past, when students did a university degree, they tended to study in their own country. Nowadays, they have more of an opportunity to study abroad.

Do the advantages of this development outweigh the disadvantages?

Today children spend a lot of their free time watching TV.

Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of this practice?

Also, read the following IELTS Essay Writing Guides

  • IELTS Discussion Type Questions
  • Double Question IELTS Essay Topics
  • Opinion-based Task 2 IELTS Guide
  • Problem Solution IELTS Writing Task Statement

The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy.

The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the disadvantages.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

In the past, when students did a university degree, they tended to study in their own country. Nowadays, they have the opportunity to study abroad.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this development?

More and more people prefer to read news online rather than on paper.

Do you think the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge and experience.

IELTS writing correction

2. Essay Structures for Advantage/Disadvantage Essays

There is more than one way to structure your advantage/disadvantage essay. You could take a thesis-led (opinion in the introduction) or an evidence-led (opinion in your conclusion).

You could also choose to focus on one or more than one advantage/disadvantage in each of your main body paragraphs.

The next two sections will give you two possible ways that you could structure your essay using four clearly organized paragraphs.

Thesis-led approach

Evidence-led approach

3. Planning your Advantage/Disadvantage Essay

Before you start writing your essay, you should give yourself 5 minutes to analyze the question and organize your ideas . Follow the tips below to create a well-planned essay!

3.1 Identify keywords and phrases

It sounds simple, but it is very important that you read the question carefully and understand what you are being asked to write about. To analyze the question, first, identify any keywords and phrases .

You should first identify the topic of the essay. If you do not write about the correct topic, you will score poorly in Task achievement . The general topic can always be found in the IELTS statement.

Let’s take a look at one of the previous examples:

The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace . Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy .

The topic words are underlined and show the general topic of this essay question in nuclear weapons/power/technology .

After you have identified the general topic, you need to locate other keywords that give you more detail about the topic. In this question, the words world peace and cheap and clean energy in bold give you more information about the general topic. Therefore, your essay should only relate to these aspects of nuclear weapons/power/technology .

Now take a look at the question for our model answer at the end of this guide. Can you identify the general topic?

This is an important step that is often skipped by test-takers. By quickly writing down your key ideas, you will avoid repeating or missing any points and improve your score in both Task achievement and Coherence and cohesion .

You could use bullet points , columns , or another preferred method of writing down ideas . Here is an example for our sample essay:

Take a look at our Master Guide for a more in-depth look at idea generation and organizing your ideas.

Taking a moment to write down more uncommon vocabulary related to the essay topic will not only make you feel more relaxed in the exam but will also help you to improve your score in Lexical resources .

This doesn’t have to be a long list, just a few ideas that come into your mind. Here are some examples of the topic of studying abroad:

  • Culture shock
  • Language barrier
  • Broaden one’s horizons

4. Writing your Advantages/Disadvantages Essay

Your introduction should be the shortest paragraph in your essay (about 40-60 words is perfect).

You need to rephrase the IELTS statement in your own words. This is known as paraphrasing (a key skill to develop for the IELTS exam).

Take a look at our example:

You can also briefly state what your essay will be about in one clear sentence. For instance:

This essay will discuss both points of view and then I will give my opinion.

If you are taking a thesis-led approach, you can use one of the following sentence starters to briefly give your opinion:

  • I believe that…
  • It is my belief that…
  • In my opinion,…

A note on the use of the first person ‘I’: Unlike writing task 1, it is appropriate to use the first person in your writing task 2 essay. In fact, it is unavoidable when giving your opinion. But , you should not overuse ‘I’ in your essay and we recommend you limit your use to your introduction and conclusion.

Topic sentences Usually, the first sentence of your main body paragraph will be a topic sentence . The purpose of your topic sentence is to introduce the main idea of your paragraph .

You should include one topic sentence for each advantage/disadvantage . This means that, if your main body paragraphs focus on two advantages/disadvantages , then you should have two topic sentences per paragraph.

Here’s an example: One advantage of studying abroad is that students can improve their language skills.

Here are some other sentence starters you can use for your essays (you can replace the underlined words with vocabulary linked to your topic):

  • One advantage of studying abroad is that ….
  • Another benefit of studying abroad is that…
  • One downside of studying abroad is that…
  • Another downside of studying abroad is that…

Supporting sentences You should then expand on your topic sentence with a supporting sentence/sentences . Your sentence(s) could either describe a result of the advantage/disadvantage, go into more detail , or explain the reason(s) why these benefits/drawbacks occur.

Our example supporting sentence describes a result of the advantage given in the topic sentence.

Topic sentence – One advantage of studying abroad is that students can improve their language skills.

Supporting sentence – This means that when the students return to their home countries, they will have more employment opportunities.

Here are some sentences starters you can use to begin your supporting sentences:

  • This is because…
  • The result/consequence/reason is that…
  • This means that…
  • As a result/consequence,…
  • In other words,…  

Giving examples For all writing task 2 essay types , you must support your response with examples. Do not personalize your examples and link them to your life instead, Keep your examples more general . Also, do not refer to made-up statistics .

Here are some instances of suitable and non-suitable examples:

Suitable For example, many young people who study in an English-speaking country for a few years develop strong communication skills and have the confidence to work in an international company when they return home.

Not suitable My cousin spent three years in an English-speaking country and they got an excellent job with an international country when they came back to Spain. ( this example is too personal as it refers to the writer’s family ) ❌

According to statistics, international students are 30% more likely to get a job in an international company when they study overseas. ( this example contains a made-up statistic )

You must include a conclusion to achieve a good score in Task achievement . Your conclusion does not have to be very long, but it needs to be clear and do two main things:

  • Paraphrase yourself : summarise the key points in your body paragraphs
  • Give your opinion : It depends if you have taken an evidence-led or thesis-led approach, you will either be re-stating the opinion given in your introduction or giving your opinion for the first time.

Make your conclusion easy to identify for the examiner by starting with linking phrases such as:

  • To sum up,…
  • To summarise,…
  • In conclusion,…

When you are paraphrasing the main points of your essay, you need to state that you have examined both sides of the argument (as that is what the question has asked you to do). To do this, consider using a phrase like:

In conclusion, having looked at this topic in detail, it is clear that there are both advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad .

You would need to replace the underlined section with your essay topic.

To give your opinion, you need to use a range of cohesive devices to introduce each example such as:

  • From my perspective,…
  • In my view,…

You then need to clearly state which side of the argument you agree with (advantage or disadvantage). Remember, your actual opinion does not matter, it is how you present your opinion using English that is important.

Here are some example sentences to do this effectively:

  • In my opinion, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
  • From my perspective, the drawbacks outweigh the benefits .

5. Example Advantage/Disadvantage Essay and Exercise

Now you’ve taken a look at how to write an advantage/disadvantage essay, let’s look at a model answer.

We have removed some of the words so you can put your knowledge to the test.

Select the correct missing words and complete the model answer.

In recent years, it has become much more common for students to complete their degree overseas instead of their house country. Many persons believe that there are significant benefits of doing this, while others argue that there are also drawbacks connected to studying abroad. This essay will discuss both points of mind and then I will give my opinion.

One advantage of study abroad is that students can improve their employee skills. This means that when the students return to their home countries, they will have more employment opportunities. An example, many young people who study in an English-speaking country for a few years develop strong communication skills and have the confidence to work in an international company when they return home. On the other hand benefit of studying abroad is that you can develop a better understanding of other cultures, Example , learning about a country’s customs, traditions and cuisines. The consequence of this is that people become more open-minded.

In the other hand, there are some disadvantages of studying abroad. One backdraw is that students may miss their friends and family and feel homesad. They may also find it difficult to connect with other students and make friends due to a language barrier . Another disadvantage is that students can experience a real culture shock when moving to another country. This is because the culture and language may be different which could lead to frustration for the student and dissatisfaction with their study experience.

To overall , it is clear that there are both advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad. In my thought, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Although it is true that the experience may be challenging at first, on balance , if you study abroad you will have an enriching experience that will broaden your horizons and increase your future prospects.

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How to write a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

Almost all of us—even if we don’t do it consciously—look early in an essay for a one- or two-sentence condensation of the argument or analysis that is to follow. We refer to that condensation as a thesis statement.

Why Should Your Essay Contain a Thesis Statement?

  • to test your ideas by distilling them into a sentence or two
  • to better organize and develop your argument
  • to provide your reader with a “guide” to your argument

In general, your thesis statement will accomplish these goals if you think of the thesis as the answer to the question your paper explores.

How Can You Write a Good Thesis Statement?

Here are some helpful hints to get you started. You can either scroll down or select a link to a specific topic.

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is Assigned

Almost all assignments, no matter how complicated, can be reduced to a single question. Your first step, then, is to distill the assignment into a specific question. For example, if your assignment is, “Write a report to the local school board explaining the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class,” turn the request into a question like, “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” After you’ve chosen the question your essay will answer, compose one or two complete sentences answering that question.

Q: “What are the potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class?” A: “The potential benefits of using computers in a fourth-grade class are . . .”
A: “Using computers in a fourth-grade class promises to improve . . .”

The answer to the question is the thesis statement for the essay.

[ Back to top ]

How to Generate a Thesis Statement if the Topic is not Assigned

Even if your assignment doesn’t ask a specific question, your thesis statement still needs to answer a question about the issue you’d like to explore. In this situation, your job is to figure out what question you’d like to write about.

A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes:

  • take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree
  • deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment
  • express one main idea
  • assert your conclusions about a subject

Let’s see how to generate a thesis statement for a social policy paper.

Brainstorm the topic . Let’s say that your class focuses upon the problems posed by changes in the dietary habits of Americans. You find that you are interested in the amount of sugar Americans consume.

You start out with a thesis statement like this:

Sugar consumption.

This fragment isn’t a thesis statement. Instead, it simply indicates a general subject. Furthermore, your reader doesn’t know what you want to say about sugar consumption.

Narrow the topic . Your readings about the topic, however, have led you to the conclusion that elementary school children are consuming far more sugar than is healthy.

You change your thesis to look like this:

Reducing sugar consumption by elementary school children.

This fragment not only announces your subject, but it focuses on one segment of the population: elementary school children. Furthermore, it raises a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree, because while most people might agree that children consume more sugar than they used to, not everyone would agree on what should be done or who should do it. You should note that this fragment is not a thesis statement because your reader doesn’t know your conclusions on the topic.

Take a position on the topic. After reflecting on the topic a little while longer, you decide that what you really want to say about this topic is that something should be done to reduce the amount of sugar these children consume.

You revise your thesis statement to look like this:

More attention should be paid to the food and beverage choices available to elementary school children.

This statement asserts your position, but the terms more attention and food and beverage choices are vague.

Use specific language . You decide to explain what you mean about food and beverage choices , so you write:

Experts estimate that half of elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar.

This statement is specific, but it isn’t a thesis. It merely reports a statistic instead of making an assertion.

Make an assertion based on clearly stated support. You finally revise your thesis statement one more time to look like this:

Because half of all American elementary school children consume nine times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, schools should be required to replace the beverages in soda machines with healthy alternatives.

Notice how the thesis answers the question, “What should be done to reduce sugar consumption by children, and who should do it?” When you started thinking about the paper, you may not have had a specific question in mind, but as you became more involved in the topic, your ideas became more specific. Your thesis changed to reflect your new insights.

How to Tell a Strong Thesis Statement from a Weak One

1. a strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand..

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because , since , so , although , unless , and however .

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

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Writing a Thesis Statement in IELTS

The thesis statement is an essential part of an essay introduction, and it is very important that you know where to put it and how to write it.

Getting it wrong could very likely reduce your IELTS score as it could affect the coherency of your essay and if it's an opinion essay, it may mean that your opinion is not clear. 

They are a crucial part of  writing an introduction .

If you prefer you can also watch this video lesson about thesis statements for IELTS:

Undertanding Thesis Statements

What is a thesis statement.

Very basically, it tells the person reading your essay  what will be in it . It may also  give your opinion  if the question asks you for this.

It is the last sentence of your introduction.

Don't get it mixed up with the  topic of your essay  - this is usually at the beginning of your introduction.

How do I write a thesis statement?

In order to make it effective, you must have first identified the task of the essay. If you are unsure about this, check out this lesson on  identifying the task .

The task is  what you have to do , and is usually at the  end of the rubric . For example, look at this IELTS essay question:

As global trade increases, many goods including those we use on a daily basis are produced in other countries and transported long distances.

Do the benefits of this trend *outweigh the drawbacks?

What you have to do (the task) is explain whether you think, overall, an increase in the production of goods in other countries and their subsequent transportation over long distances is more advantageous or disadvantageous .

So your essay is obviously going to be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of this issue, and this is what needs to be made clear in your thesis statement.

It is also an opinion essay as it is asking you to make a decision on whether you think there are more advantages or disadvantages. So you need to make this clear as well.

Here is an example introduction, with the thesis in bold:

Due to the increase in global trade, many of the goods that we consume every day are made in a different country and then transported over a long distance in order to reach us.  In my opinion, this trend has more disadvantages than advantages .

You would then go on to write about the advantages and disadvantages of global trade ( focusing more on the disadvantages as you think there are more of these).

*Just a quick note on the word ' outweigh '. This word often confuses students and they end up writing a thesis statement opinion that contradicts what they write in the essay.

The simple answer - don't use the word! It is just asking you if there are more advantages than disadvantages. So just state what you think in the thesis without using the word, as in the example.

Thesis Statements for Different Essay Types

We will now look at how thesis statements can vary with different question types. However, you should not try to learn set phrases or sentences to fit certain essays.

There are some broad types of essay question that are common to see, but they can all vary slightly.

The golden rule is to always read the question very carefully ( never rush this as you may not fully answer the question ) and work out what you have to do.

Your thesis statement will then follow on from this, depending on what you have decided you need to write about in order to answer the question.

So below are some suggestions of what you could do for certain common kinds of essay question, but this is not to say these are right and other ways are wrong. There are numerous ways to write good thesis statements and these are just possibilities.

Writing about Two Opinions

Some questions ask you specifically to discuss two opinions and to give your opinion .

Some people think that young children should be allowed to do paid work, while others think that this should be illegal.

Discuss both opinions and give your opinion.

There are various ways you could choose to write an introduction and thesis for this.

You could begin by paraphrasing the two opinions, then stating in the thesis what you will do:

Some people believe that it is acceptable for young children to undertake jobs that they are paid for, whereas others believe that this is wrong and should be illegal.  This essay will discuss both sides of the issue.

This is quite simplistic but it makes it very clear what you are going to do.

You will obviously need to give your opinion as well in the essay, but stating this in the thesis ("This essay will discuss both sides of the issue and then give my opinion") sounds awkward so it is better without it.

Another possible way to do it is by having a sentence to introduce the topic first, and then paraphrasing the two opinions to make them your thesis:

At present, more and more young children are becoming involved in paid work.  Whilst some people are of the opinion that this is an entirely acceptable practice, others believe that this is completely wrong and should be made illegal.

This is fine as your thesis will match with your essay - you go on to discuss the first opinion and then the second one.

Or of course you could modify this slightly to include your opinion:

At present, more and more young children are becoming involved in paid work.  Whilst some people are of the opinion that this is an entirely acceptable practice,  I believe  that this is completely wrong and should be made illegal.

As long as you go on to discuss both sides of the argument, this is fine.

Agreeing or Disagreeing

Another type of question is when you are asked to agree or disagree with one opinion.

Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

For this type of question, you need to state what your opinion is in the thesis statement.

Although you could feasibly do this in the conclusion, I think it is better to do it first so it is clear to someone reading the essay what your opinion is upfront. It is not wrong though to put it in the conclusion - this is your choice.

Your thesis statement here will depend on whether you agree, disagree, or partly agree. Here are some examples of each:

A thesis statement that agrees with the opinion :

Alternative medicine is not new. It is accepted that it pre-dates conventional medicine and it is still used by many people all over the world.  However, I strongly believe that this form of medicine does not work and is possibly a danger to those using it.

A thesis statement that disagrees with the opinion :

Alternative medicine is not new. It is accepted that it pre-dates conventional medicine and it is still used by many people all over the world.  I am unconvinced that it is dangerous, and feel that both alternative and conventional medicine can be useful.

A thesis statement that partly agrees with the opinion :

Alternative medicine is not new. It is accepted that it pre-dates conventional medicine and it is still used by many people all over the world.  I agree that for certain conditions this type of medicine is ineffective and could even be dangerous, but for some illnesses it is a good alternative choice.

These examples illustrate why it is important to ananlyze the question carefully and brainstorm your ideas first so you have a clear idea of what you will be writing and what your opinion is.

Other Essays

Some other essays may not ask you for your opinion specifically, but may ask you to discuss, for example, problems and solutions , causes and effects , advantages and disadvantages .

If you are asked to do this, then you should just clearly state that you will be discussing these two things in your essay. Here are some examples:

Problems and solutions:

Overpopulation of urban areas has led to numerous problems.

Identify one or two serious ones and suggest ways that governments and individuals can tackle these problems.

Sample thesis in bold:

Many countries of the world are currently experiencing problems caused by rapidly growing populations in urban areas. It  is critical to understand what these issues are and how both governments and individuals can overcome them.

Causes and Effects:

The percentage of overweight children in western society has increased by almost 20% in the last ten years.

Discuss the causes and effects of this disturbing trend.

Over the last ten years, Western societies have seen close to a 20% rise in the number of children who are overweight.  It is important to understand not only why this is happening but also the consequences of this worrying trend.

Advantages and Disadvantages

In order to solve traffic problems, governments should tax private car owners heavily and use the money to improve public transportation.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a solution?

Traffic congestion in many cities around the world is severe. One possible solution to this problem is to impose heavy taxes on car drivers and use this money to make public transport better.   These measures would have both benefits and drawbacks.

This lesson has provided you with some broad guidance on writing a thesis statement for different types of essay.

It is important to stress again though that questions can vary so you must always analyze if carefully and identify exactly what you need to do and what should therefore be in your thesis statement.

Remember, a thesis statement is just telling the reader what the focus of your essay is and giving your opinion if necessary.

Follow this link to see some examples of IELTS essay questions .

More Task 2 IELTS Lessons:

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

How to use brainstorming and planning to generate essay ideas.

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How to Identify the Topic of an IELTS Essay Question

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Tips on how to write an introduction for an IELTS essay introduction in a quick and easy way.

The 3 Types of IELTS Opinion Essays in IELTS

IELTS opinion essays in IELTS can be placed into three types. This lesson explains the different types and how to analyse these essay questions.

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IELTS Task Response - 25% of your essay grade

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IELTS Music Essay: Understanding a Complex Question

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Improving Writing Coherence for IELTS essays

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Using Pronouns to Improve IELTS Essay Coherency

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Transitional Phrases for Essays

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Can you use Personal Pronouns in Essays for IELTS?

Learn how to use personal pronouns in essays for IELTS correctly. Can you use "I", "we" and "you"?

Writing an IELTS Essay Conclusion

The IELTS essay conclusion is the final part of your IELTS essay. This lesson guides you on how to write a conclusion quickly but effectively.

How to Identify the Task in an IELTS Essay

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Generating ideas for IELTS essays for writing task 2 can be difficult but complex ideas are not expected.

Paragraph Writing for IELTS: Building strong arguments

This paragraph writing lesson provides tips on constructing the best paragraphs for your IELTS essay.

IELTS Advantage Disadvantage Essay Tips and Strategies

An advantage disadvantage essay is one type of essay that you may get in the test. This lesson shows how to write a pros cons essay.

IELTS Problem Solution Essay Strategies and Tips

In IELTS problem solution essays you have to discuss a particular issue and present ideas to solve that problem.

Tips on How to Score IELTS Band 8 in Writing and Speaking

To score IELTS Band 8 you need to understand exactly what is in the IELTS Band Descriptors for an 8 for writing and speaking first.

Using Substitution in IELTS to Improve Writing Coherency

You can use substitution in your IELTS essays in order to improve coherency and coherence.

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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.

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

Writing Process and Structure

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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

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.

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Pros and Cons of Thesis Statements

Arguments for:.

  • Announces and focuses purpose The thesis is a declaration of the primary argument to both the reader and the writer. It must condense the author’s views enough to be manageable, and this often helps writers focus on exactly what they are going to argue.
  • Dictates scope The structure and content of the thesis can help a writer control the size of the topic addressed in the paper. This is particularly useful when there is a page/word requirement, because it helps the author plan just how much they will be writing.
  • Forces an argument Writing a thesis requires the author to take a definite position on an issue, to have an opinion, which is required for a convincing argument.
  • Gives the piece an easily identifiable “soul” or central theme A thesis provides a written “center” to the paper which can be returned to and referenced in order to keep a coherent argument and stay on topic.
  • Easy pattern A thesis (particularly within the structure of a 5-paragraph essay) is an easy way of organizing thoughts for a paper.

Arguments Against:

  • Can restrict speculation on the topic A formal thesis will generally not work very well in a paper whose beginning purpose is to explore an issue rather than immediately take a position.
  • Allows for little creativity in the opening paragraph in particular A traditional thesis can seem out of place in an opening which relies primarily on a conversational tone or humor. While these are not typical characteristics of academic, analytical writing, they are still powerful tools for making an argument, and loss of those and similar options gives the writer less to work with.
  • Can encourage premature/shallow arguments While it’s not always so, writing a thesis at the beginning can tempt students into forcing or manipulating evidence in order to support it, rather than examining the evidence first and then drawing a defensible conclusion.
  • Thesis-focused assessment may overlook other qualities If the thesis is “standard,” readers may automatically conclude that if a piece does not have one, it cannot have an argument, and unjustly judge its merit.

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how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

How To Write An Advantages Or Disadvantages Essay

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

In writing task 2 you will be asked to write a discursive essay ( 250 words minimum ). You will be given a question asking you to give your opinion, and discuss a problem or issue. You could also be asked to provide solutions, evaluate a problem, compare and contrast different ideas or challenge an idea. In this post, we will be focusing on how to  write a advantages/disadvantages essay .

One of the first things you should do is read the marking criteria  to see what the examiners expect. This is really important, as you need to know what they are looking for in the band 7+ boxes. 

You should be able to give the examiners exactly what they want, in order to get a 7+ band score.

Do you want to learn how to write an advantage/disadvantage essay faster and score a higher band score? Download our 24 page PDF resource that is designed to help you prepare systematically for a 7+ band Score.

WRITING TASK 2 Advantages/Disadvantages STRUCTURE

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

The structure that I advise my students to use, will be sure to get you a band score of 7+. You need to practice using this structure, with as many questions as you can, before sitting your IELTS test. This writing task 2 structure has been proven to be successful for my students and when perfected, can easily help you to achieve a high band score. 

TIP >>  Before you start writing, plan your ideas so that you can organise the information clearly. You must decide what the main advantages and disadvantages are. Take 5 minutes and plan out your ideas, opinions and examples. 

TIP >>  It is very important that spend a full 40 minutes on this task as the score you get for writing task 2 is two-thirds of your total writing score. You also need to write a minimum of 250 words and use your own ideas. 

TIP >>  Remember to write in a formal tone, this is an academic essay, therefore your writing should be formal. 

This is one possible way to structure your essay;

4-PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE >>

Paragraph 1 – The Introduction

This is the introduction to the essay and where you should start off by paraphrasing the question. 

Do you understand what I mean, when I say ‘paraphrase’ the question?

This means that you rewrite the question in your own words using synonyms. You can’t just copy the question again or use the same words in the question. Paraphrase and show off your vocabulary knowledge by using synonyms. When practising your essay writing, use an online thesaurus  to help you. This is a great tool and can help you to learn many new words.

Then your next sentence should introduce the essay, this will tell   the examiner exactly what you will discuss in the main body paragraphs. For example, Firstly this essay will discuss……… Secondly, this essay will discuss…….

There are two sentences you need in the introduction >>

Paraphrase the question

Introduce the specific advantages/disadvantages that will be discussed in the main body paragraphs.

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

Paragraph 2 – Main Body Paragraph 1

In this paragraph, you should describe the main advantage.

Start the paragraph by introducing the main advantage. This is where you need to have a topic sentence. The next sentence(s) should explain, going into detail. The third sentence should give an example that supports the advantage.

The example you give could be something from your own experience or made up – it is ok to make up something as the examiners will not fact check your information. They want to see your ability to use English at a certain level. You could make up an example from a report, journal, newspaper or University study. 

This is how the paragraph should look >>

  • Introduce the advantage (topic sentence)
  • Explain/give detail

Paragraph 3 –  Main Body Paragraph 2

In this paragraph, you should write about the main disadvantage.

Start the paragraph by introducing the disadvantage. This is where you need to have a topic sentence. The next sentence(s) should explain, going into detail. The third sentence should give an example.

The example you give could be something from your own experience or made up – it is ok to make up something as the examiners will not fact check your information. They want to see your ability to use English at a certain level. You could make up an example from a report, journal, newspaper or University study. 

This is how the paragraph should look >>

  • Introduce the disadvantage (topic sentence)

Paragraph 4 – The Conclusion

In the fourth paragraph, you write the conclusion giving a summary of your main points  and say what you think were the most important pros and cons. You should not enter any new information or ideas in this paragraph. 

You can end your conclusion with a balancing statement that tells the reader why one side is better than the other. For example, using words like outweigh, balance out, compensate for, exceed and make up for. 

  • Summary of the main points
  • What you think were the most important pros and cons?

Another possible way to structure your advantage/disadvantage essay is this;

You may want to add paragraphs to explain further advantages or disadvantages, but there should be only one main idea in each main body paragraph. Don’t list all of your advantages/disadvantages in one paragraph.

  • Introduction
  • Paragraph 1 – Describe an advantage
  • Paragraph 2 – Describe an advantage
  • Paragraph 3 – Describe a disadvantage

TIP >> If the question asks you if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of something then your essay structure will change slightly. You should make sure you write about how one side is better than the other. You will also have to include this in your introduction. The side that you think outweighs the other should be written about first in main body paragraph 1. Followed by main body paragraph 2 – the more fragile argument. 

TIP >> If the question asks you to write about advantages/disadvantages and give your opinion, then y

You need to add an extra paragraph that clearly states your opinion. You would also need to write about your opinion in the introduction.

SAMPLE Advantages/Disadvantages ESSAY >>

**All questions have been reported by students who have taken the IELTS exam.**

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

There is an ongoing debate on the merits of having a rigid discipline system in place for all crimes committed. This essay will firstly discuss, how having fixed punishments could lead to a more competent judiciary system as the biggest advantage. Secondly, this essay will discuss how this may lead to people being punished in the same way for both minor and major crimes as the primary disadvantage.

On the one hand, the main advantage of having a standardised punishment system could lead to a downward trend in crime, as the system would serve as a deterrent. This would allow the courts to easily hand out justice to all criminals, in order to make the judiciary system more powerful. For example, in some states in the USA, there are tough sanctions in place for criminals, including death by lethal injection. In 2014, the New York Times reported that up to 65% of criminals who were incarcerated for high-level crimes (murder, manslaughter) received the lethal injection.

On the other hand, the primary disadvantage of having fixed punishments is that people who have committed low-level crimes may also be given harsh sentences, in the same way as those who have been sentenced for high-level crimes. This may make the system unjust, as the punishment should befit the crime. For instance, a person who may have acted in self defence, should have their case heard in full, before being given a punishment befitting of someone who has been part of a violent act.

In conclusion, fixed punishment offers an interesting choice for effective crime deterrence and a faster judicial process.  However, its inherent flaw in generalising all crime without carefully considering mitigating circumstances would compromise the very essence of justice and should warrant a closer study before fully implementing it to any modern judicial system.

(Word Count = 302 / Band Score 9)

Feedback

  • Task Achievement  – The answer provides a paraphrased question, to begin with, followed by stating an advantage and a disadvantage. Both the advantages/disadvantages are fully supported in the main body paragraphs in the essay, with fully extended and well-supported ideas. the style of the writing is appropriate for an academic essay.
  • Coherence and Cohesion  – The answer has been divided into clear logical paragraphs and each main body paragraph only has one main idea. There are cohesive links between the main body paragraphs and between most sentences. Examples are highlighted with discourse markers like –  for example,  and for instance . 
  • Lexical Resource  – There is evidence of a wide range of vocabulary, with no errors in the text.
  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy  – The answer has no grammatical errors. The sentences have a wide range of structures. 

TIP >>  Remember to give both an advantage and a disadvantage. Use each of the main body paragraphs to support your ideas, giving examples that are relevant. In the conclusion, this is where you summarise your main points.

WRITING TASK 2 BAND SCORE 9 CRITERIA >>

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

If you would like to view more high band score advantages or disadvantage   essay examples please click here .

Advantage Disadvantage Essay Sample

Transport Work Environment Transportation Communications Additional Advantage/Disadvantage Essay Practise Questions

We hope you found this post useful in helping you to study for the IELTS Test . If you have any questions please let us know in the comments below or on the Facebook page.

The best way to keep up to date with posts like this is to like us on Facebook , then follow us on Instagram and Pinterest . If you need help preparing for the IELTS Test, join the IELTS Achieve Academy and see how we can assist you to achieve your desired band score. We offer an essay correction service, mock exams and online courses.

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The Classroom | Empowering Students in Their College Journey

How to Write an Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

Erin Martise

Why Write An Advantages and Disadvantages Essay?

Tips for writing an advantage and disadvantage essay:, how to write an advantages and disadvantages essay:, why this essay is important:, the ielts exam:, other ways to say "advantages and disadvantages", what you will be evaluated on.

There are many different types of essays that students will be expected to write throughout their academic career. The same goes for students that are learning English as a second language or foreign language.

  • Teachers assign certain essays to students because they feel it gives the student a chance to practice their writing skills to the fullest, while it gives teachers a great medium through which they can evaluate their students' learning.

Out of all the different essays that are possible for a teacher to assign, one that serves both native English speakers and English learners well is an ​ advantages and disadvantages essay ​.

  • With this essay writing process there can be advantages to essay writing and disadvantages of essay writing for different levels of writers with different experience and knowledge on the whole process.

Advantages of Essay Writing:

While essay writing can have its difficulties, it also shows certain advantages to the writer. Here are some possible advantages of essay writing:

  • It allows for critical thinking
  • It pushed writers to make different arguments
  • Writers learn to observe different perspectives and topic points

Disadvantages of Essay Writing:

Essay writing can also be a daunting task. Here are some possible disadvantages of essay writing:

  • Writers need to have a clear organizational plan
  • Structure and placement are essential to the flow of the essay's points and topics
  • Writers will need to have a clear conclusion and thesis statement outlining the entire essay's topics and thoughts

1. Understand an Advantage and Disadvantage

Before you can write an advantages and disadvantages essay, you must first understand what these two words mean.

  • Native English speakers are likely already familiar with these definitions, however, students in primary school may need some explanation.
  • Your teacher should explain what an advantage is and what a disadvantage is by giving an example that's age-appropriate and level-appropriate.

For example:

Younger students may understand an example like,​ "An advantage of doing my homework when I get home from school is that I have the entire evening to play. A disadvantage is that I cannot watch my favorite show as soon as I get home from school." ​

After this, the teacher can give less explicit examples and see if students can come up with some ideas on their own.

College students should already have experience with this kind of essay and they will, therefore, get a much more complicated question that requires research, planning and thought.

  • In addition to this, English learners who are university students should also be given an example by their teacher that's appropriate for their age and level.

For instance:

International students might respond well to something like "What's an advantage and disadvantage of studying abroad during college?"

It's also a good idea to look up synonyms of "advantages and disadvantages" to have the best understanding of the term possible.

"Pros and cons" is quite similar and might be easier for some students to digest since it's a term they've most likely heard before.

2. Think About Advantages and Disadvantages in Your Own Life

A great exercise to help you prepare yourself for writing an advantages and disadvantages essay is to think about your own experiences with the topic.

  • Think of a time you wanted to make a decision about something, but you had voices in your head telling you to do the opposite.
  • Or you had a discussion with your parents and they were trying to convince you to do things differently.
  • Whatever it was, there's a chance that you had to write your own version of an advantages and disadvantages essay in your mind, without even realizing it.
  • This will not only help you to get in the right mindset for writing this essay, but it will maybe even inspire you to choose a topic that you've already had personal experience with.
  • Of course, anything you've had personal experience with is a good place to start.

3. Choose a Topic

If you weren't able to think of any intriguing topics to write about in your walk down memory lane, you'll have to look elsewhere to find something else to base your essay on.

  • There are tons of places you can go online
  • You can take the time to visit the library to find ideas about advantages and disadvantages topics
  • You can also talk to your family and friends to see if they have any ideas that are worth writing about
  • It will also, of course, be easier to write your essay overall.

That being said, there will also be instances in which you won't be able to choose your topic.

  • Advantages and disadvantages writing prompts are very common on English exams.
  • This has both its own advantages and disadvantages to it.
  • An advantage is that you don't have to think of a topic yourself.
  • But a disadvantage is that if you're not familiar with the topic given or you're unsure about what it's asking, it can be difficult to write a strong advantages and disadvantages essay that will get you the points you need on the test.

3.1 List of Example Topics

Unless you're given the topic directly on your test, you will otherwise have to think of your own topic, especially if it's just for a regular assignment. Luckily, there are many topic examples out there you can use to help you get started, or that will at least help you find inspiration for a similar topic:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom?
  • Many people are able to work online and can, therefore, live anywhere. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a home instead of renting one?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning a car?
  • E-readers have become extremely popular in recent years. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
  • Many products you use are imported from other countries. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?
  • Today, recent graduates are choosing to live at home. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this?

4. Brainstorm Advantages vs. Disadvantages

Once you've decided on a topic that intrigues you, or you know what topic you're being assigned on your exam, it's time to get down the meat of the essay, which is the actual advantages and disadvantages you'll need to write about.

  • The best and easiest way to do this is by simply folding a paper in half vertically, or creating a box with two side-by-side sections.
  • Label one as "advantages" and the other as "disadvantages" and write all the ideas that come to mind beneath each section.
  • You should then add some details and examples under each idea, and ideally, you should decide on which advantages and disadvantages are the most crucial to your argument.

5. Choose a Side

Although an advantages and disadvantages essay should be rather unbiased, it's okay to be leaning toward one side more so than the other.

  • This will help you to gain more perspective when writing your essay, and also leave the reader with your own thoughts in your conclusion.
  • However, sometimes your teacher will request that you completely leave your own opinions out of the essay.
  • Therefore, just be sure of what's required on the assignment because every teacher and every class is different.

The next thing you will need to do is outline your essay and eventually write it.

  • What will need to be included in your essay will be different depending on your level.
  • For instance, young students may only be required to have two body paragraphs, whereas college students will be required to have more than that unless it's a short answer response.
  • Nevertheless, there is ultimately a widely accepted standard when it comes to writing an advantages and disadvantages essay:
  • ​ Introduction: ​ Paraphrase the question/topic and briefly mention some of the advantages and disadvantages you will discuss in the paper.
  • ​ Body Paragraph One: ​ Introduce the main advantage. Give supporting details and examples.
  • ​ Body Paragraph Two: ​ Introduce the main disadvantage. Give supporting details and examples.
  • ​ Conclusion: ​ Re-iterate the topic question. Summarize the main points and if applicable, say whether you think there are more advantages or disadvantages.

For your outline, you can create headlines and write what you plan on saying beneath each one.

  • If you have to write more body paragraphs, do the same.
  • When it comes time to write the essay, drag your points from your outline to your paper, and make sure you use transitions in order to connect each point together.

Knowing how to write an advantages and disadvantages essay is part of perfecting your skills in English proficiency.

  • People need to understand how to think about the advantages and disadvantages of the choices they make in life every day.
  • Learning how to write an essay like this will help you feel calmer when making important decisions.
  • This type of work is one of the best ways to really practice writing a solid essay
  • This will help you out in your future when your assignments are more difficult

For students studying English as an international language, at some point, it's very likely that you'll have to take the IELTS exam.

  • The IELTS exam, or the International English Language Testing System exam, is required for people of non-English speaking countries that want to study or work in a country where English is the main language for communication.

For Instance:

A student who's from a country where English is not the native language will have to pass this test in order to get accepted into a U.K. university or universities in other English-speaking countries that require the same test.

Although you'll be writing an advantages and disadvantages essay, you'll want to try and find other vocabulary words to describe this.

There are plenty of other ways to say "advantages and disadvantages," and it's a good idea if you can use these other terms as much as possible in your essay in order to add some variety:

  • Pros and cons
  • Benefits and drawbacks
  • Nice parts and not-so-nice parts
  • Good and bad aspects
  • Pluses and Minuses
  • This outweighs this

Hopefully, you had no problem with writing your advantages and disadvantages essay, and you won't be too worried as you wait for your grade.

  • This in itself is a major advantage of essay writing because you can get feedback on how you're progressing as a student.
  • Teachers will have different criteria for grading different students, and this all depends on a lot of different factors.
  • For instance, English language learners will be graded on their use of vocabulary, their grammatical accuracy and the coherence and cohesion between the paragraphs.
  • Therefore, it's a good idea to brush up on these things and ask your teacher if you need any clarification on any aspect of the essay.

If you aren't an English language learner, then there are many different reasons you'd be required to write an advantages and disadvantages essay.

  • Because of this, your evaluation will be unique in many ways, too.
  • In the case of younger students who are just learning how to exercise their writing muscles, teachers may grade a bit more generously, but will really be checking for how well the students have followed directions, made their points and worked their way through the writing process.
  • It's also important to keep in mind that while most advantages and disadvantages essays can be written based on experience and common knowledge, college students may really have to do some research to support the content in their essay.

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How to Write a Solid Thesis Statement

The important sentence expresses your central assertion or argument

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  • 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

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Tips on writing a thesis statement: composing compelling thesis statements.

College-level courses demand a solid grasp of writing concepts, and some students arrive at Intro to Composition unprepared to write a high-quality essay. Teachers tend to give a bit more slack at the high school level, but college professors are often much more exacting. That’s why excellent writing skills are crucial to the majority of college courses — even outside the English department. 

One of the most important elements to master is the thesis statement. A strong thesis statement is at the root of all writing, from op-eds to research papers. It’s an essential element of any persuasive piece; something we look for without even thinking about it. A convincing, attention-grabbing thesis statement keeps the reader engaged — and lets them know where the piece is headed. 

Having a few tips and tricks in your toolbox can help you to make a convincing academic argument every time.

What is a Thesis Statement?

First, the basics. A thesis statement is a sentence or two that states the main idea of a writing assignment. It also helps to control the ideas presented within the paper. However, it is not merely a topic. It often reflects a claim or judgment that a writer has made about a reading or personal experience. For instance: Tocqueville believed that the domestic role most women held in America was the role that gave them the most power, an idea that many would hotly dispute today. 

Every assignment has a question or prompt. It’s important that your thesis statement answers the question. For the above thesis statement, the question being answered might be something like this: Why was Tocqueville wrong about women? If your thesis statement doesn’t answer a question, you’ll need to rework your statement.

Where Will I Use Thesis Statements?

Writing an exceptional thesis statement is a skill you’ll need both now and in the future, so you’ll want to be confident in your ability to create a great one. Whether in academic, professional, or personal writing, a strong thesis statement enhances the clarity, effectiveness, and impact of the overall message. Here are some real-world examples that demonstrate the importance of composing an outstanding thesis statement:

  • Academic writing. The success of academic research papers depends on an exceptional thesis statement. Along with establishing the focus of the paper, it also provides you with direction in terms of research. The thesis sets a clear intention for your essay, helping the reader understand the argument you’re presenting and why the evidence and analysis support it.
  • Persuasive writing. Persuasive writing depends on an excellent thesis statement that clearly defines the author’s position. Your goal is to persuade the audience to agree with your thesis. Setting an explicit stance also provides you with a foundation on which to build convincing arguments with relevant evidence.
  • Professional writing. In the business and marketing world, a sound thesis statement is required to communicate a project’s purpose. Thesis statements not only outline a project’s unique goals but can also guide the marketing team in creating targeted promotional strategies.

Where Do Thesis Statements Go? 

A good practice is to put the thesis statement at the end of your introduction so you can use it to lead into the body of your paper. This allows you, as the writer, to lead up to the thesis statement instead of diving directly into the topic. Placing your thesis here also sets you up for a brief mention of the evidence you have to support your thesis, allowing readers a preview of what’s to come.

A good introduction conceptualizes and anticipates the thesis statement, so ending your intro with your thesis makes the most sense. If you place the thesis statement at the beginning, your reader may forget or be confused about the main idea by the time they reach the end of the introduction. 

What Makes a Strong Thesis Statement?

A quality thesis statement is designed to both inform and compel. Your thesis acts as an introduction to the argument you’ll be making in your paper, and it also acts as the “hook”. Your thesis should be clear and concise, and you should be ready with enough evidence to support your argument. 

There are several qualities that make for a powerful thesis statement, and drafting a great one means considering all of them: 

A strong thesis makes a clear argument .

A thesis statement is not intended to be a statement of fact, nor should it be an opinion statement. Making an observation is not sufficient — you should provide the reader with a clear argument that cohesively summarizes the intention of your paper.

Originality is important when possible, but stick with your own convictions. Taking your paper in an already agreed-upon direction doesn’t necessarily make for compelling reading. Writing a thesis statement that presents a unique argument opens up the opportunity to discuss an issue in a new way and helps readers to get a new perspective on the topic in question. Again, don’t force it. You’ll have a harder time trying to support an argument you don’t believe yourself.

A strong thesis statement gives direction .

If you lack a specific direction for your paper, you’ll likely find it difficult to make a solid argument for anything. Your thesis statement should state precisely what your paper will be about, as a statement that’s overly general or makes more than one main point can confuse your audience. 

A specific thesis statement also helps you focus your argument — you should be able to discuss your thesis thoroughly in the allotted word count. A thesis that’s too broad won’t allow you to make a strong case for anything.

A strong thesis statement provides proof.

Since thesis statements present an argument, they require support. All paragraphs of the essay should explain, support, or argue with your thesis. You should support your thesis statement with detailed evidence that will interest your readers and motivate them to continue reading the paper.

Sometimes it is useful to mention your supporting points in your thesis. An example of this could be: John Updike's Trust Me is a valuable novel for a college syllabus because it allows the reader to become familiar with his writing and provides themes that are easily connected to other works. In the body of your paper, you could write a paragraph or two about each supporting idea. If you write a thesis statement like this, it will often help you to keep control of your ideas.

A strong thesis statement prompts discussion .

Your thesis statement should stimulate the reader to continue reading your paper. Many writers choose to illustrate that the chosen topic is controversial in one way or another, which is an effective way to pull in readers who might agree with you and those who don’t! 

The ultimate point of a thesis statement is to spark interest in your argument. This is your chance to grab (and keep) your reader’s attention, and hopefully, inspire them to continue learning about the topic.

Testing Your Thesis Statement

Because your thesis statement is vital to the quality of your paper, you need to ensure that your thesis statement posits a cohesive argument. Once you’ve come up with a working thesis statement, ask yourself these questions to further refine your statement: 

  • Is it interesting ? If your thesis is dull, consider clarifying your argument or revising it to make a connection to a relatable issue. Again, your thesis statement should draw the reader into the paper.
  • Is it specific enough ? If your thesis statement is too broad, you won’t be able to make a persuasive argument. If your thesis contains words like “positive” or “effective”, narrow it down. Tell the reader why something is “positive”. What in particular makes something “effective”?
  • Does it answer the question ? Review the prompt or question once you’ve written your working thesis and be sure that your thesis statement directly addresses the given question.
  • Does my paper successfully support my thesis statement ? If you find that your thesis statement and the body of your paper don’t mesh well, you’re going to have to change one of them. But don’t worry too much if this is the case — writing is intended to be revised and reworked.
  • Does my thesis statement present the reader with a new perspective? Is it a fresh take on an old idea? Will my reader learn something from my paper? If your thesis statement has already been widely discussed, consider if there’s a fresh angle to take before settling.
  • Finally, am I happy with my thesis ? If not, you may have difficulty writing your paper. Composing an essay about an argument you don’t believe in can be more difficult than taking a stand for something you believe in.

Quick Tips for Writing Thesis Statements

If you’re struggling to come up with a thesis statement, here are a few tips you can use to help:

  • Know the topic. The topic should be something you know or can learn about. It is difficult to write a thesis statement, let alone a paper, on a topic that you know nothing about. Reflecting on personal experience and/or researching your thesis topic thoroughly will help you present more convincing information about your statement.
  • Brainstorm. If you are having trouble beginning your paper or writing your thesis, take a piece of paper and write down everything that comes to mind about your topic. Did you discover any new ideas or connections? Can you separate any of the things you jotted down into categories? Do you notice any themes? Think about using ideas generated during this process to shape your thesis statement and your paper.
  • Phrase the topic as a question. If your topic is presented as a statement, rephrasing it as a question can make it easier to develop a thesis statement.
  • Limit your topic. Based on what you know and the required length of your final paper, limit your topic to a specific area. A broad scope will generally require a longer paper, while a narrow scope can be sufficiently proven by a shorter paper.

Writing Thesis Statements: Final Thoughts

The ability to compose a strong thesis statement is a skill you’ll use over and over again during your college days and beyond. Compelling persuasive writing is important, whether you’re writing an academic essay or putting together a professional pitch. 

If your thesis statement-writing skills aren’t already strong, be sure to practice before diving into college-level courses that will test your skills. If you’re currently looking into colleges, Gustavus Adolphus offers you the opportunity to refine your writing skills in our English courses and degree program . Explore Gustavus Adolphus’ undergraduate majors here .

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IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essays 2024 – Samples, Model Essays and Topics

Janet

Updated On Feb 05, 2024

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

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IELTS Advantages and Disadvantages Essays 2024 – Samples, Model Essays and Topics

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In the writing task 2 advantage and disadvantages essay of IELTS, you will be asked to write the benefits and drawbacks of the topic given. Here, you have to be careful that you write the advantages and disadvantages of the topic given and NOT your opinion about the topic!

While explaining these kinds of essays, you can divide the content into 2 paragraphs.Paragraph 1 for Positive points and Paragraph 2 for negative points.

To help you understand this advantage and disadvantages essay of IELTS better, given below are some tips and a sample essay with a detailed outline. Along with this, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages of essays to help you practise during your preparation.

Tips to Crack Writing Task 2 Advantage and Disadvantages Essay of IELTS

Given below are some points which you can refer to master this question type!

  • When the topic statement is given, you need to spend at least 5-10 minutes in understanding the benefits and the drawbacks related to the topic.
  • Make sure that you have relevant points, supporting the topic. Do not deviate from the topic.
  • Make sure whatever you write is structured.
  • Put the advantages of the topic in one paragraph and the disadvantages in a separate paragraph.

Structure of an Advantage and Disadvantages Essay of IELTS 

The IELTS Writing Task 2 is considered one of the most dreaded tasks among all other tasks by IELTS aspirants. This task requires writing an essay encompassing various topics from all walks of life, from social issues to workplace issues. These essays are of various types, including opinion essays, discussion essays, advantage-disadvantage essays, etc.

Now, we will see the structure of advantage disadvantage essays and what should be the approach of writing one!

Introduction

Now, the first thing that you have to do is to write an introduction. Your introduction should paraphrase the topic of the essay and try to use different vocabulary/synonyms for the words in the topic, wherever possible.

Then, give a brief idea about what could be expected in the essay, i.e. the advantages and the disadvantages of the concerned topic and state which side you think weighs the most (when asked for an opinion.)

Body paragraphs

Body paragraph 1:  This should state the advantages of the topic. This should be backed by practical points, and the examples would be even better. Day-to-day incidents and instances can be brought to notice.

Body paragraph 2:  This should state the disadvantages of the topic. This as well, should be supported by valid points, and the daily incidents and examples can be highlighted to back your points.

Conclusion:  Conclude the topic by providing a summary of the points put forth in the entire essay and how the advantages or disadvantages of the topic outweigh the other (if applicable).

Wondering the Trick to Score a Band 8 in Writing Task 2?  Know the Secret!

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Advantages and Disadvantages IELTS Essay Questions and Sample Answers

Given below are some sample questions for the advantages and disadvantages type of essay and band 9 methodologies of answering them.

Sample Question 1

More and more students are choosing to study at colleges and universities in a foreign country. Do the benefits of studying abroad outweigh the drawbacks?

Given below is a brief outline of what to write in the essay after identifying the essay type.

Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

  • Paraphrase the topic of the essay
  • Mention the contents of the subsequent paragraphs

Body Paragraph 1

  • Foreign education has various advantages like better educational facilities, gaining valuable experience and international exposure. Studying abroad also opens up several high paying employment opportunities.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Travelling abroad for educational purposes also has some disadvantages like increased tuition fees and living expenses. Other disadvantages include learning to live in a foreign society and prolonged periods of time away from home.
  • Summarize the essay and mention the final view on the topic.

Sample Answer

Foreign education has become one of the most sought-after ventures in this day and age. A majority of students plan on pursuing higher education in a foreign nation, especially when it comes to a master’s degree. One of the reasons why studying abroad has become such a popular phenomenon is the relaxation of travel laws and procedures across the world. However, there are pros and cons to studying abroad and the following paragraphs, will explore the topic and elaborate on why the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

One of the primary reasons for studying abroad is the presence of a more refined and sophisticated education system in several first-world countries. It is common for students from underdeveloped or developing countries like Brazil, China, India, Argentina and other countries to look for better opportunities than the ones available in their native country in terms of academics. Also, residing in a foreign country helps individuals to gain international exposure and also helps them develop social and interpersonal skills, which are extremely important for being eligible for lucrative job opportunities..

Nevertheless, there are numerous drawbacks to travelling abroad for education. First of all, from the beginning of applying to a foreign university to staying in the host country for the entire duration of your degree, it is an exorbitant affair. Such a costly endeavour is often unaffordable for the household of many people. That being said, becoming accustomed to the norms and conventions of an unfamiliar country can be a tough ordeal for many due to differences in culture and social traditions.

Finally, I would like to conclude by saying that foreign education can be a blessing if it is financially feasible for aspiring students. That being said, the benefits of studying abroad surpass the drawbacks for the same.

Sample Question 2

What are the advantages and disadvantages of globalization? Do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?

  • Paraphrase the essay topic using synonyms for the words used in the question.
  • Mention the contents of the following paragraphs.
  • Globalisation has led to a lot of positive changes, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries. There has been an increase in employment opportunities, products and services are easily available to people around the world.
  • Globalisation also has various disadvantages like the exploitation of cheap labour from developing countries and also the decline in quality of products and services.
  • Summarize the topic and state the final view.

Globalisation has been one of the most significant phenomena in the last few decades, and it has changed several aspects of human society both economically and socially. There has been remarkable progress in terms of economic and financial development for developing countries due to the expansion of global organizations. However, there are several drawbacks to this rapid progress that need to be addressed. Evidently, globalization has more advantages than disadvantages and the following paragraphs, will elaborate on the topic and justify these views.

First of all, the most advantageous aspect of globalization is the advent of numerous international companies and franchises in developing countries. Ever since global brands and corporations have expanded their operations in countries such as India, China, Sri Lanka and many more, there has been a notable increase in employment in these countries. Additionally, due to the remarkable rise in the number of imports and exports, people from third world countries now have access to a vast catalogue of products and services that were previously unattainable.

That being said, there are drawbacks to globalization that create concerning issues for a sizeable portion of the global population. One of the most disturbing consequences faced is the exploitation of labour. Many corporations are known to outsource their operations to developing countries due to cheap labour costs. This enables them to accomplish their manufacturing operations without having to provide proper remuneration. Also, due to the use of inexpensive labour, the quality of products is diminished, and customers receive inferior products.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that the effects of globalization are not entirely positive or negative. Nonetheless, the benefits brought by this occupation outweigh the drawbacks.

Bonus Advantages and Disadvantages IELTS Essay Topics

  • Is it good for children to start using computers from an early age and spend long hours on them? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages.
  • What are the pros and cons for children of watching television? Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant example from your knowledge or experience.
  • The internet has brought about many changes into our day-to-day life. Nowadays we are doing things such as mailing, contacting, banking and communication much faster. Do these developments have more advantages than disadvantages?
  • The development of tourism contributed to English becoming the most prominent language in the world. Some people think this will lead to English becoming the only language to be spoken globally. What are the advantages and disadvantages to having one language in the world?
  • At the present time, the population of some countries includes a relatively large number of young adults, compared with the number of older people. Do the advantages of this situation outweigh the disadvantages?
  • These days, many people have their own computer and telephone, so it is quite easy for them to do their job at home. Does working at home have more advantages or more disadvantages?
  • A lot of places in the world rely on tourism as a main source of income. Unfortunately, tourism can also be a source of problems if it is not managed correctly. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of tourism in the modern world. Do you think that benefits of tourism outweigh its drawbacks?
  • Tests and examinations are a central feature of school systems in many countries. Do you think the educational benefits of testing outweigh any disadvantages. Give reasons for your answer.
  • What do you think are the strengths and weakness of the education system in your country. Use your own experience to support your idea.
  • In the last decade, there has been a great increase in the number and variety of online courses available to adults. This has been welcomed as a great opportunity by many students, however, other students see these courses as less effective than classroom teaching. What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying an online course?
  • Some parents buy their children a large number of toys to play with. What are the advantages and disadvantages for the child of having a large number of toys?
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones in our daily lives.
  • In some countries, more and more adults are living with their parents after graduating from college , University or even after finding a job. Do the advantages of this outweigh disadvantages?
  • Every year large numbers of people migrate from one country to another for different reasons. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of migration for the individual and for society as a whole.
  • Nowadays online shopping becomes more popular than in-store shopping. Is it a positive or a negative development? Give your reasons and examples.
  • Describe the advantages and disadvantages of living in a large city.
  • Some companies and organizations require their employees to wear uniform. What are the advantages and disadvantages of wearing uniform?

Do you have an essay on any of these topics? Post yours in the comment section so that, One of our expert IELTS trainers can evaluate it and reply!

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More Related Advantage Disadvantage IELTS Essay Writing Topics:

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an advantage/disadvantage essay? How do you identify that the essay falls under this category?

What is the structure of an advantage/disadvantage essay?

Is it mandatory to put advantages and disadvantages separately in two paragraphs or can I club them?

In case of questions where advantages outweigh disadvantages, I might have to write disadvantages first? Will it affect my score?

In the conclusion part of the advantage/disadvantage essay, is it ok to support one side?

Practice IELTS Writing Task 2 based on Essay types

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Janet

Janet had been an IELTS Trainer before she dived into the field of Content Writing. During her days of being a Trainer, Janet had written essays and sample answers which got her students an 8+ band in the IELTS Test. Her contributions to our articles have been engaging and simple to help the students understand and grasp the information with ease. Janet, born and brought up in California, had no idea about the IELTS until she moved to study in Canada. Her peers leaned to her for help as her first language was English.

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Post your Comments

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

Ashlin Devi

Posted on Oct 5, 2023

Nowdays, technologies are in high demand. People are possessed with their own computers and cell phones, so it is quite easy for them to do their job at home. Even though it is acknowledged with several points that working from home is quite easier, the essay will argue that the drawbacks of working from home will outweigh its strength. The main disadvantages are ineffective communication and the relationship amongst people becoming distant. First of all, people need internet to communicate. The internet connectivity is very poor at times, especially in the remote areas. Furthermore, during virtual meetings, discussion gets difficult due to connection issues where meeting is not worthwhile since no voice or no video. Moreover, working from home gives distance amongst people where you will not be able to have interact with colleague. Face-to-face discussion is very important where you get to work more effectively and efficiently. On the other hand, working from home is indeed benefit. People do not have to travel to reach work. The time which are spend on travelling, can be utilized on other activities such as house cores, leisure activities or even can work extra hours to meet the given deadline. Furthermore, people get flexibility in working hours, since there are no superior workers supervising employee. To conclude, there are some strengths on working from home but drawbacks overweigh strengths since working from home is not as easy task as people think since ineffective communication and people interaction is very important.

ria mahajan

ria mahajan

Posted on Oct 6, 2023

Overall Band 5.5 Main ideas are relevant, but some are insufficiently developed and lack clarity, while some supporting arguments and evidences are missing for the question.Simple vocabulary is used accurately but the range does not permit much variation in expression.A mix of simple and complex sentence forms is used but flexibility is limited. For detailed analysis,you can avail a Free trial class Find the link below: https://ieltsmaterial.com/signup-1/ or you may reach out to us: +91 8929053019

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

Posted on May 29, 2022

Nowadays, studying abroad is a new trend among students. Undoubtedly, there are positive and negative aspects of studying in a foreign country. However, the benefits of attending colleges and universities in a foreign country outweigh the drawbacks. The next couple of paragraphs will explain the topic and justify these viewpoints.

To begin with, studying abroad has several advantages for students. For instance, a student who is studying in a foreign country will probably improve language skills better than others. Learning a foreign language is extremely significant in a global environment. Moreover, living outside of a home country will enhance students’ worldview thanks to the culture of the host country. Therefore, it can be said that studying abroad paws the way for great career options.

However, there are undesired sides to education in a foreign state. One of them is education expenditure. Studying abroad might be expensive. Thus, it might lead to a huge economic burden for both student and his family. When a student moves to another country for education, he must face several challenges caused by living alone. For instance, some students might have some psychological problems during the first couple of weeks following their move. It can be claimed that being homesick is a common problem among young students.

In conclusion, having a graduate degree from a foreign country has both negative and positive sides. Although there are significant advantages, the benefits of studying abroad surpass the drawbacks for the same.

kasturika

Posted on May 30, 2022

Band Score – 6

Concentrate on the correct usage of quantifiers and subject-verb agreement.

In some places words are used incorrectly, pay attention to them.

Use C2 level of words.

how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

Purnima Koli

Posted on Oct 25, 2021

Parents tend to give the children better resources as compared to their own childhood. This way they also feel compensated in the process while bringing up their own child. While having a huge collection of toys to play with is not all that bad, at the same time can lead to some issues.

Firstly, having a diversity in the range of toys have multiple benefits. The child can learn how to manage or organize better. Varied exposure to different themes of toys makes one more aware.

Secondly, sharing can also develop social skills among the child’s friend circle. To get hands-on-experience with toys such as Rubix’s cube, puzzles hone mental capacity of the kid. Similarly, educational and infotainment toys help shape likes and dislikes, opinions, communication skills. Thus, caters to holistic development which is often a cause of worry for parents.

On the other hand, if the child is given more and more, this may result in losing the value of individual toy. Not only is this expenditure wasteful but also teaching consumerist tendencies to the child. Perhaps unconsciously the child stops valuing his toys and takes them for granted in desire for more.

To have enough needs to be inculcated rather than frivolous costs being incurred. The parents need to be also mindful of teaching holistic habits like outdoor games, reading, painting apart from playing with toys for all round development.

Having many toys is also burdensome when it comes to maintenance. If that could be sorted then it’s much easier to assemble and play as per the child’s convenience. Gifting once in a while is a good option to keep the spirits of the child happy.

Hp

Posted on Nov 13, 2021

If you would have presented this same as a 4 paragraph structure and added the conclusion you would have score 7 easily.

Janice Thompson

Overall band: 5

Coherence: It is better to follow a 4 paragraph structure so that it is easy for the examiner to mark you for coherence. Conclusion is missing in your essay. Conclusion is where you sum up and restate points.

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Doing an Enjoyable Activity with a Child Can Develop Better Skills and More Creativity Than Reading – IELTS Writing Task 2

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On Thesis Statements

The thesis statement.

This is not an exhaustive list of bad thesis statements, but here're five kinds of problems I've seen most often. Notice that the last two, #4 and #5, are not necessarily incorrect or illegitimate thesis statements, but, rather, inappropriate for the purposes of this course. They may be useful forms for papers on different topics in other courses.

A thesis takes a position on an issue. It is different from a topic sentence in that a thesis statement is not neutral. It announces, in addition to the topic, the argument you want to make or the point you want to prove. This is your own opinion that you intend to back up. This is your reason and motivation for writing.

Bad Thesis 1

Bad Thesis 2 : This paper will consider the advantages and disadvantages of certain restrictions on free speech.

Better Thesis 1 : Stanley Fish's argument that free speech exists more as a political prize than as a legal reality ignores the fact that even as a political prize it still serves the social end of creating a general cultural atmosphere of tolerance that may ultimately promote free speech in our nation just as effectively as any binding law.

Better Thesis 2 : Even though there may be considerable advantages to restricting hate speech, the possibility of chilling open dialogue on crucial racial issues is too great and too high a price to pay.

A thesis should be as specific as possible, and it should be tailored to reflect the scope of the paper. It is not possible, for instance, to write about the history of English literature in a 5 page paper. In addition to choosing simply a smaller topic, strategies to narrow a thesis include specifying a method or perspective or delineating certain limits.

Bad Thesis 2 : The government has the right to limit free speech.

Better Thesis 1 : There should be no restrictions on the 1st amendment if those restrictions are intended merely to protect individuals from unspecified or otherwise unquantifiable or unverifiable "emotional distress."

Better Thesis 2 : The government has the right to limit free speech in cases of overtly racist or sexist language because our failure to address such abuses would effectively suggest that our society condones such ignorant and hateful views.

A thesis must be arguable. And in order for it to be arguable, it must present a view that someone might reasonably contest. Sometimes a thesis ultimately says, "we should be good," or "bad things are bad." Such thesis statements are tautological or so universally accepted that there is no need to prove the point.

Bad Thesis 2 : There are always alternatives to using racist speech.

Better Thesis 1 : If we can accept that emotional injuries can be just as painful as physical ones we should limit speech that may hurt people's feelings in ways similar to the way we limit speech that may lead directly to bodily harm.

Better Thesis 2 : The "fighting words" exception to free speech is not legitimate because it wrongly considers speech as an action.

A good argumentative thesis provides not only a position on an issue, but also suggests the structure of the paper. The thesis should allow the reader to imagine and anticipate the flow of the paper, in which a sequence of points logically prove the essay's main assertion. A list essay provides no such structure, so that different points and paragraphs appear arbitrary with no logical connection to one another.

Bad Thesis 2 : None of the arguments in favor of regulating pornography are persuasive.

Better Thesis 1 : Among the many reasons we need to limit hate speech the most compelling ones all refer to our history of discrimination and prejudice, and it is, ultimately, for the purpose of trying to repair our troubled racial society that we need hate speech legislation.

Better Thesis 2 : None of the arguments in favor of regulating pornography are persuasive because they all base their points on the unverifiable and questionable assumption that the producers of pornography necessarily harbor ill will specifically to women.

In an other course this would not be at all unacceptable, and, in fact, possibly even desirable. But in this kind of course, a thesis statement that makes a factual claim that can be verified only with scientific, sociological, psychological or other kind of experimental evidence is not appropriate. You need to construct a thesis that you are prepared to prove using the tools you have available, without having to consult the world's leading expert on the issue to provide you with a definitive judgment.

Bad Thesis 2 : Hate speech can cause emotional pain and suffering in victims just as intense as physical battery.

Better Thesis 1 : Whether or not the cultural concept of free speech bears any relation to the reality of 1st amendment legislation and jurisprudence, its continuing social function as a promoter of tolerance and intellectual exchange trumps the call for politicization (according to Fish's agenda) of the term.

Better Thesis 2 : The various arguments against the regulation of hate speech depend on the unspoken and unexamined assumption that emotional pain is either trivial.

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  • Comparing and contrasting in an essay | Tips & examples

Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.

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Table of contents

When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.

Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.

  • Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
  • Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.

One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.

Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.

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how to write thesis statement for advantages and disadvantages essay

As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.

For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.

This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.

Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.

Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.

Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.

When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.

The alternating method

In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:

Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.

One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.

The block method

In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:

  • Point of comparison A
  • Point of comparison B

The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.

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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

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    In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you're comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you've already said about the first. Your text is structured like this: Subject 1.

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