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More about thesis statement, what is a thesis statement .

In academic writing, a thesis statement is generally a sentence or two that summarizes the main point that an essay, research paper, or speech is making. It is typically located at the end of the introductory paragraph(s).

Thesis statements are kind of like roadmaps, laying out for the reader/listener where the writer/speaker is headed (argument) and how they are going to get there (evidence).

The thesis statement is widely taught in the humanities, especially in English classes in high school and college, to teach students how to make persuasive arguments that cite and analyze evidence and examples researched from literary, historical, or other texts.

Why is a thesis statement important in an essay?

Thesis comes from a Greek word that literally means “a setting down.” In the 300s BC, Aristotle defined thesis as when a philosopher puts forth a new idea that conflicts with general opinion.

Fast forward to today, when we use thesis to mean a “proposition” or “argument” one formally presents and defends. In academic settings, a thesis can be short for a thesis statement (our focus here) in an essay or shorter research paper. It can also be used for those much, much longer dissertations graduate students research, write, and defend for their degree (e.g., master’s thesis or doctoral thesis ).

Let’s look at statement real quick. It is a declaration or assertion. Sound redundant? The idea is that a thesis statement is the point in a paper or presentation that explicitly states the thesis. Usually in a sentence or two, the thesis statement summarizes the argument that’s going to be developed in the evidence and examples to come.

So, a thesis statement is just a sentence that gets the main point across. But, learning how to write these ain’t easy. That’s why educators, especially in English classes in high school and college, spend a lot of time teaching students how to craft effective thesis statements.

Why? Because in school, work, and life, we have to persuade people of our ideas and our point of view. These ideas might concern an analysis of literature or history, like a play by Shakespeare or a moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Or, these ideas might be a call to action, such as eating a certain diet or pursuing a business strategy.

How to write a thesis statement

There are many ways to make an effective thesis statement , but here are some general tips to follow.

So, let’s say you read a text, Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night , or researched a topic, the health benefits of kale. Then you formed an opinion about it—a claim you want to make about it and why others should care. You found evidence—quotes, examples, facts, statistics—in your resources that you think back up your argument. Your thesis statement brings all these together: point of view , evidence , and significance . It lays out where the entire paper or presentation is going, which is why educators often liken it to a roadmap .

Here’s an example:

Kale is good for you because it is nutrient-dense, cancer-fighting, and loaded with antioxidants.

The argument here—which a first-year high-schooler might make in a persuasive essay—is that “kale is good for you” (despite how some think it tastes). The claims it’s using to back up this assertion are that it’s 1) “nutrient-dense”; 2) “cancer-fighting”; and 3) “loaded with antioxidants.” The reader can expect that the rest of the essay will develop these claims, that is, cite and analyze evidence for them.

Here’s a thesis statement for a literary analysis of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. This resembles more of a college-level example:

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night suggests that, when women do not reciprocate a man’s love, they are unjustly made out to be sexually deviant. This is illustrated in how the character Olivia is condemned as asexual because of her rejection of Duke Orsino.

Note how this thesis statement makes its claim in two sentences. Its argument centers on how women characters are vilified when they reject a man, and its evidence will be interactions between characters in Shakespeare’s play.

What are real-life examples of thesis statement ?

The term thesis statement is generally used by teachers and students in junior high, high school, and college, especially in English, Social Studies, and other classes in the humanities.

Okay so I rewrote my thesis statement! It’s a wee bit more vague but still a good direction a think. It’s more open so I can talk about more things and add more evidence. Wrote out an in-depth plan and then my brain crapped out. So I’m going to bed! Tomorrow is the day! — 🎃Unpaid Bills🎃 //Chaela (@Cierafire) August 14, 2019
Writing an explanatory essay in phases: thesis statement, body paragraph, concluding statement. Peer conversations to identify text evidence to support our thesis. pic.twitter.com/b6fdgx8rkD — Cheyenne England (@MsEnglandReads) August 7, 2019

The thesis statement is taught in what’s called the five-paragraph essay (or theme). This essay has an introduction which “funnels into” the thesis statement, including three reasons backing up the main argument. The next three paragraphs develop each of these claims, respectively, citing evidence and examples, such as literary texts, historical documents, or scientific reports. The final paragraph, the conclusion, restates the thesis statement and summarizes the paper and its broader significance.

what is thesis statement definition


Even after we are no longer in the classroom, people continue to reference thesis statements. While “real-life” thesis statements may not be as formal as the ones seen in five-paragraph essays, having a thesis statement —a point, a position, or a theory of the case—is considered informative, persuasive, and valuable in work, in the community, and in our personal lives.

The thesis statement is so widely taught and familiar that sometimes people joke about them. On social media, for instance, people may humorously end a post with “In this essay, I will …” when expressing a deeply felt but ultimately low-stakes opinion on some popular topic. The phrase In this essay, I will alludes to the signposting language some people use in their thesis statements.

pumpkin spice has nothing to do with pumpkins but with covering up pumpkin taste, it's a way to disassociate from the world rather than experience it, which mirrors late capitalism; in this essay I will — rachel syme (@rachsyme) August 15, 2019

How to use thesis statement in a sentence

“I love my job and I love my city and I am committed to the work here,” he said in a statement.

The best answer Sutton offers is a statement by the preacher John Roach Stratton back in 1918.

For now, the Egyptian government has issued a statement saying that Clooney is free to enter Egypt “whenever she wants.”

Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement deploring the state GOP for its failure to censure Duke.

It might be the most powerful affirmation, and perhaps even a feminist or political statement, from any public person this year.

There was a great comparing of papers, and turning over of leaves, by Fogg and Perker, after this statement of profit and loss.

But, after all, perhaps it might be easier and more expedient if he were to appear to accept the Seneschal's statement.

He had repeated till he was thrice weary the statement that "the Cat lay on the Mat and the Rat came in."

How can we rely upon such evidence after nineteen hundred years, and upon a statement of facts so important and so marvellous?

That is a strange statement to make, but it is an example of the shifts to which apologists are frequently reduced.

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What is a thesis statement? I need some examples, too.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement clearly identifies the topic being discussed, includes the points discussed in the paper, and is written for a specific audience. Your thesis statement belongs at the end of your first paragraph, also known as your introduction. Use it to generate interest in your topic and encourage your audience to continue reading.

You can read chapter four of Schaum's Quick Guide to Writing Great Research Papers an eBook in our online collection, click the title to open: "How Do I Write a Thesis Statement?" .

Another option is to think of a thesis statement as one complete sentence that expresses your position .

A thesis statement is not a statement of fact.

Your readers—especially your instructors—want to read writing that engages them. Consequently, you must write thesis statements that are arguable, not factual. Statements of fact seem easy to write about because, well, they are easy to prove. After all, they’re facts. The problem is that you cannot write engaging papers around statements of fact. Such theses prevent you from demonstrating critical thinking and analytical skills, which you want to show your instructor. If you were to write a paper around the next two statements, your writing would probably be quite dull because you would be restating facts that the general public already knows.

Thesis Statements always take a stand and justify further discussion.

In order to make your writing interesting, you should develop a thesis statement that is arguable. Sometimes you will be writing to persuade others to see things your way and other times you will simply be giving your strong opinion and laying out your case for it.

Take a look at the following examples:

Statement of fact:

Small cars get better fuel mileage than 4x4 pickup trucks.

Arguable thesis statement:

The government should ban 4x4 pickup trucks except for work-related use.

Foul language is common in movies.

The amount of foul language in movies is disproportionate to the amount of foul language in real life.

State ment of fact:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease.

Arguable thesis statement/opening paragraph:

Researchers think the incidence of celiac disease is increasing in the USA not only because of an increase in the ability and awareness to diagnose it, but also because of changes in the agricultural system. In particular, they are looking at the increased use of pesticides, insecticides, and genetically modified wheat as culprits. Some of these theories are more likely to be valid than others.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

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


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

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

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

How do I create a thesis?

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

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

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You begin to analyze your thesis:

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

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.

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

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

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

Works consulted

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

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

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

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

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

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Tips on writing a thesis statement, what is a thesis statement.

The thesis statement is the sentence that states the main idea of a writing assignment and helps control the ideas within the paper. It is not merely a topic. It often reflects an opinion 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.

What Makes a Strong Thesis Statement?

Where Does the Thesis Statement 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. If you place the thesis statement at the beginning, your reader may forget or be confused about the main idea by the time he/she reaches the end of the introduction. Remember, a good introduction conceptualizes and anticipates the thesis statement.

Tips for Writing/Drafting Thesis Statements

What is a Thesis Statement?


Writing the thesis statement is one of the most important things when it is about thesis writing. But what is a thesis statement? How to write a thesis statement? What is the thesis statement example? If you are stumbling with your thesis writing, you are at the right place.

Today's article explains the concept of a thesis statement. A thesis statement is basically a one-sentence statement that puts the main idea of a thesis in a nutshell while explaining the purpose of the research. Ultimately, a thesis statement is the foundation of your dissertation essay upon which you construct the building of a thesis.

However, if this foundation is not strong enough, the building will be shaky. It's tricky to write a perfect thesis statement if you are a newbie. That's why researching properly before writing a thesis statement is recommended. Let's understand this concept.

Starting with the definition, a thesis statement is a single sentence that describes how the writer is going to interpret the subject matter under discussion. In a single sentence, it explains what a reader should expect from the succeeding discussion. The rest of the write-up gives arguments, opinions, supporting ideas, and logic for the thesis statement.

The importance of a thesis statement can be analyzed from the fact that it carries a certain number of marks in academic writing. Not only failing to mention it but also writing a weak thesis statement leads to the deduction of marks. To avoid any kind of risk, we must learn how to write it and make it concise, clear, and eye-catching. It may be difficult to write because summing a whole essay into a single statement is not an easy task. But as a proverb says.

How to Write a Thesis statement?

Now the question pops up, Which steps do we need to take to make a thesis statement strong? A study conducted by Research prospect states that out of 5, every 3 students lack proficiency in writing skills, which is a great number. Trying not to be among those three, let's learn how to write a thesis statement in 5 easy steps. First, we need to know that a good thesis statement is simple, concise, and adherent to the rest of the paper.

Step 1: Select the essay style:

This is the most important step as the type of thesis statement pursued varies surely with the type of essay you choose. Depending on the content, there are two types of essays. So, here are two further questions! What is a thesis statement from the perspective of an expository style essay, and how do write a thesis statement for expository essays? And what is thesis statement from the perspective of a persuasive style essay, and how to write a thesis statement for a persuasive essay?

While Focusing on the title of the topic, we need to answer the question in the title while writing the thesis statement. If it’s not a question, we shall assume the question in our minds. While keeping that question in mind, the answer to the question must support our argument in the rest of the paper (in the case of an argumentative essay).

This type of essay demands an argument of the writer, his personal opinion and support for a particular point of view. The thesis statement for such an essay must either give the opinion of the writer or clearly define which side of the argument the writer supports and the reason for it.

The next part of your thesis statement will give a logical reason for "why" or "how" you support a certain side of the argument.

It usually occurs at the concluding line of the introductory paragraph but can also be located at the beginning of an introductory paragraph or even middle. 

In order to stay on track and avoid shifting your focus from the core idea of the essay, keep visiting your thesis statement while writing the essay.

A thesis statement is usually 1 or 2 sentences long. Too many lengthy statements are avoided to avoid the reader getting frustrated.

Finally, evaluate the thesis statement of this article. It's an expository one as it provides factual information and not the writer’s personal opinion or argument. It starts with the first basic step i.e answering the question of the title. Then gives a logical answer for "how".

The next part of the statement includes the summary of the rest of the information. Observing practically, it can be evaluated that the article contains no information other than the one, mentioned in the article.

Make a Thesis Statement via Mind-mapping

Mind maps are a visual articulation of your thoughts, opinions, and ideas. It helps you to contextualize your vision and draw inspiration from it to guide your direction of writing and craft the language and terminologies that will best express your vein of thought.

Mind mapping can work wonderfully to guide you in choosing an appropriate thesis statement for your essay. Mind-maps help develop an understanding of the text that you are trying to write. A visual map of ideas whether hand-drawn or done through computer software is a fun way of putting together all your ideas and assertions in one easy-to-read format.

This mapping of ideas will orient you towards the central theme or element of the essay that is crucial for you to highlight. This central idea is what needs to be communicated to the reader and therefore will determine the content and form of your thesis statement.

Here, you can choose EdrawMind to create your mind maps. 

A thesis statement is an important part of writing that must be written while following the rules. It is an eye-catching part for the reader and the impression for the rest of the work depends on this as it occurs at the starting point. Substituting the statement with the proverb, "First impression is the last impression", a writer must stick to the thesis statement in whole writing.

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Thesis Statement: Definition, Importance, Steps & Tips!

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Let’s accept it. There’s one superpower we all want in our lives – the power of persuasion.

Whether it is to convince our parents to let us get a dog OR to convince our teachers that we actually forgot the assignment at home – we all need great persuasion skills at some point in our lives.

But, the time when we need this superpower the most is…*drumroll*…while writing an essay or a research paper.

Writing a good and persuasive paper is not an easy feat, and we all know that. It takes tons of sleepless nights and, not to forget, multiple cups of coffee.

But, do you know the key to writing a good paper or essay ? It’s the thesis statement ! You need to write this statement in order to give a brief introduction to the argument you’ve made in the rest of the paper.

The more solid your thesis statement is, the more people would want to read your essay or paper. So, in this blog, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about a thesis statement. Ready? Let’s go!

What’s a Thesis Statement? (Definition)

A thesis statement is defined as a concise statement that is generally written at the end of the introduction. This statement sums up the entire paper or essay in a few words.

Basically, a thesis statement is a brief introduction to your topic and your point of view. It reveals the argument that you have made in the rest of your paper.

A man writing a thesis statement

In short, a thesis statement encapsulates the main idea that you want to share through your paper or essay. It’s like a claim that you’re making through the paper.

Now that you know what a thesis statement is, let’s find out why you need to write it in the first place.

Read more:   How to Write a Thesis with Perfection?

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Why Do You Need to Write a Thesis Statement?

1. to put focus on the central idea.

Your thesis statement conveys the core idea of your paper – loud and clear. It tells the readers what you’ve talked about in your paper and exactly what they should expect from it.

This short statement tells the readers what you’ve argued about in your essay and why you wrote it in the first place. Simply put, a thesis statement gives the readers a short glimpse into what lies ahead for them.

If you don’t write a thesis statement, the reader won’t know the reason why you wrote the paper. He won’t have any idea about what you’re trying to convey through the paper unless he reads the whole thing.

2. To Guide The Readers

When you’re writing other things, it’s okay to keep the reader in suspense. But, when you’re writing a research paper or an essay , you need to be very clear about what you want to prove or demonstrate.

A thesis statement tells the reader the entirety of the paper and what they are going to find on the way. It guides them about the elements of your paper, the argument you’ve made in the paper, and everything else.

This short statement often makes the difference between whether your paper will be read or ignored. So you need to make sure that it’s truly rock-solid, but more on that later.

3. Helps You Organize Your Essay

A thesis statement is like a road map. Without it, you’d be lost, i.e., you won’t know which way you should be taking your paper or essay. 🙂

This statement acts as a foundation on the basis of which you can write the rest of the essay and organize it in a way that supports your thesis statement!

Your thesis statement is the backbone of your paper. It needs to be strong, and it should support your paper wholeheartedly. So let’s go and learn how to write a thesis statement that does just that!

Read more:  Purpose Statement: What is it & How to Write it?

How to Write a Thesis Statement in 3 Easy Steps?

Step 1. think about the question.

Let’s suppose that your paper or essay is on ‘The effects of gaming on children.’

Now, to write a thesis statement for the same, you first need to think of a question that’s associated with the topic. For example, ‘Does gaming affect children’s behavior?’ OR ‘Do video games cause aggressive behavior?”

what is thesis statement definition

Let’s take another example. If your paper is on Euthanasia, your question can be, ‘Should euthanasia be allowed?” OR “Should human beings have the right to decide on issues of life and death?”

You need to think deeply about the question that you’re answering in the paper and write it down. To get started, ask yourself: What are you talking about in the paper? What’s the core idea? What’s the essence of your paper?

Step 2. Write Down The Answer

Now that you know the question, it’s time to write down its answer. You don’t need a 100% solid answer at this step. Just write down a basic, short and sweet draft of your answer.

For example, if your paper proves that gaming doesn’t affect children’s behavior, then that’d be the answer, or vice versa. Just go through your findings, and you’d find the answer easily.

All in all, you need to just write a brief summary of what you’ve described in detail later in your paper. It’s as easy as it sounds. The hard part is the next step…

Step 3. Convince The Readers About The Answer

Now comes the most crucial part – convincing the readers about your answer. Saying, “yes, gaming affects children’s behavior because I conducted a survey, and that’s what I found” is not enough.

Take the answer you wrote in the last step and shape it into something solid and awesome. Make it as convincing as you can, because that is going to be your final thesis statement.

Tip: Create multiple drafts of your thesis statement, and then use the one that sounds the most powerful and supports your paper or essay the best.

Read more:  How to Write an Insane White Paper that Gets High Engagement?

Tips for Writing a Good Thesis Statement:

1. clear & concise.

Remember that your thesis statement is just a tiny part of your paper, not the entire paper. So don’t drag it too much. Keep it short and sweet and crystal clear.

Wrap your statement up in as few words as you can so that the readers can grasp it in seconds. If they have to go to lengths to understand what the paper entails, they’d probably bail out on it.

There’s another thing that you should avoid while writing a thesis statement: giving away everything in it. Don’t try to every single thing about your paper in it; otherwise, no one would ready your paper.

2. Explains Only a Single Idea

if you want your thesis statement to be powerful, don’t overcomplicate things. What we are trying to say is, convey just one single idea through your thesis statement.

A student brainstorming ideas for his thesis statement

Basically, write about the single most important thing that your paper talks about. You can always get into the other details later in the paper. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Another reason why you should not tangle all the ideas together because that’d make it extremely hard for the readers to understand your core point.

3. Something That Requires Evidence

Don’t write a statement everyone already knows about, like “we live on the planet earth”. You need to write a statement that requires hard proof.

All in all, don’t write a vague statement. Write one that makes the readers want to read more and talk about it. Write something that can be argued upon.

For example, if your essay is on animal testing, you can write, “ artificial intelligence is dangerous because, in the hands of the wrong person, it could easily cause mass casualties. “

Before you go!

Our team at  bit.ai  has created a few awesome education templates to make your processes more efficient. Make sure to check them out before you go, y ou might need them!

Wrapping Up

We’ve told you why it’s important to write a thesis statement, and we’ve shared some great tips for writing the perfect one. In short, you’ve all the information you need to write an awesome thesis statement.

Always remember, the better your thesis statement is, the better your paper is going to be. It’s the building block of your paper. It is something that guides the reader, and yourself.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t put off your paper or essay any longer. Get up, grab a cup of coffee and start working on it. We’re totally rooting for you!

This blog was written by the Bit.ai team. Bit.ai is a powerful documentation and collaboration platform where you and your team can easily create, access, share, and manage all your documents under one roof. To learn more about this wonderful platform, visit Bit.ai .

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Mission Statement: What is it & How to Write it? (With Examples)

Positioning Statement: Definition, Elements & Examples!

Research Proposal: How to Write a Perfect One? (Steps & Format)

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Thesis Sentences

Thesis sentence definition.

What's the Big Idea?

In order to provide insight, analysis, and/or interpretation, an essay needs a focus. An essay’s focus occurs in a thesis sentence, a sentence that provides the author’s main idea or argument in succinct form.

Most college essays will require a thesis sentence, a sentence in which you make a claim or proposition that you then support with evidence and examples, in order to prove the validity of that claim.  The thesis, which often comes toward the start of an essay, is the key idea of the whole essay, encapsulated in one sentence.

When you’re asked to write an “essay” as a course assignment, most likely you will be asked to write a thesis-support essay.

Thesis-support essays are just what their name implies. They offer a thesis near the start of the essay, usually at the end of the introductory paragraph, and then follow with supporting ideas and information. Usually, each unit of support starts with a topic sentence which extracts an idea from the thesis and makes a point about that part of the thesis idea.

Here’s a way to visualize a basic thesis-support essay:

diagram of thesis-support essay showing 5 consecutive parts: 1. Thesis, 2. Topic Sentence 1 with details, 3. Topic Sentence 2 with details, 4 Topic Sentence 3 with details, and 5 Conclusion Thesis

Writing a good thesis sentence is key to academic essay writing, as it captures the essence of the writer’s insight. The rest of the essay can then develop from, elaborate on, and offer evidence for the thesis sentence’s idea. In other words, the thesis sentence makes a promise, or sets up an expectation, for the type of information to follow in the essay.

View the following videos for definitions and examples of thesis sentences.

The first video deconstructs three thesis statements to show the topic, claim, and detailed points of each.

Note: Some content in the video “Writing an Effective Thesis Statement” is presented visually. You may listen to this video with audio description .

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Developing Your Thesis Statement

What is a thesis statement.

Composition classes stress the role of the thesis statement because it is the backbone of collegiate composition. The thesis statement gives the reader insight into the topic, letting him/her know what the essay is about. Without a thesis statement, the essay may lack an argument, focus, clarity, and continuity.

1. There are two major types of thesis statements: explanatory and argumentative. The explanatory thesis announces the subject to the reader; it never declares a stance which needs an argument to defend. These explanatory theses are evident in expository essays and research essays. In an argumentative essay, the thesis statement should be a claim, not a factual statement or a personal response to a topic. It should be an idea that provokes opposition, a claim that readers might choose to refute.

2. The thesis statement is usually found at the end of an introductory paragraph. It's planted early in the essay because it informs the reader of the main important idea that encompasses the entire essay.

3. A thesis statement is not always one sentence; the length of the thesis depends on the depth of the essay. Some essays may require more than a single sentence. However, the statement should be as clear and concise as possible in the final draft of the essay. The shorter and more direct a thesis statement is the more confident and assertive the writer sounds. Being assertive and confident is crucial, especially in argumentative essays.

Creating a thesis statement:

As a writer, keep your thesis statement in mind. Each proposed or considered topic within the essay should have some relevance to your thesis statement. It is the argument or focus of the essay, as well as a great structuring tool.

Because of the pivotal role a thesis statement plays in a piece of composition, many novice writers put too much emphasis on the thesis statement during the production of an essay. It is important to keep the thesis in mind, but it is also important to avoid hindering the writing process by restricting your writing to a thesis statement. This is where a working thesis comes into play.

A working thesis is exactly what it means: a thesis statement that is "in progress" during the writing process. Normally, a thesis statement will not be fully constructed until the entire essay is written. A working thesis allows for a writer to approach the topic with a thesis in mind, even though that thesis can be revised (and it will be numerous times) during the writing prcess.

Constructing a working thesis should come after brainstorming or deriving a topic. It should be a thesis that can help guide you as a writer through the composition of the essay. A simple way to begin the construction of a working thesis is to write "I believe that ... " and follow it up with a simple claim that includes the key topics to be discussed in the essay. An example would be:

" I believe that America's cultural identity can be defined by art, literature, and film."

The working thesis stated above now gives the writer a structure for the paper. Three main ideas should be discussed in their relation to cultural identity: art, literature, and film.

The best aspect of a working thesis is that it can be revised at any time to meet the needs of the essay or the writer. For instance, when using a working thesis, the writer knows that the thesis can be changed to fit in an extra topic if the essay needs it:

" I believe that America's cultural identity can be defined by art, literature, music , and film."

The role of the working thesis is to lessen the stress of writing a collegiate essay and to incorporate some flexibility into the writing process. Knowing that a working thesis will be subjected to numerous revisions allows the writer more freedom when writing the essay.

Now let's revise our working thesis into a stronger claim.

Revising the thesis statement

The first step in changing the working thesis into a strong, independent claim is to cut "I believe that" from the beginning of the sentence. Let us use the original working thesis from the previous section as an example:

As it stands now, this thesis is a bit weak because the writer is asserting that it is their opinion or what they think. To make it into an argument or claim, the writer must be taken out of the sentence.

"America's cultural identity can be defined by art, literature, and film."

Hmm….Still sounds a little weak. Although the writer is now void from the statement, there is still doubt in this claim. This is where diction becomes important. The key is to use words that make the claim stronger and more assertive. Taking out the passive voice in the statement will add strength to the statement.

"Art, literature, and film define America's cultural identity."

Now an argument can be sparked.

Although this is not the best thesis statement, the aforementioned example is to show how to create and revise a thesis. If this thesis were to be used, it probably would be revised again to make it more specific; the types of art, literature, and film would need clarification.

Key points in revising a thesis statement:

Make sure that your paper reinforces your thesis statement at all times. One way to ensure this is by checking the use of the topic sentences throughout the essay:

If not, don't change your paper right away; see if you can revise the thesis statement to meet the needs of your essay. If you can't change the thesis, then change the essay.

Using diction in a thesis statement is important. Make sure the words comprising the statement are used correctly and help reinforce the claim.

Be direct, clear and concise. Do not use large, vague words unless they are necessary. Do not fluff the thesis statement. The goal of the thesis statement is to make sure the reader understands the topic on hand. Don't confuse him/her with a big, flowery sentence.

If the essay is argumentative, be assertive !!

A Check List:

Here is a list of questions to help determine the strength of your thesis statement. After revising the working thesis into a more effective statement, ask yourself the following:

- by Patrick Williams

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