Writing awesome thesis statements involves knowledge and skill. It is a crucial step in learning to write high-scoring essays. To succeed, you have to know how to make a thesis statement well-structured, strong, action-oriented, and focused.
What’s more, writing awesome thesis statements is a skill that takes practice to develop. Once you know what to do, you will need deliberate practice hammering out thesis after thesis, revision after revision, until the central claim of your essay says exactly what you want it to say with the structure and force you want it to have.
With a well-crafted thesis statement, your essay will almost write itself. How? It will outline your essay so that all you will have to do is give examples to show what you mean.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is the central claim your essay makes. It summarizes everything you intend to say in your essay in one sentence. Of course, your argument will need context and further elaboration with examples to persuade your reader, but that is what the rest of the essay is for.
Where can you find the thesis statement?
The thesis statement almost always comes at the end of the introduction of an essay. The introduction is the name we give to the first paragraph of the essay.
Introductory paragraphs perform four important jobs. They start the essay by trying capture the reader’s attention, give some background and context to your topic, focus your topic saying what you will and will not be talking about, and then end with the central argument you intend to develop with the rest of your essay. The introduction prepares your reader for your thesis, and if your thesis statement is well-crafted it will make your reader want to read to the end.
Because of its important role as the organizing idea behind the whole essay, it is vital that you get it right every time. A loose, unfocused, unstructured, bland claim will not motivate your reader to read on. Make your thesis awesome, and your reader will devour your essay with great relish.
Structure your thesis statement with topics
A good thesis statement should contain 2 or 3 three topics that can be developed in the paragraphs of the essay that follow. This formula can be represented as a claim with divisions or prongs. Below, “X > Y” represents the claim, and “because A, B, and C” represent the topics you will develop with evidence in the body paragraphs of your essay.
X > Y because A, B, and C
Take a stand with your thesis statement
A good thesis should take a strong stance that can be debated and defended. In academic writing, students are often expected to make a strong claim about a controversial issue and defend it vigorously. In the example below, you can see that the first example simply offers an observation about the world. The second example raises the alarm that something must change. Make your thesis statements strong.
Today, it is common to see young people spending time on social media, memes, and selfies. (WEAK)
Today’s generation of young people is becoming alarmingly focused only on themselves because of the rise of social media, memes, and selfies. (STRONG)
Use action verbs in your thesis statement
A thesis sentence will capture the reader’s imagination when it conjures up action and transformation. To conjure up action in your reader’s mind, use action verbs rather than stative verbs.
Action verbs suggest an action is being performed. In the example below the active verbs are underlined. Compare them with the stative verbs “is” and “have” in the second example which describe states of being and possession rather than actions.
Romeo embodies the ideal tragic hero because he belongs to a noble family, displays great virtue, and dies of a tragic flaw. (4 action verbs: good)
Romeo is the ideal tragic hero because he is noble, he is virtuous, and he has a tragic death. (4 stative verbs: not as good)
Keep your thesis statement short
A good thesis statement should be short and to the point. Aim for a sentence length of no more than 30 words. If you can make it shorter, do. Eliminate any unnecessary elaboration to give your thesis more focus. You can develop and support your ideas later in your essay.
Ice cream is the best of all the desserts because it is creamy owing to the ingredients with a high fat content, sweet because of added sugar and lactose, and cool because of the temperature it is served at. (39 words)
Ice cream is the best dessert because it is creamy, sweet, and cool. (13 words)
Examples of thesis statements
This list of thesis statements illustrates how to structure the central claim of your argument around bolded keywords. Note that each 3-item series of topics that follows the keyword will serve as an outline for the rest of your essay.
- We should wear school uniforms because they would help ensure discipline, help reduce class-consciousness, and help foster school pride.
- Students should wear uniforms to school because they are less expensive than other clothing, they will decrease issues related to dress code, and they will improve school culture.
- Zoos should be banned because animals need to remain in the wild, zoos cannot provide natural experiences for animals, and animals in zoos get sick and die.
- Romeo embodies the ideal tragic hero because he belongs to a noble family, displays great virtue, and dies of a tragic flaw.
- Spring is the best time of year because the sun shines longer, the temperature rises, and flowers bloom.
To + Infinitive
- Prostitution should be legalized to decrease the number of violent acts committed against sex workers, to give people in the sex trade a safe working environment, and to promote the psychological health of sex workers.
- Today’s generation is alarmingly focused only on themselves, as evidenced by the rise of social media, memes, and selfies.
- This lacking aspect of the American ideal is reflected by the characters, the symbols and the overall theme of the book.
- Whether by the brutal imagery, the somber theme of the book, the captivating plot, or rather lack thereof, Remarque did his best to paint war in a negative light.
- The author demonstrates this issue through symbolism and her use of language.
- Through the themes of censorship, knowledge and technology, the novel teaches us that to blossom, people must think by themselves.
Through the and but also through
- This is revealed not only through the main plot of the story, but also through the way characters are portrayed and the themes presented in the novel.
- In The Magicians, Lev Grossman uses magic as a unifying device for the characters, the plot and the theme.
- Samuel Beckett’s Endgame reflects characteristics of Theatre of the Absurd in its minimalist stage setting, its seemingly meaningless dialogue, and its apocalyptic or nihilist vision.