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Learn How to Write a Thesis Statement From the Best Academic Experts

April 27, 2021

While many students want to learn how to write a thesis statement, few of them understand why it's necessary. To them, a thesis is just one sentence that professors want to see in introduction, but in reality, it plays a much more important role. For figuring out how to construct it effectively, you have to understand why you need it in the first place. Let's start with definition: thesis is a statement that reflects the premise of one's work, revealing what argument its author is making and what specific points they are going to explore. Good thesis statements are strong, direct, and require evidence for support.

When people are deciding whether they should give a specific essay a chance, they often read its thesis. It lets them know what the work is about and if they should spend their time on it. In addition, this unique sentence serves as a guideline for a writer. As soon as you shape it, you can use it for building further paragraphs, such as the body and conclusion. When you feel like you start deviating from the topic, one look at a thesis will help you return to the right track. But how to write it? It's easier than you think.

Writing a Thesis Statement: Four Key Steps

Like we established before, a thesis is a sentence that describes your entire essay. For this reason, when professors evaluate what their students wrote, they award a separate amount of points to the thesis alone. It has its own category that you could use for getting a higher overall score — that is, in case you know how to create a thesis statement. With the following four steps, this won't be a problem.

1) Ask yourself the main question. Before you pick up your pen or hit the keys, you need to ask yourself, what is your essay going to be about? What's its main point? What are you exploring?

2) Answer the question. Provide an answer. We suggest writing it down because this is something that students need to see — it gives physical shape to their thoughts and ideas. As a thesis statement example, your initial reply could be something like this: “My essay is about cats being the best kind of pets a person could get.” It's a start, but now you have to trim the redundant parts. Proper theses don't include phrases such as “in this paper,” “I am going to discus,” “this research is focused on,” etc. In most academic essays, you shouldn't use first person pronouns, so drop them, too. This is what our example sounds like now: “Cats are the best kind of pets a person could get.”

3) Elaborate on it. Now that you know what you'll be writing about, you need to develop your answer a bit more and make it a strong thesis statement. This is done by listing the reasons you'll be using as the main evidence for your claim. You said that cats are the best pets, but why? What makes them the best? Provide some reasoning. Make language a bit more sophisticated. As an example, “Cats are the best pets a person could acquire because they are unobtrusive, loving, safe, and need minimal care.” This is it, everything is complete!  

4) Connect your thesis with each body paragraph. Now that we are done with creating a thesis statement, we should think about how many body paragraphs our essay is going to have. A tip: each point in the thesis should correspond to at least one paragraph. Our example has four points. So, the first body paragraph should explain why cats are unobtrusive, the second one should focus on their loving nature; the third should be about them being safe and the fourth about them needing minimal care. Follow a similar pattern in your work.

Thesis Length in Short and Long Papers

According to a typical thesis statement format, writers should make their thesis merely one sentence long. One of the common misconceptions is that this rule is absolutely unbreakable. Because of this, many students believe that even if their thesis is 120 words long, they should still confine them to one sentence. This isn't true. In some cases, this statement could take from two or three sentences to an entire paragraph. Still, you shouldn't overuse this option: everything depends on the size of an essay. 

If a paper is between 2-5 pages, for writing a good thesis statement, you won't need more than a sentence. Try compressing your thoughts into it. An appropriate sentence that is easy to read ranges between 15 and 35 words — everything below or above this number could damage your readers' comprehension. For longer works or projects such as dissertations, students could make an exception since it might be impossible to put all ideas into one sentence in this case. What you have to remember is that thesis statements should be as concise and specific as possible, so make them up while keeping this fact in mind.

Where Does the Thesis Statement Go?

Another question that often concerns students is about thesis placement. Where should it go? Are there any exceptions? You'll be pleased to learn that no, the rules are pretty much stable in this regard, so you won't have to second-guess yourself. Whatever kind of essay you are writing, the thesis should be placed in the introduction. Readers should be able to see what this paper is about right away. Almost always, it is the last sentence in this section. For longer statements, it might not be the very last, but it should still come in the end, after you present a background of your topic and other introduction-related details.

Three Elements That Make Thesis Statements Strong

How to write a good thesis statement? Apart from all the info you've mentioned above, students also need to follow some basic tips. They can be described in three words starting with “C”: conciseness, contentiousness, coherence.

  • Conciseness (meaning being informative but brief). Like we indicated in one of the previous sections, theses should be concise. Yes, your style might be flowery, an idea central to your research could be large and many-layered, but it is essential to express everything by taking up a minimal amount of space. If understanding the reasoning behind this principle is difficult, imagine yourself as a part of your own audience. You need to read 50+ essays and decide which of them is the best. Instead of dedicating an equal amount of time to each, you go through their thesis statements. Clearly, overly long and flowery constructions will quickly tire you. They tend to be distracting, so by the time a person gets to an end, they forget what the first part of the sentence was about. Prevent this from happening to your personal essay: make your theses concise. 
  • Contentiousness (meaning an argumentative nature). Another important element is that of contentiousness. What is a thesis statement? As one of the most common definitions reveals, a thesis is an argumentative claim that a writer has to prove in the course of their writing. This is correct. In an essay, a writer's goal is usually about being convincing and proving that their view makes perfect sense. That is why thesis should have an argumentative nature: a writer invites an audience to disagree with it or question its validity, and then they prove that what they said is actually reasonable and has evidence in its support. We used an example with cats: as you have a chance of seeing, it is indeed contentious. Lots of people who read it are going to disagree because some of them prefer dogs, others like birds most, and they don't think that cats are the best. The writer of such an essay would try to convince others to accept his or her point of view. In your essay, this is exactly what you should do, too.
  • Coherence (making sense and using language in a clear manner). When developing a thesis statement, its writer must remain coherent no matter how complex their subject is or how many words they are using. Since thesis is one of the most relevant parts of a whole essay and readers see it at the very start, it should be catchy yet clear enough for them to understand everything without having to re-read it twice. So, if students have a long paper of 10+ pages, they should break their claim into several coherent sentences. If it is shorter, they should stop at adding one sentence, but it also needs to make perfect sense. For ensuring coherence, we suggest that students re-read what they came up with several times: first time, do it in your mind; the second time, do it aloud. You could also ask your friend to read it and tell you if it is rambling or not.

More Practical Thesis Statement Examples

Not every paper needs a thesis, but most of them do, and none of them would lose anything from having one. So, for making the points we've discussed even clearer, we decided on sharing some other thesis examples. We developed them for different kinds of paper, so we hope that you'll find at least one of them fully helpful.

1) Analytical paper. For this paper type, our thesis statement outline would look like this: “The book A Study in Darkness reveals how deceptive humans can be through the conflict between Richard and Stuart, and it underlines the fatality of some mistakes through symbolism and foreshadowing.” Note: the title is in italics in accordance with APA format. Your paper might follow another formatting style.

2) Process essay. Example: For achieving the best results, first, a person should greet their interlocutor; second, they have to ask several generic semi-personal questions; then they can finally raise the business topic.”

3) Reflection. Example: While experiencing heartbreak was extremely painful, it taught me how to recognize danger signs, learn to prioritize myself, and survive hardships.”

4) Expository essay. Example: Modern movies are characterized by an intense focus on visual effects, unusual camera work, and ambiguous endings.”

5) Argumentative paper. Example: CW network should not receive any sponsorship because its executives are homophobic, albeit, and sexist.”

Extra Bonus Tips

We'd like to offer some more tips that could help students during their writing journey. You'll need them for gaining a firm understanding of what you're doing. Here they are:

  • Read even more examples of thesis claims. Keep doing it until feeling like you have fully grasped the essence and purpose of this element.
  • Every opening sentence of a new body paragraph should be linked to thesis directly.
  • In conclusion, this claim comes into play again, only this time, a writer should rephrase it. Remind readers what the essence of your paper was, but instead of copying it, express it in other words.
  • Use an online thesis maker. This could give you some great ideas and serve as a helpful template.
  • Go through the checklist once your paper is done. If everything appears right, feel free to send it for assessment!

Decide What You're Writing & Express It Via Thesis

Now that you realized how to make a good thesis statement, it is time to put your newfound knowledge into practice. Have you decided on a topic? Did you ask yourself questions that we outlined above? Build your excellent thesis on the basis of your answers. Expand your key point with extra details that your body paragraphs will revolve around; make certain that the claim is confident, argumentative, and concise. If you still need any assistance, contact us and let us know! We would be happy to help you construct your thesis or even do this in your stead.