A well-written thesis statement is the backbone to a great essay. Thesis statements provide the main point of your essay and help to keep your writing on topic.
How to Write a Thesis Statement
Before you begin writing your thesis statement, write down the following:
- What is the main point of your essay?
- List the evidence/information you will provide in support
These are the two components of a thesis statement. You can easily combine what you’ve written into the thesis statement; it only requires some editing to make it flow correctly.
The structure of a thesis statement is: “[Main point] because [Evidence].”
Thesis Statement Example #1
Let’s say you are writing a five paragraph essay about immigration. First, you should decide what your position is on immigration: Are you in favor of open borders, closed borders, or something in between?
- Immigration is an asset to the United States because…
- Immigration is a hindrance to the United States because…
- Immigration should be regulated because…
Next, find your supporting evidence and list the main points of each one.:
- FOR: Immigrants do work that Americans do not want to do; immigrants pay taxes; and immigrants provide cultural diversity.
- AGAINST: Immigrants take jobs away from American workers; immigrant populations cause an increase in local crime; immigrants put a strain on government resources.
- IN-BETWEEN: Legal immigrants contribute to the United States economy; skilled immigrants fill in-demand job vacancies at universities and hospitals; legal migration provides a safe option for at-risk groups of people to immigrate to the United States.
Remember that you must have reliable sources to back up each statement you make!
Once you have your points written down, it’s as easy as putting them together into a concise statement:
- Immigration is an asset to the United States because immigrants do work that Americans do not want to do, pay taxes; and provide cultural diversity.
- Immigration is a hindrance to the United States because immigrants take jobs away from American workers, cause an increase in local crime and put a strain on government resources.
- Immigration should be regulated because only legal immigrants contribute to the economy, skilled immigrants fill in-demand job vacancies and legal migration provides a safe option for at-risk groups of people to immigrate to the United States.
Thesis Statement Example #2
You are asked to write a comparison/contrast essay about civil unions and marriages. You may choose to take a stance on this issue, depending on the requirements of your assignment. Because you took a stance in Example #1, let’s pretend you don’t need to have an opinion in this example.
The main point of your article is:
- There are several key differences between marriages and civil unions.
Now let’s add your supporting evidence:
- History: Marriage has existed for millenia; civil unions are a more recent institution.
- Recognition: Civil unions are not universally recognized; marriages are.
- Ceremonies: Civil unions are secular; marriage is religious.
You can construct your thesis statement with this information. Remember, you’re not taking a stance here, so all you have to do is provide a preview of what you’ll discuss in your essay:
- There are several key differences between marriages and civil unions, including history, recognition and the types of ceremonies performed.
That’s it! You’ve just written your thesis statement.
What is a thesis statement? A thesis:
- Is a complete sentence
- Makes an assertion
- Tells the main idea or overall focus of your essay
The thesis is the focus or controlling idea of your essay. It must be one succinct sentence. Usually, the thesis statement appears near the end of your introduction, after you have “hooked” the reader, setting the tone and focus of your entire essay. The body paragraphs that follow the introduction should provide details that support that original thesis.
For example, if an instructor asks you to write a paper on the causes of divorce, a simple thesis statement may be: Marriages often end in divorce due to finances, lack of communication, and abuse. It is clear that your main points will be: finances, lack of communication, and abuse (in that order). If you are a more advanced writer, you may not need to be quite so specific; however, beginning writers should be as specific as possible to avoid deviating from the main idea.
Keep in mind that as you write your draft, your paper may evolve. Be sure that you modify your thesis, as needed.