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100 Thesis Statement Examples to Get You into the Writing Mood

Writing Thesis Statements for Argumentative Essays

Read the article below (on the left) about thesis statements and then do the interactive quiz on the right. Write only one word in each space.

Writing Thesis Statements for Argumentative Essays

Introduction

University writing often requires students to use persuasion: they need to convince readers of a logical viewpoint on a debatable subject. The thesis statement is usually one sentence in the essay’s introduction that clearly states the writer’s opinion and it often appears after some general background information about the issue. The thesis statement acts as a short summary of the writer’s stance in the debate, helping readers understand what will appear in the rest of the paper. Assignments may not state clearly whether a thesis statement is necessary, but if it asks you to take a position on an issue, analyze, interpret, compare and contrast or show cause and effect, you are probably expected to develop a persuasive thesis. (If you are not sure, it is wise to ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement.)

Developing a Thesis

Before you write a thesis statement, it is important to spend time reading academic articles to gather general background information about the issue. You need to evaluate the findings and arguments of different writers and decide which ones you think are the strongest and most convincing, which ones have the most credibility and which ones will help you write persuasively. Reading recent research will help you to decide your position and write a stronger, well-informed argument. Understanding and critically weighing others’ ideas will guide you towards developing a clear, logical and convincing thesis statement.

Thesis Statements: 4 points to remember

1. MAKE IT DEBATABLE

The first important point is that thesis statements must be debatable. (There is no point writing a persuasive argument if everyone already agrees!)

Example of an un-debatable thesis statement:

‘Drinking too much alcohol may cause health problems.’

This is weak because it would be very difficult to build a persuasive argument that drinking too much alcohol would not cause health problems: most people (and doctors) already agree that it would.

Example of a debatable thesis statement:

‘Alcohol should contain warning labels about the possible dangers of over-drinking.’

This is debatable because people can agree or disagree with the proposal. Some might agree that alcohol labels should contain warnings about the dangers of drinking while others may feel that warning labels would be ineffective as they would not stop people from drinking. Therefore, it is a good thesis statement.
The first point to remember then is that thesis statements must provide room for disagreement and debate.

2. MAKE IT SPECIFIC

Thesis statements should be specific, not general. The following thesis statement is too general:

‘Drinking alcohol is harmful.’

This statement is too broad and unfocused because it does not specify:

*Who drinking alcohol harms
*What drinking alcohol harms
*What the main reasons are that make drinking alcohol harmful

Asking specific ‘Wh’ questions can help narrow your focus and make your paper more manageable.

The following thesis statement is more persuasive because it is focused:

‘Alcohol consumption may negatively impact university students’ GPA.’

As this statement provides specific answers to the questions above, it significantly narrows the possibilities that the writer can write about and provides a clear focus for the entire argument.

Here are two more examples of focused thesis statements:

‘A four-year university programme is better than a three-year one because students have more time for deeper learning.’
‘Hong Kong will not become a world class city until it tackles its air pollution problem.’

The second point to remember then is that a thesis statement should be specific.’

3. HAVE ONLY ONE CONTROLLING ARGUMENT

As you can see from the examples above, a good thesis statement has only one controlling (main) argument:

‘Alcohol should contain warning labels about the possible dangers of over-drinking.’
‘Alcohol consumption may negatively impact amongst university students’ GPA.’
‘A four-year university programme is better than a three-year one because students have more time for deeper learning.’
‘Hong Kong will not become a world class city until it tackles its air pollution problem.

It is important that your thesis statements also contain only one controlling argument. Supporting details can be discussed in depth later in the essay’s body paragraphs that follow the introduction.

4. MAKE IT CLEAR AND CONCISE

As you can see, good thesis statements use clear language and not too many words. It is important that your thesis be clear so that your readers know exactly what your position is. There should be no confusion, such as in the following poor example:

‘Many people from around the world have different opinions about whether teenagers under eighteen years of age should be able to get a driving license and drive a vehicle or not and I tend to agree with some of them but not with others.’

This example is poor for a number of reasons. First, it is too long and ‘wordy’ (it uses too many unnecessary words which can be omitted). Second, the opinion of the writer is not clear to the reader. A better example of a thesis would be:

‘Teenagers under eighteen years of age should not have driving licenses as most are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of driving.’

This thesis statement is much better as the writer’s position is very clear, and uses a minimal number of words. Clear and concise should be your goal in all writing, but it is especially important when writing a thesis statement.

Summary

Remember! When you include a thesis statement in your introduction that is…

1. debatable
2. specific
3. has only one main argument
4. is clear and concise

…your essay will be focused and your reader will know exactly what to expect in the body paragraphs that follow your introduction. With a little practice, you can write high quality thesis statements that bring focus to all of your argumentative essays.

More information and practice with thesis statements:

http://create.arizona.edu/content/weak-thesis-statements-recognizing-and-fixing-them
http://www.uark.edu/campus-resources/qwrtcntr/resources/handouts/thesis.html
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/588/01/
http://depts.washington.edu/owrc/Handouts/How%20to%20Structure%20and%20Organize%20Your%20Paper.pdf

Now do the interactive activities on the right.

 


  1. In which paragraph is the thesis statement normally found?
  2. What is another word for ‘argumentative’?
  3. The first step before writing a thesis statement is to _________ expert, academic articles to gather background information.
  4. When you __________ the arguments and findings of academic articles on the issue that you will write about, you will begin to choose those that are most credible and persuasive.
  5. Reading academic articles on the issue that you will write about will help you decide your __________.
  6. The first main point to remember about writing a thesis statement is to make it ___________.
  7. A good thesis statement should always leave room for _________.
  8. Another main point is that thesis statements need to be ___________. They should not be too broad or general.
  9. Writing specific thesis statements helps to narrow the possibilities that the writer will write about and provide _________ to the essay.
  10. A good thesis statement should not have more than ___________ controlling argument.
  11. ____________ details should be discussed in the body paragraphs that follow the introduction.
  12. Another key idea is that a thesis statement should always be very ___________ so that readers can identify the writer’s position on the issue.
  13. A thesis statement should also always be as ____________ as possible. Using too many words may confuse or annoy readers.
  14. If an introduction has a clear, concise and debatable thesis statement with only one controlling idea, readers will be able to identify the writer’s point of view and know exactly what to __________ from the essay before they read its body paragraphs.

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Home > Examples > Grammar Examples > Thesis Statement Examples

Thesis Statement Examples

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is usually one sentence that tells the main point of your piece of writing-research paper, essay, etc.

The thesis statement is then “proven” throughout the paper with supporting evidence.

When learning to write thesis statements, you may be taught to write a three-pronged thesis statement. This is a sentence that includes three reasons to support the thesis.

Example of Three-Pronged Thesis Statements:

1. We should wear school uniforms because they would help reduce discipline, be cheaper than other clothing, and help create school pride.

2. 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.

Examples of Thesis Statement:

1. The moral of this novel is that love always wins. (The essay would present evidence and reasons to support that this is the moral of the novel.)

2. Those running for President should be held to a higher standard of ethical behavior. (The essay would present evidence and reasons to support why those running for President should have higher standards for ethical behavior.)

3. The vaccine created by our team of researchers is promising in the fight against the virus. (The research paper would present evidence and reasons why the vaccine might work against the virus.)

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