FAQ - English & Grammar

What Is a Thesis Statement? Definition and Examples.

What Is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is a declaration of one or two sentences that gives the topic and purpose of an essay or speech. More specifically, it provides information to the audience about what the author/speaker intends to prove or declare, with specific discussion points. The thesis statement is usually placed toward the end of the introductory paragraph.


What Should a Thesis Statement Include?


Regardless of the type of paper or speech you’re writing, a strong thesis statement should include the following five elements:


·         Restatement of the Topic: You should state the main topic of your dissertation before your thesis statement, usually within the first or second sentence. The proceeding thesis statement should then refer back to this topic.

·         Declaration of Your Position: After restating the main topic of your essay, declare your personal viewpoint on the issue.

·         An Opposing Viewpoint: Many topics are quite controversial, such as abortion, the death penalty, and vaccines, and can include a myriad of perspectives. An effective thesis statement is one that offers an opposing viewpoint, even if the main topic isn’t debatable. For example, if the main topic of your essay is about how pollution is harmful to the environment, your thesis might give your personal opinions of the worst effects of pollution. These opinions are what will have opposing viewpoints.

·         Reasons to Support Your Stance: For a strong thesis, it’s not enough to simply state what you believe; you have to provide reasons for that belief. In a standard five-paragraph essay, having at least three reasons/discussion points is sufficient to support your thesis.

·         Evidence to Support Your Stance: Whether your intentions are to persuade, inform, entertain, or educate your audience, make sure your thesis includes evidence from credible sources to support your discussion points.  


Structuring Your Thesis Statement

When writing a thesis statement for the first time, it’s important to understand how to structure it. Answering the following questions may help. Use your responses to write your statement, keeping each component in the same order as your answers. Keep in mind that #2 and 3 can be reversed, as in the examples in the next section.

1.       What is your essay about?

2.       What opinion/belief do you wish to convey on this topic?

3.       What is one other belief (preferably a common one) on this topic?

4.       Why do you hold your beliefs on the topic (give three reasons)?

5.       What evidence do you have to support each of your reasons?

Thesis Statement Examples


The following is a list of topics that are commonly selected for high school or college essays, as well as an example thesis statement for each topic. Each of these examples contains a mention of the topic, a reference to an opposing viewpoint, a declaration of the writer’s personal beliefs on the issue, and a list of reasons to support the beliefs.

Please note, these statements are intended for example purposes only and may or may not include actual facts about the topics.

·         Nationwide Legalization of Marijuana: While there are some benefits of marijuana, this drug should be illegal in all 50 states because it’s addictive, it can lead to psychotic disorders, and legalizing it can pose a risk for contamination. 

·         Mask Mandates: Despite the claims of masks being used as a preventive measure against COVID-19, mask mandates should be banned worldwide because they infringe on personal rights, masks can be dangerous, and masks are proven to be ineffective in preventing infection.

·         The Ketogenic Diet: Although the ketogenic diet is rising in popularity, it should not be used as a long-term means of weight loss/maintenance because there are negative side effects, carbohydrates boost the release of serotine, and you’re more likely to eat an unhealthy amount of red meat.

·         Universal Healthcare: The Unites States does not currently offer universal healthcare, but it should because doing so would increase the average lifespan, improve overall public health, and create more jobs.

·         Vegetarianism: While most Americans eat meat and enjoy it, vegetarianism is a better diet option because you won’t be contributing to animal cruelty, you can have more protection against certain diseases, and it will be easier for you to consume the vitamins that your body needs.

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