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Easy Ways to Write a Thesis Statement

Updated on April 11, 2017
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VirginiaLynne has been a University English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

Thesis Statements

Explain what you want the reader to think, do, believe or know.

Are usually just one sentence.

Most often come at the end of the first or second paragraph.

May give a roadmap of the rest of the essay.

Source

5 Easy Steps for Writing

1. Make a Thesis Question

Take your essay topic idea and turn it into a question.

Example: divorce. Thesis Question: How does divorce affect children?

2. Brainstorm Answers

Write down as many ideas as you can think of. You might want to Google search for ideas.

Example: Divorce causes children to: feel insecure about the future, not do as well in school, feel insecure in relationships, worry about their parents, become bullies or be bullied, have to get along with a new family of siblings, live a lower standard of income, wonder if they caused the divorce.

3. Pick a Thesis Answer

Look at your brainstorming and decide your main answer.

Example: How does divorce affect children? Divorce causes children to feel insecure.

4. Make a Thesis Road-Map

Now go back to your brainstorming. What are the best reasons for your answer? Try to pick at least three. Add these to your thesis.

Example: How does divorce affect children? Divorce causes children to feel insecure because they often have a lower standard of living after the divorce, they feel less secure in relationships and they worry about the future.

5. Add Emphasis

Steps 1-4 will make a very strong thesis, but if you want to bump it up to the next level you can do two more steps: tell how your view contrasts with other people, and use intensifying transitions like "in reality" or "in fact."

Example Format: Thesis Question. Although (what many people might answer), in reality (your answer) because: (your three or more reasons).

How does divorce affect children? Although some people argue that children quickly get over a parent's split, in reality, divorce causes children to feel insecure for a long time afterwards because they often have a lower standard of living after the divorce, they feel less secure in relationships, and they worry about the future.

Thesis Format Chart

Thesis Question
What other people think
, transition
thesis/what you think
: list of 3 or more topic ideas
Why do...
Although....
, in reality...
the reason is...
because: 3 or more reasons
What causes..
Some people think...
, the truth is...
the cause is...
: 3 or more causes
What is...
Even though....
, I believe...
that ____ is...
:3 or more aspects
How does...
According to...
, in fact...
what happens is...
: 3 or more steps
What is the history of..
Most people assume...
, actually...
the sequence was...
: 3 or more parts
How can we solve...
Previously people have tried...
,however, I suggest
the best solution is...
because: 3 or more reasons
Mix and match the sections of this chart to create your own terrific thesis statement.

5 More Examples

Use the chart above to make your own thesis statements. You can mix and match the different columns. Here are a variety of examples for different kinds of essays:

Cause: Why are Americans rapidly becoming more obese? Some people think that the cause of rising obesity is lack of individual self-control; however, the truth is that the growing waistlines are caused by corporations that secretly add sugar to make foods more addictive; technology which has made people less active, and more tied to their work; and portions sizes in restaurants, which have ingrained overeating into our habits.

Evaluation: Does Recycling really make a difference? Although it is true that one person's recycling may not make much of a difference, in fact, when all of us join together we can make a difference because when we all recycle: less waste goes into landfills, reusing things becomes more natural, and people get into better habits.

Explaining: How does playing a sport affect young people? Most people would say that learning how to play is the most important thing children get from a sport. In fact, children who play sports gain even more from learning about teamwork, realizing they must overcome defeat, and accepting their own place on a team.

Argument: Should parents be concerned if their children are obsessed with horror movies? Although many people scoff at the idea of movies as really influencing our behavior, in reality, parents need to be concerned about what their children are watching because children often can't tell reality from fiction, violent images desensitize us to real violence, and kids who watch violence obsessively may be exhibiting signs of deeper emotional problems.

Expository: Is there only one way to write a great thesis statement? Although this article might make you think that there is only one perfect thesis statement method, in fact, you can write good thesis statements in several different ways; however, by following the method described here you will learn an easy way to write a complex thesis idea that will not only impress your instructor but will also help you to write your essay easily.

 How are modern horror movies different than classic films?
How are modern horror movies different than classic films? | Source

8 Questions on One Topic

Here is a sample of the different kinds of essay questions you can come up with using the topic of "Horror Movies."

Explaining: What are the characteristics of a classic horror movie?

History of: How have horror movie plots, settings and characters changed over time?

Cause/Effect: What causes people to enjoy watching horror movies?

Description: What classifies a movie as a "horror" movie?

How to: How can you learn to like horror movies?

Propose a Solution: Should parents worry about the violence in horror movies?

Evaluate: What is the best horror movie of all time?

Argument: Do horror movies cause some people to act out the violence they watch?

Using a Semicolon

Using a semicolon in your thesis statement can help you because:

  • You can write a more complicated, longer thesis.
  • The semicolon makes the thesis statement stand out for your reader.
  • Using a semicolon and transition word lets you how ideas relate (contrast "however" or adding "moreover").

How can you use the semicolon?

  • Combine 2 sentences and use a semicolon instead of a period (the two sentences must be related to one another)

Sentence; Sentence

Example: I agree with Stephen King that horror movies are popular; I disagree that people who watch them will be less violent.

  • Combine 2 sentences and use a transition word which explains how the two sentences are related.

Sentence; transition, sentence

Example: I agree with Stephen King that horror movies are very popular; however, I disagree that watching them keeps people from doing violence.

Source

Using Colons

Using a colon (:) before your list helps you to make that list clearer.

Example: I think that prolonged looking at violence is dangerous because watching violence: causes people to be desensitized to real violence; makes some teens desire to imitate the violence, or ignore the violence of others; and leaves the viewer wanting even more, and bloodier special effects in the next film.

Parallel form: In a list, be careful that all of the phrases are in the same form. How to check?

  1. Check the first word of each item. In the example above, each phrase starts with the same sort of word: causes, makes, and leaves.
  2. Can you finish the sentence with any one of the items? Try doing the last word before the colon with each phrase.
  • watching violence causes people to be desensitized...
  • watching violence makes some teens desire...
  • watching violence leave the view wanting even more...

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    • profile image

      Dorothy Tran 4 weeks ago

      I really enjoyed your article. Writing a thesis in the past has been one of the most time consuming and difficult stages for writing my papers. Your thesis table makes the process much more organized and straightforward. In addition, I never thought that using contrast words like "although" and "however" could improve the thesis. I will definitely use these tips when writing my own papers.

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      Marie Meyer 4 weeks ago

      This article was so helpful! The video was very catchy and helped tie everything together into my memory. I also love the format chart to use as an outline when writing a thesis.

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      Grand Old Lady 7 months ago

      I never wrote a thesis in my life, and now that I see how eagerly my daughter wanted to write a thesis, I have come to regret it. Thank you for this article, it shows me that it is never to late to start.

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      Emily Roesch 13 months ago

      Hi Professor Kearney!

      I found this article extremely helpful regarding how to write a thesis. Finding a suitable thesis is a challenge for me, but I think if I use your tips I will be set. I had not heard of asking a thesis question before, so I look forward to trying that very soon! I also like the idea of using a semicolon in my thesis, because I tend to write a longer thesis.

      Thank you very much,

      Emily Roesch

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      Evan Gibbs 13 months ago

      I actually really enjoyed this article, as thesis statements are a must learn for any essay. The 5 steps and the examples really make it easy to have a great thesis statement. I look forward to your class this semester.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
      Author

      Virginia Kearney 13 months ago from United States

      Glenis, I'm glad you are recommending my articles to young people you know. I actually have about 100 articles on various aspects of writing, so if they search on my profile, they can probably find things to help them on the various papers they write.

    • Glenis Rix profile image

      Glenis Rix 13 months ago from UK

      Recommending to my niece - I recently read one of her papers and feel that this hub will be very beneficial. Will also send a link to my son, who is distance learning with the OU.

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      Conica 22 months ago

      I really appreciate these tips. I have gotten away from hand written brainstorming. This information is very helpful and I will use these Keynotes to help me finish all my writing assignments

    • profile image

      Victoria Harrison 2 years ago

      Hi Professor Kearney,

      One of the things I struggle the most with in writing is forming a clear thesis statement. Although I know that there is no exact formula that will help me produce a quality thesis statement 100% of the times, this article helped expose me to ways that I can use brainstorming to come up with a quality thesis. I was especially a fan of the Thesis Statement Chart and will be referring to it in the future!

      Looking forward to a great semester with you,

      Victoria Harrison

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      Molly Dempsey 2 years ago

      This article will definitely be useful throughout the school year! I really enjoyed the examples and I think the chart will help me when creating my own thesis statements.

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      Ashley Arceneaux 2 years ago

      I normally struggle with writing a thesis, but this article has made it seem very simple. I enjoyed the format and the many examples you have provided. The practice questions were also very helpful and good tip with the semicolon.

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      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, so much, for sharing. Certainly much food for thought. ;-)

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 2 years ago from United States

      Thanks so much donnah! I re-write my material so much that I sometimes miss the typos and always appreciate it when someone calls it to my attention so I can correct it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This is a good article to read because it helps me be a better writer.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you for this overview. I am going to suggest it as a resource to my students.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      FYI: you have a typo in your first sentence. (Feel free to delete this comment.)