What is a Thesis Statement?
Tips on Writing a Great One
Examples of Thesis Statments: Too Obvious
The key to crafting the perfect thesis statement is making sure that it is not obvious to the reader before reading your paper.
The War of 1812 came before the Civil War. (bad example)
This is not a good thesis statement because it is obvious and does not need to be proven. Anyone can look at a timeline and figure out that the War of 1812 came before the Civil War.
This alternative version may not be historically correct, but it could definitely make a strong thesis statement if it were properly supported:
The War of 1812 set into motion the main events that caused the Civil War. (good example)
This example would be a strong thesis statement, because it is not obvious at first glance that the War of 1812 necessarily led to the Civil War at all. Therefore, this statement is not obvious and could merit a paper to be written about it.
The Unclear Statement
Sometimes you might find that your thesis statement is unclear. For example:
The judicial system needs to have power over Congress in order to do its job. (bad example)
What does this statement mean? In which way does it need to have power over Congress? What is the job that judicial system cannot carry out without this power?
The following statement clarifies the statement:
In order for the judicial system to judge whether a law is constitutional, it must have the power to overturn a temporary law of Congress. (good example)
Take a look at this thesis statement:
People need to stay healthy for several important reasons. (bad example)
Could you write a paper on this? You could, but you’d barely be able to scrape the surface.
Now take a look at a better example, which is much more specific:
Students must get sufficient sleep at night in order to succeed in school. (good example)
In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Ron’s last move in the chess game parallels his defense of Harry in Book 7. (bad example)
This example is far too specific. Could you write an entire paper on this? More likely, you could write a short paragraph defending this statement.
To revise it, you could focus on the chess match as a whole:
In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the chess game parallels the struggle between Harry and Voldemort throughout the series. (good example)
Other Writing Issues
Make sure that your thesis statement is not written passively (e.g., “the struggle was paralleled by…”) or as a negative statement (e.g., “Students will not succeed in school if they…”). You must be able to support your thesis statement through research and observation, and it must sum up the main point of your paper. Use these tips to guide you in creating the perfect thesis statement.
Come up with a great thesis statement? Share it in the comments!