How to Write a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is most commonly used for essay writing, but it is useful for any kind of writing that needs to make a point, or come to some sort of conclusion. Like a scientist structures an entire experiment around a hypothesis, you can structure an entire piece of writing around a thesis statement.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement is a sentance that contains a particular view point or interpretation of a subject, and outlines what the rest of the piece of writing will be talking about. It must be a statement, not a question, and if your piece of writing is to answer a question (eg, “Why do people love chocolate?”), then the thesis statement is a one sentence answer to that question (eg, “Eating chocolate is a pleasurable experience that releases chemicals in our brain that make us feel good, acting as a reward system that encourages us to go back for more.”).

A thesis statement is short and focuses in one  one point, but it must also be broad enough to allow for discussion of it in order for the writer to prove that it is correct.

Where does a thesis statement go?

A thesis statement should be in the first paragraph of writing, or at least as close to the top as possible. It gives the reader an indication of what to expect from your piece of writing, and it is important to give this to them early on.

How do you write a thesis statement?

  1. Get your topic of discussion. You need this to form an argument to be able to narrow it down to a thesis statement. (Eg, “Why do people love chocolate?”)
  2. Think about your answer to the topic’s question, or form a general idea of how you want to approach the topic. Brainstorm ideas that back up your line of argument. (Eg, chocolate is delicious, it produces good feelings, it melts in your mouth, it releases dopamines which act as a reward system, when you eat chocolate you want more)
  3. Once you have some ideas that backup your thoughts, consider links between them. You don’t need to link all of your ideas, but you should be able to find a link between some of them that can help focus your idea into a thesis statement. (eg, Eating chocolate releases chemicals that make us want more).
  4. Now that you have found the link, you can create a thesis statement that takes the link between those ideas and focuses in to argue a point. (Eg “Eating chocolate is a pleasurable experience that releases chemicals in our brain that make us feel good, acting as a reward system that encourages us to go back for more.”)

The ideal thesis statement:

  • Is clear and to the point
  • Contains one sentence, maximum two
  • Argues a point, makes a stand
  • Is broad enough to break off into different points to back it up, but not so broad that it doesn’t have a clear argument

Once you get the hang of writing thesis statements, you’ll wonder how you ever structured essays and persuasive writing without them!

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JJ is a writer by night, & a Product Manager by day. She loves young adult and children’s fiction and is the co-founder of NZ Booklovers. She has a Masters in Creative Writing, and is an ex-English tutor. She lives in Auckland with her husband, daughter, and two chihuahuas.

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