What Is a Thesis Statement?

A thesis statement is a summary of your argument in your essay. A good thesis statement functions as a road map for the piece of writing that lies ahead. It articulates a paper's main point in one or two sentences, and the rest of the paper serves to reinforce that point.

In short essays, a thesis statement typically falls within the introductory paragraph. It may be the very first sentence of an essay, or it may come at the end of the first paragraph.

How to Write a Strong Thesis Statement

A great thesis statement guides the essay-writing process. With practice, you’ll be able to write solid thesis statements for argumentative, expository, and analytical essays.

  • Brainstorm before you write. An eloquent or provocative thesis statement will do you little good if it's too difficult to defend. When writing a thesis statement, try to imagine the body paragraphs you could write to support it. Consider counterarguments, and make sure that you can argue for your thesis against those counterpoints.
  • Answer a specific question. Think of your thesis as the answer to an important question. Your thesis statement should help a potential reader understand why your essay is worth their time and what they will learn by reading your work.
  • Keep it concise. Most strong thesis statements can be expressed in a single complete sentence. A multi-sentence thesis statement may be appropriate, but take care not to launch too far into your argument. That's what the rest of your multi-page paper is for.
  • Visualize a wheel hub. Think of your thesis as the central hub for your whole essay. Your body paragraphs split off from the thesis, and your topic sentences attach each spoke to the hub. Like the hub of a wheel, your thesis must be central to your paper's content, the home base to which that content returns. If your thesis isn't strong enough to fulfill this role, revise it or find a stronger one.
Image of topic to thesis statement
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