Easy Ways to Write a Thesis Statement

Updated on January 28, 2020
VirginiaLynne profile image

Virginia has been a university English instructor for over 20 years. She specializes in helping people write essays faster and easier.

A list of tricks and tips to help you brainstorm and build a really great thesis statement.
A list of tricks and tips to help you brainstorm and build a really great thesis statement. | Source

A Good Thesis Statement...

  • explains what you want the reader to think, do, believe, or know.
  • is usually just one sentence.
  • usually comes at the end of the first or second paragraph.
  • may give a roadmap of the rest of the essay.

So... how do you write a really good one? Below, you'll find several brainstorming solutions for organizing your thoughts and building a strong and interesting thesis statement.

5 Easy Steps to Write a Thesis

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, have a lower standard of living, 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 help you build a solid 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.

— (example thesis statement)

How to Make a Great Thesis Sentence

Thesis Question
What other people think
, transition
thesis/what you think
: list of 3 or more topic ideas
Why do ?
, 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 solutions
Mix and match the sections of this chart to build your own terrific thesis statement.

Examples of 5 Types of Thesis Statements

Here are a variety of examples of thesis statements for different types of essays:

Thesis Statements That Assert a Cause

For example: 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 Americans' growing waistlines are caused by corporations that covertly add sugar to make foods more addictive, technology which has made people less active and more tied to their work, and too-large portions sizes in restaurants which have ingrained overeating into our habits.

Thesis Statements That Evaluate

For example: Does recycling make a difference? Although it's 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. When we all recycle, less waste goes into landfills, reuse becomes a natural reflex, and people get into better habits.

Thesis Statements That Explain

For example: 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 by learning about teamwork, realizing they must overcome defeat, and accepting their own role on the team.

Thesis Statements That Assert an Argument

For example: Should parents be concerned if their children are obsessed with horror movies? Although many people scoff at the idea that movies influence our behavior, in reality, parents need to be concerned about what their children are watching because children often can't tell truth from fiction, violent images desensitize them to real violence, and kids who watch violence obsessively may exhibit signs of deeper emotional problems. (To learn more about writing argumentative essays, read How to Write an Argumentative Essay, Step by Step.)

Expository Thesis Statements

Although this article might make you think that there is only one method for writing a good thesis statement, 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 organize your thoughts and write your essay more easily.

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

Using One Topic to Write 8 Essay Questions

Here is an example of the different kinds of essay questions you can come up with for the topic of horror movies.

Explaining: What are the shared characteristics of classic horror movies?

History: 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: How should parents handle the violence of horror movies and the effect it has on their kids? (To learn more about Problem/Solution essays, read How to Write a Problem Solution Essay: Step-by-Step Instructions.)

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

Argument: Do horror movies cause some people to act out the violence they see on the screen?

How to Use a Semicolon to Write a More Complex Thesis Statement

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

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

How can I use a semicolon in a thesis?

1. Combine two sentences by using a semicolon instead of a period (of course, the two sentences must be related to one another). Like this:

Sentence; sentence.

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

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

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.

How to Use a Colon to Make a Thesis That Has a List of Answers

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

Example: Looking at violence is dangerous: it causes people to be desensitized to real violence, it makes some viewers desire to imitate the violence or ignore the violence of others, and it leaves the viewer wanting even more violence and bloodier special effects.

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

  1. Check the first words of each list item. In the example above, each phrase starts with the same sorts of words: it causes, it makes, and it leaves.
  2. Can you finish the sentence ("Looking at violence is dangerous...") with all of the listed items? Test each assertion:
  • because watching violence causes people to be desensitized...
  • because watching violence makes some viewers imitate...
  • because watching violence leaves the viewer wanting even more...

Questions & Answers

  • What do you think of, "what is the effect of addiction to online gaming?" for a thesis?

    Other questions on this topic could be:

    1. Is online gaming addictive?

    2. When is a gaming addiction destructive?

    3. Can online gaming train people to deal with real-world problems?

  • How do I write about the difference between American and Filipino desserts or snacks? What I want to say that the difference is that Filipino snacks or desserts do not use as much sugar.

    Combine your ideas into one good comparison and contrast sentence. For example, you could say, "American and Filipino desserts are both delicious, but Filipino snacks and desserts do not use as much sugar or contain as many ingredients as American treats."

  • How can I use the question "Why is chocolate important?" as a topic for a thesis statement?

    Your question would be better if you narrowed it to explain what kind of importance you are talking about. Here are some ideas:

    1. Why is chocolate so important to me?

    2. Why is chocolate production so important in (choose a country)?

    3. Why is chocolate so important that people choose it as their favorite flavor?

    4. Why is chocolate so important in a healthy diet?

    5. Why is chocolate the favorite flavor of many people?

  • "How can a graduate degree further a career goal?" Would this be a good thesis statement?

    That topic is rather specific but could be a good thesis question. The answer to that question would be the thesis statement. Other possible questions could be:

    1. Why is a graduate degree important?

    2. How important to your career is a graduate degree?

  • Why is Head Start important?

    A good topic question generally can be answered in more than one way. Here are some better ways of wording this topic:

    1. How important is Head Start?

    2. Is Head Start an effective way to get children ready for school?

    3. Should Head Start programs be given more attention and support?


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    • profile image


      5 months ago

      I really enjoyed reading this article. Well organized and straightforward explanations with examples made this article very helpful and easy to understand resource. Thank you so much!

    • profile image

      Samuel Ndegwa 

      6 months ago

      This article has turned out to be the most resourceful articles I have ever read on thesis statements .Thanks alot

    • KC3Lady profile image

      Kelly Ann Christensen 

      7 months ago from Overland Park, Johnson County, Kansas

      Going back and reading articles like this is so helpful even if you still remember it from years ago. These articles are good refreshers, too! Your writing is clear, concise, and well organized. Thanks!

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      this article has really been helpful, i have been wondering how to start writing my thesis am glad to say i feel inspired to start immediately.

    • profile image

      Christina Gould 

      17 months ago

      i wish this has been around when i was doing writing tutoring in school.

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      I consider myself a pretty decent writer, however, in my 46 years of life, I've never had to write a thesis statement. After being away from college for 25 years, I'm back and am filled with determination to obtain my undergraduate degree. To satisfy graduation I must pass a writing proficiency test, which requires me to write a thesis statement. Your article has been a tremendous benefit as it will not only help me develop my thesis statement but will also help me structure my paper. I especially love the "Thesis Format Chart". Thank you for making this article available; it is truly invaluable.

    • AlexandraHoerl profile image

      Alexandra Hoerl 

      2 years ago from USA

      I wish this had been around when I was doing writing tutoring in graduate school. This would be useful not just for struggling writers, but for decent high school writers who might have been hamstrung by a particularly rigid teacher. I can't tell you how many people I've worked with who had it drilled into their head in high school English that a thesis had to be a single sentence. They couldn't understand why college professors were telling them this was not sufficient!

    • profile image

      Dorothy Tran 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Marie Meyer 

      2 years 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.

    • profile image

      Grand Old Lady 

      3 years 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.

    • profile image

      Emily Roesch 

      3 years 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

    • profile image

      Evan Gibbs 

      3 years 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 imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      3 years 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

      Glen Rix 

      3 years 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.

    • profile image


      4 years 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 

      4 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

    • profile image

      Molly Dempsey 

      4 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.

    • profile image

      Ashley Arceneaux 

      4 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.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      5 years ago from Hollister, MO

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

    • VirginiaLynne profile imageAUTHOR

      Virginia Kearney 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 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 

      5 years ago from Upstate New York

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


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