Easy Ways to Write a Thesis Statement

Updated on June 24, 2019
VirginiaLynne profile image

Virginia 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.


6 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, 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 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.

Making Your 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 reasons
Mix and match the sections of this chart to create your own terrific thesis statement.

5 Thesis Sentence 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 make a difference? Although, indeed, 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 truth 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

Using One Topic to Write 8 Questions

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 to Write a More Complex Sentence

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.

Using Colons in Lists

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...

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?

  • What do you think of, "How many generations of families are in jail and why?" for a thesis question?

    A thesis question needs to have a clearer and broader answer. Here are some better ones:

    1. What causes people to have generational poverty?

    2. Why do some families have many members who become incarcerated?

    3. How can we prevent generational incarceration?

    4. Are children of parents who are incarcerated more likely to go to prison themselves?

    5. How are poverty and incarceration related?

    6. How can we prevent people released from prison from returning?

  • "Was Shi Huang Di brilliant or brutal?" How can I develop this into a thesis statement?

    Your question is about the first emperor of China, who is also called Qin Shi Huang. He is generally credited with unifying China to start the first dynasty (Qin dynasty) as well as starting the project of The Great Wall and ordering the creation of the Terracotta Warriors for his burial. Your question is interesting but a better way to word it to create a good thesis question would be to leave the question more open-ended:

    1. How should we evaluate the life and works of Shi Huang Di?

    2. Is the legacy of Shi Huang Di something the Chinese people should admire?

  • 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?


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    • profile image


      8 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 

      9 months ago

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

    • profile image


      13 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 

      2 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


      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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