Write a Great THESIS STATEMENT [and a great essay]

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The Thesis Statement tells the reader what the topic is, and then, gives direction as to what the writer will say about the topic.

The topic can be a single word or a simple phrase, such as Mother Teresa, or Mother Teresa was a missionary nun. The topic is then followed by the controlling idea.


Mother Teresa devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa was a missionary nun, who devoted her life to caring for the sick and poor of Calcutta.

Note: The thesis statement may also provide points of development to be discussed in the body paragraphs.

Opinion Thesis Statement

In an opinion essay the writer tries to persuade the readers that their opinion on a particular controversial subject is correct.  To do this effectively the thesis statement must clearly state the writer’s opinion, and the points of development, either in one sentence, or in two.

Writing Prompt: Some people believe we should protect plants on the planet.  Other people believe we should not protect them, but allow them to live.  What is your opinion?  Support your opinion with details and examples.

Let’s say you are in favor of protecting plants from extinction.  You could begin your thesis statement by saying:

Plants are important to the planet’s survival, as they balance oxygen levels, provide food and clothing, and help maintain human health.

As you can see this thesis statement, not only gives direction as to where the essay is going, but it also provides three points of development for the three body paragraphs.

Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement

The compare and contrast thesis statement needs to contain the two topics that are being compared, and the points of comparison. In the first example below apples and oranges are the two topics being compared.  Where they are grown and how they are used are the two points of comparison.  Also, note that a compare and contrast thesis statement can have two sentences.  The first one with the two topics, and the second one with the points of comparison.


  • Apples and oranges are different (similar) in two fundamental ways; where they are grown and how they are used.
  • Apples and oranges differ in three ways.  They have unique tastes, smells, and textures.
  • Apples and oranges have both similarities and differences.  While they are grown and used in similar ways, they are distinct in taste, smell, and texture.
  • While apples and oranges are similar in where they are grown and how they are used, they differ in taste and texture.

Argumentative Thesis Statement

An Argumentative Thesis Statement is based on a debatable topic that is focused on a controversial issue.  In the thesis statement, the writer clearly makes a claim on the point they are arguing, and gives plausible reason(s) for that position.


  • Americans should limit the amount of fatty foods consumed, as these have been directly connected to diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
  • Students should be encouraged to exercise on a regular bases, because consistent physical activity builds the body as well as the mind.

Problem-Solution Thesis Statement

The problem-solution thesis statement can be one sentence or two.  Whether it is one or two sentence, it needs to clearer state what the problem is, and then the possible solutions.


  • Excessive noise from traffic poses health risks to people of all ages. Researchers have developed two possible solutions to protect people and still preserve the flow of traffic.

Cause and Effect Thesis Statement

Cause and Effect essays can be organized in three basic patterns: a focus on causes, a focus on effects, and a focus on a chain of events frequently call the domino effect.

Focus on Causes

  • Thesis Statement: Noise pollution is caused mainly by three factors: the growing number of cars, the increase use of technology, and the demand of larger industry.

Focus on Effects

  • Thesis Statement: As noise pollution increases, especially in metropolitan areas, it has significant effects on the physical and the mental health of the people.


  • Thesis Statement: Eventually, as unemployment continues at the current numbers, society will reach a state of despair that could lead to anarchy.

Richard Carrigan, MSE

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years and a filmmaker for the past ten years. He has experience teaching English as a Second Language in Asia and teaching university students in the United States. He earned his undergraduate degree from Loma Linda University and his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.

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