Writing 101: The Thesis Statement

Writing 101: The Thesis Statement

Hey there, folks. Since Graduate School has been keeping me busy, I will be mostly focusing on Writing 101 articles for the remainder of the semester because they are easier to write and my job in the Writing Center keeps writing craft on my mind.

The Statement Itself

The thesis statement is one of the most vital elements of academic writing, as such it is also one of the more difficult elements to get right. Basically, a thesis statement is the essay’s argument distilled down to one or two sentences. It typewriter-932742_1280is a good idea to structure the thesis in a way that someone could pull it out of the essay and know exactly what the
paper is about. It should also cap off the introduction.

Now, I am not demanding that every essay be the same, but in this case the conventions are in place for a reason. When people read your article they need to know what it is about. You should aim to clarify and enlighten. As such, your introduction (which I will talk about in another Writing 101 article) and your thesis statement should be clear and easily identifiable.

The Bits and Pieces (note: the following mainly concerns MLA humanities essays)

Theses (plural of thesis) come in several forms that depend on your argument and approach, but there is a basic formula to crafting a clear thesis.

Necessary Components:

Subject- what are you talking about?

Author- who made it?

Point- what are you saying about the subject?

Elements- what is the subject using that illustrates your point? (ex. rhetorical strategies, theoretical concepts, etc)

For a basic argument essay regarding a text the thesis should be arranged in a logical fashion.

“Subject, by Author, uses Element 1 and Element 2 to highlight Point.”


“In Subject, Author makes Point through the use of Element 1, Element 2, and Element 3.”


“Author’s Subject is Point due to Element.”

Bare in mind that these are suggested templates for basic argumentative essays. Depending on the assignment, the subject may not be the text but something in the text that you want to draw out and look at specifically.

Thesis Craft

To create a thesis you will have to create an argument and decide what parts of your argument will fit each of the components. This requires you to do some mental work before you sit down to write your thesis because you need to start with an argument. Additionally, the formulas above are not the end all be all. They provide a starting place. Once you have figured out your argument and your components, you can always pretty the thesis up. Just be mindful that the statement is still clear and direct. The strongest thesis statements make a direct statement which makes the reader curious to find out how you support it.technology-785742_1920

How you create your thesis statements depends a great deal on the assignment and how you want to approach it, but the examples provided here should give you at lease a basis to get you started. It is difficult to give general instruction regarding the craft of thesis statements because they are so dependent on the paper. If you would like any more direct help, post a comment or essay issue below. I will endeavor to read them and get back to you with some more directed advice.