How to Write a Thesis
- Think of an argument.
- Support the argument with main points.
- Create a sentence which introduces the argument and its supporting points.
For example, imagine you are writing an anti-smoking essay.
Smoking is bad for you and you should not do it.
Smoking causes health problems like cancer and emphysema. It also harms people other than the smoker through secondhand smoke.
Because smoking causes harm to both the smoker and others, it should be avoided.
In this thesis statement, the writer clearly states the argument of the paper and its focus: harm caused to the smoker and people around the smoker.
For a second example, consider an essay about J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye.
The Catcher in the Rye examines a main theme of isolation.
Holden isolates himself by calling others phonies. Holden feels lonely and sad due to isolation. Holden feels isolated because he is not a child but he is not an adult.
In the novel The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger examines isolation through Holden’s distrust of others, depression and loneliness, and a difficult stage of life.
In this example, the main theme of the novel is clearly expressed with numerous supporting points to be examined more in-depth throughout the essay.
When to Use a Thesis
Thesis statements can be used in formal essays, research papers, nonfiction pieces, narratives, and even pieces of fiction. Oftentimes, documentaries argue a main point in film similar to a thesis in writing. Thesis statements should be expressed early on in the composition, most often in the first paragraph, the introduction paragraph. Because thesis statements are very formal, they will not be found in creative writing such as short stories, poems, and songs.