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Writing Strategies and Grammar

Thesis Statements

The textbook way students tend to approach thesis statements is to say, “this paper will be about,” without saying it quite so crudely. But when papers lack aim, or arguments get disorganized in the body paragraph, a poorly formed thesis statement is often to blame. While the thesis statement provides the overall topic for a paper, without creating an arguable position to support the observations and facts on the subject, writing content for an essay becomes increasingly harder.

Creating a thesis statement PRIOR to drafting is essential to determining the essay’s real focus. Thesis statements guide the writer through the paper’s development. While different areas of study require thesis statements to work in different ways, approaching it in an analytical statement can help you begin to organize it into a beginning draft.

Note: Your claim may vary based on the type of assignment or topic, but will often fall into one of these categories:
1. Claim of definition to argue whether something is a true fact.
2. Claim of cause and effect that one thing causes another to occur
3. Claim of solution to argue ideas in approaching a problem
4. Claim of value to define something of worth and how we should rate it.


In general, a thesis statement follows the structure of an analytical statement,

There are two parts to an analytical statement:

  1. Fact (or facts) about X, where X is whatever topic you’re discussing.
  2. Your claim (or claims) based on the fact(s).

Let’s imagine you’re writing an argumentative thesis statement about The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Example: During the reaping, Katniss takes her little sister’s place in the games, which symbolizes the types of sacrifices that older sisters must make for their younger siblings.

Part one is inarguable and part two (italicized) is arguable. Throughout the essay, it is your job to prove the argumentative claim using evidence from the primary source, your own analysis, and in some cases research.

Note: Use analytical words to tie the fact + claim (ie: demonstrates, symbolizes, illustrates, etc.) when creating a thesis but make sure you’re using the best word for your rhetorical stance.