Writing Help: Thesis Statements

What is a thesis statement?

  • A thesis statement is an arguable assertion.
  • A thesis statement is the position you take on a topic.
  • A thesis statement is not a statement of the obvious.
  • A thesis statement is an assertion you can prove or strongly support within the space allotted for your essay.


A checklist for thesis statements:

  • Does my thesis clearly suggest my position and the argument I will develop concerning a specific topic?
  • Is my thesis more than a title, a statement of fact, an announcement of my subject, or a personal opinion?
  • Does my thesis pass the duh test? (see Jack Lynch, "Getting an A on an English Paper")
  • Can I prove my thesis with evidence (specific examples or facts)?

These definitions and guidelines have been adapted from: Checkmate: A Writing Reference for Canadians, Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference, Purdue's Online Writing Lab, and numerous other resources on the subject of composition.