Grammar Guide III: Thesis Statements

Thesis statements are the bones of a paper but they can be hard to begin. This guide is full of tips & tricks to help create powerful thesis statements!


The first thing to do for your thesis statement is pick what kind of paper you’re  writing.

What this means: Narrow the focus of the work by deciding if it’s analytical, explanatory, narrative, or persuasive

Example: Making a claim about a topic(s) and justifying that claim = persuasive → “Millersville students enjoy the pond more than any other place on campus, this is because…”


Find a placement for your thesis statement that works for your paper. 

What this means: A thesis statement is traditionally at the end of the intro paragraph; however, for some papers it actually functions better within the conclusion to wrap up all the ideas. 

Example:Persuasive essays have a “convince” component therefore the thesis works better in the beginning; narrative essays have a “story” component so there is more placement flexibility


Don’t be afraid to change it!

What this means: Essays change and flow as you write them, sometimes thesis statements need to change and that is normal

Example: You originally thought more Millersville students liked the pond the most, as you research you find out they like the pond and the library equally – your thesis statement needs to mirror these findings. 


Make sure it is clear & coherent.

What this means: Your thesis statement needs to set up the focus for the paper, it sets the tone. You want it to be clear and direct to the point. You also want it to give a coherent tone throughout your paper.

Example: You don’t want to have a 5 sentence thesis statement filled with unnecessary information → clear. You don’t want your paper to have a professional tone and your thesis statement to be informal → cohesive. 


Thesis statements should be focused and avoid generalization.

What that means: Thesis statements need to have clarity and focus, generalizations do not stand up well because then the paper will have a general voice not a clear one.  

Example: “Many people feel the effects of climate change.” → TRY→ “Due to the expansion of knowledge on social media, more people are turning their attention to the effects of climate change.” 


Make sure the main topics listed in your thesis statement are the topics addressed in your body paragraphs. 

What that means: If you list certain main points within your thesis statement, they need to carry through to the body paragraphs and conclude together in the conclusion – WITHOUT adding extra main topics not included in the thesis.  

Example: “Students at Millersville enjoy reading, eating, and singing around campus because of the happy atmosphere the university strives to have.” → the body paragraphs should then address the 3 main topics, explain them, give background/evidence, and create a case. Then be wrapped up together in the conclusion. (An example on how not to do this is to take the same above idea, but add a random paragraph about doing theater and or adding new information not stated into your conclusion.)


Thesis statements DO NOT have to be only one sentence!

What that means: If your thesis statements need to be broken up into a few sentences that is okay! Especially if it is a very long paper with a lot of data to go over. However, it should be 1-2 sentences, 3 at the very very most. 

Example: “Students at Millersville University tend to like the company of furry friends over real ones. The love for animals on the campus is staggering, however, the dog is enjoyed more so than the cat, fish, or bird.”


Additional Resources to Utilize: