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Thesis Statements: Examples

Example 1

Poor

Bullying in elementary schools is getting worse, because children model what they see at home and there are more cases of physical and emotional child abuse, and this causes various emotional problems in children.

Better

In order to be truly effective, anti-bullying policies should focus on the home life of the bully, because of the strong connection between parental actions and attitudes and the way a student treats his or her peers.

Explanation

The first example tries to cover too many topics: bullying is getting worse, bullying is related to the student's home life, and bullying causes various emotional problems in children.  The second example focuses only on the connection between a student's home life and tendency towards bullying.

Example 2

Poor

Abortion is a terrible practice that only deranged, baby-killing monsters would advocate under the guise of being pro-choice.

Better

Despite the appeal of freedom of choice, the legalization of abortion has been detrimental to the well-being of women in America.

Explanation

The first example states a strong opinion, but does not offer any facts to back it up.  The explosive language is likely to alienate even readers who may have been sympathetic to the writer's position.  The second example promises to offer a rational, if still opinioned, look at the issue.

Example 3

Poor

Texting your sister who is in the next room to ask her to bring you your backpack means that you should get a life.

Better

The use of technology to replace face to face communication increases the feeling of isolation among American youth.

Explanation

The first statement is too specific to be a thesis statement.  If reworded for a more academic structure, the specific anecdote could be used to prove a broader point, but, as it is, the author would have difficulty writing an entire paper about this one incident.  The second thesis statement is broad enough that an entire paper could be written about it.

Example 4

Poor

The government should legalize the use of marijuana.

Better

The governement should legalize the use of marijuana in order to benefit from sales taxes of the drug and in order to make it more easily available to people who need it for medical reasons.

Explanation

The first statement is debatable, but gives no sign that the author has any reasons for making such a statement.  The second thesis statement offers logical reasons, which the reader can assume the author will expound upon in the rest of the paper.

Example 5

Poor

People who are healthy and have healthy organs should be allowed to find other people in need of organs that they don't need, like a kidney, and sell them to the other people because that could save lives if a financial incentive was offered, instead of just relying on people's charity.

Better

The purchase and sale of organs should be legalized in order to better facilitate the saving of lives.

Explanation

More words don't always make a better thesis.  The second thesis statement is much clearer.  The example of the first thesis statement could be included earlier in the paragraph to help illustrate what is being argued, especially since the subject matter is rather unusual.

Example 6

Poor

Beauty contests are sexist and detrimental to society, and they should be banned everywhere. 

Better

Beauty contests, while they may increase confidence in those who perform in them, can be sexist and harmful because they encourage objectification of women and put an overemphasis on physical appearance. 

Explanation

The first example is too simple and opinionated. The writer gives his or her point of view, but does not back it up with reasons or facts -- it is just stated. It also offers an overly simplified and extreme solution to the problem. The second example, while still offering a concrete opinion on the subject, gives reasons for this view. The writer is informing the reader of how he or she will go about defending his or her stance. 

Example 7

Poor

Smoking causes lung damage and other health problems. 

Better

Smoking should be made illegal in the United States because of the health problems that it causes. 

Explanation

The first example is not a point that can be argued against; it is widely known and accepted that smoking is unhealthy. Why write a paper explaining something that everybody already knows and agrees about? The second example can be argued, however: making smoking illegal is one possible solution to the problem, but it still needs to have evidence and argument to back it up because not everybody believes that this is a good solution. 

Example 8

Poor

Exams are not the best way to determine academic successs. 

Better

Exams determine students' talent at test-taking and recall rather than their actual understanding of the material; therefore, instead of exams alone, instructors should employ several different ways of measuring student success, including papers and projects.  

Explanation

The first example is too broad; it is more of a general topic rather than a thesis. The second example is much more specific. It narrows the thesis down from the problem itself to the solution to the problem. 

Example 9

Prompt: Describe a character from the movie who shows compassion.

Poor

Jack shows compassion.

Better

Jack shows compassion through his kind words, his selfless volunteering, and his forgiveness of Alicia's quick temper.

Explanation

The first example simply uses the prompt as the thesis statement.  The second example offers support for the statement, preparing the reader for an essay about how Jack's kind words, selfless volunteering and forgiveness show his compassion.

Example 10

Poor

One thing I am going to talk about today is one thing that happened to me one time when I was on this one trip at a place that I was staying at for a certain amount of time. 

Better

Standing on a mountain-top in Israel was an experience that redefined my faith and helped me decide to become an archeologist.

Explanation

The first example is very vague, providing the reader with almost no information.  The second example gives the reader a clear idea of what the essay is going to be about.  The first example also announces what the author plans to do.  It is much better to launch right into the essay, thereby demosntrating to the reader the purpose of the essay.