Have you ever watched a great film trailer and thought, “I have to see that movie!”? A good trailer gives you the basic premise of the movie, shows you the highlights, and encourages you to want to see more.
A good thesis statement will accomplish the same thing. It gives readers an idea of the most important points of an essay, shows the highlights, and makes them want to read more.
A well-constructed thesis serves as a lighthouse for your readers, offering them a guiding light in the stormy sea of claims and evidence that make up your argumentative essay.
It will also help keep you, the writer, from getting lost in a convoluted and directionless argument.
Most importantly, a good thesis statement makes a statement. After all, it’s called a thesis statement for a reason!
“This is an interesting statement!” you want your reader to think, “Let’s see if this author can convince me.”
This blog post will dissect the components of a good thesis statement and will give you 10 thesis statement examples that you can use to inspire your next argumentative essay.
The Thesis Statement Dissected
Before I give you a blanket list of thesis statement examples, let’s run through what makes for a good thesis statement. I’ve distilled it down to four main components.
1. A good argumentative thesis is focused and not too broad.
It’s important to stay focused! Don’t try to argue an overly broad topic in your essay, or you’re going to feel confused and unsure about your direction and purpose.
Don’t write, “Eating fast food is bad and should be avoided.”
This statement is too general and would be nearly impossible for you to defend. It leaves a lot of big questions to answer. Is all fast food bad? Why is it bad? Who should avoid it? Why should anyone care?
Do write, “Americans should eliminate the regular consumption of fast food because the fast food diet leads to preventable and expensive health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.”
In this example, I’ve narrowed my argument to the health consequences related to a diet of fast food. I’ve also chosen to focus on Americans rather than everyone in the universe. (Because, as we all know, inhabitants of the faraway planet Doublepatty 5 require the starches and fats inherent in fast food to survive).
2. A good argumentative thesis is centered on a debatable topic.
Back in the ‘80s, teens loved to say “that’s debatable” about claims they didn’t agree with (such as “you should clean your room” and “you shouldn’t go to that movie”). This age-old, neon-colored, bangle-wearing, peg-legged wisdom holds true today—in your thesis statement.
Don’t write, “There are high numbers of homeless people living in Berkeley, California.”
No one can argue for or against this statement. It’s not debatable. It’s just a fact.
An argument over this non-debatable statement would go something like this:
“There are lots of homeless people in Berkeley.”
“Yes, there sure are a bunch of them out there.”
As you can see, that’s not much of an argument.
Do write, “Homeless people in Berkeley should be given access to services, such as regular food donations, public restrooms, and camping facilities, because it would improve life for all inhabitants of the city.”
Opponents could easily argue that homeless people in Berkeley already receive adequate services (“just look at all those luxurious sidewalks!”), or perhaps that they shouldn’t be entitled to services at all (“get a job, ya lazy loafers!”).
3. A good argumentative thesis picks a side.
I went into a lot of detail about the importance of picking sides in my post The Secrets of a Strong Argumentative Essay. Picking a side is pretty much the whole entire point of an argumentative essay.
Just as you can’t root for both the Yankees and the Mets, you can’t argue both sides of a topic in your thesis statement.
Don’t write, “Secondhand smoke is bad and can cause heart disease and cancer; therefore, smoking should be outlawed in public places, but outlawing smoking is unfair to smokers so maybe non-smokers can just hold their breath or wear masks around smokers instead.”
A wishy-washy statement like this will make your reader scratch his head in puzzlement. Are you for smoking laws or against them? Yankees or Mets? Mets or Yankees?
Pick a side, and stick with it!
Then stick up for it.
Do write, “Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking and leads to a higher prevalence of cancer and heart disease. What’s worse, people who inhale secondhand smoke are doing so without consent. For this reason, smoking in any public place should be banned.”
4. A good thesis makes claims that will be supported later in the paper.
As I explained in my blog post How to Create a Powerful Argumentative Essay Outline, Your claims make up a critical part of building the roadmap to your argument.
It’s important to first include a summary of your claims in your thesis statement. During the course of your essay, you will back each of your claims with well-researched evidence.
Don’t write, “Humans should relocate to Mars.”
This statement doesn’t include any supporting claims. Why should humans move to Mars? What are the benefits of moving to a planet without oxygen or trees?
Do write, “It is too late to save earth; therefore, humans should immediately set a date for their relocation to Mars where, with proper planning, they can avoid issues of famine, war, and global warming.”
This statement includes some thought-provoking claims. The reader will wonder how the author plans to defend them. (“Famine, war, and global warming can be easily avoided on Mars? Go on…”)
Now that you understand the four main components of a good thesis statement, let me give you more thesis statement examples.
10 Thesis Statement ExamplesFinally, I’ve come up with 10 debatable, supportable, and focused thesis statements for you to learn from. Feel free to copy these and customize them for use in your own argumentative essays.
There are a couple of things to be aware of about the following examples:
- I have not done the research needed to support these claims. So some of the claims may not be useable once you dig into them.
- Be careful not to use these thesis statements word-for-word; I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble if your teacher did a copy/find Google maneuver on you!
#1. Why Vaccinations Should Be Mandatory
Inspired by this sample essay on vaccinations.
Today, nearly 40% of American parents refuse to vaccinate their children due to a variety of unfounded fears. Vaccinations against diseases such as polio, rubella, and mumps, should be mandatory, without exception, for all children of the U.S. who wish to attend school. These vaccinations are critical to the control and eradication of deadly infectious diseases.
#2. Government Surveillance Is Harmful
Inspired by this sample essay on government surveillance.
Government surveillance programs do more harm than good because they invade civil liberties, lead innocent people to suffer unfair punishments, and ultimately fail to protect the citizens that they are designed to safeguard. For these reasons, programs such as PRISM operated by the NSA should be discontinued.
#3 Financial Compensation for Organ Donors
Inspired by this sample essay on organ donation.
People who sign up for organ donation freely give their hearts and other organs, but this free system limits the number of available donors and makes it difficult for recipients to access lifesaving transplants. Thus, organ donors should be financially compensated to produce more available organs and, at the same time, to decrease profitable, illegal organ harvesting activities in the black market.
#4. Our School Is Too Dependent on Technology
Inspired by this sample essay on technology dependence.
Our school’s dependence on technology has caused students to lose the ability to think independently. This dependence has caused a greater prevalence of mood disorders, memory loss, and loneliness. Educators should combat these issues by requiring students to participate in regular technology detoxes.
#5 School Officials’ Should Fight Cyberbullying
Inspired by this sample essay on cyberbullying.
Bullying has extended far beyond school and into cyberspace. Even though these acts of aggression take place outside of school boundaries, school officials should have the authority to discipline students who engage in cyberbullying without fear of reprisal. Doing so will help improve the online behavior of students and decrease incidences of cyberbully-related suicide attempts.
#6 The U.S. Media Should Update the Depiction of Traditional Families
Inspired by this sample essay on families.
The U.S. media depicts the traditional family as being comprised of a mother, father, and children; however, this notion of the traditional family is outdated and can be harmful to children who look to this as the gold standard. The U.S. media should, therefore, expand and redefine the definition of the traditional American family to include divorced and remarried parents, extended families living together, and families with same-gender parents. This will increase the overall sense of happiness and well-being among children whose families don’t necessarily fit the mold.
#7 Student Loans Should Be Forgiven
Inspired by this sample essay on student loans.
Crippling student debt is stifling the growth of the U.S. economy because it inhibits graduates from being able to spend money on consumer goods and home purchases. To alleviate this, lenders should be required to forgive student loans in cases where students are unable to repay their debts. Doing so would benefit the growth of the economy by increasing tax revenues, unfreezing credit markets, and creating jobs.
#8 Marijuana Should Be Legalized
Inspired by this sample essay on legalizing marijuana.
Marijuana has numerous medical applications, such as treating symptoms of epilepsy, cancer, and glaucoma. Legalizing the use of marijuana in the U.S. will greatly benefit the medical sector by giving physicians access to this lifesaving drug.
#9 Foreign Aid to Africa Does Not Work
Inspired by this sample essay on foreign aid to Africa.
Sending foreign aid to African countries is doing more harm than good, and it should be discontinued; the practice has caused African countries to become vulnerable to inflation, currency fluctuations, corruption, and civil unrest.
#10 China’s One-Child Policy Should Be Reversed
Inspired by this sample essay on China’s one-child policy.
China’s one-child policy was intended to help control population growth. Instead, it has led to unintended and negative consequences, such as a diminishing labor force, an aging population, the neglect of basic human rights, and an unbalanced gender population. To improve China’s situation, the policy should be reversed.
Any one of these thesis statement examples will get you started on the road to writing an awesome argumentative essay. Once your essay is finished, feel free to send it to a Kibin editor who can check it for grammar, sentence structure, and the strength of your thesis.
Good luck with your essay!
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
I like DDLC and Monika is my Waifu 4 weeks ago
I like this
aidan 8 weeks ago
can you add topics about pitching
Virginia Kearney 4 months agofrom United States
Hi Ryan--I'll add some! Good idea! My students are mostly between 18-22, but many students writing argument essays are older.
Ryan 4 months ago
I love your articles, they are really helpful to me.
Virginia, Could you help me think of an argumentative topic about retirement age? I do not know how to write about it!
bill 4 months ago
wow thanks virginia, this really helped me out!!!!
Virginia Kearney 4 months agofrom United States
Hi Stephen-I have several articles that tell you all of the steps you need to know for writing your argument paper. Just look at my profile or look at the articles linked to the side.
Stephen 4 months ago
Ammmm can u tell me how or what to do after I chose a topic like getting info.
I LOVE RESEARCH 4 months ago
wow, quite impressive. keep up the good work!! :)))))))))))
marisol 4 months ago
this really helped me
aziza 4 months ago
I would like to thank you so so much for these great topics.
Shaleeta 6 months ago
This is a great resource. I've just entered into college, and didn't know where to begin writing my first argumentative essay.
Thanks so much - voted up :)
Kennedy 6 months ago
Do you know or have you written of anything to do with the argumentative essay of "should smoking be banned" because I have to do essays with research and I need some reliable sites
Virginia Kearney 6 months agofrom United States
Hi Aashi! I'm glad that younger students are finding my work too. Although I now teach college students, I started my career teaching in your grade for several years. I will have to put together some topics for primary grade students. Until then, you might want to look at my High School Topics, which have many ideas which are good for your age too.
Aashi 6 months ago
I am in primary school in grade 6 and I want some good topics for primary students
Badass 8 months ago
Good job making this page
Thea 8 months ago
I don't know what to do at first. I was clueless and was browsing for answers but none of them made sense except for this. Thank you very much!
love 9 months ago
I think the ideas are wonderful and are very helpful!
Beth 9 months ago
I am a Junior in high school and I have to write an argumentative paper. Your insight on how to do so has been extremely helpful. I wanted to thank you for your intelligence on how to write an argumentative paper.
Ocean 11 months ago
Thanks! This website was very useful for picking out a topic for my essay. Again, thank you for helping me out!
King of Stuff 13 months ago
I find this website very interesting and helpful. Thank you for making it! Your tips on writing essays is really helping me out.
Mr. fluffypants 13 months ago
I love this article. You have helped me with my school essay. Thank you!
letter pile 13 months ago
I LOVE this website!!!! Thank you so much for writing it! It has helped me so much!
Virginia Kearney 14 months agofrom United States
Hi Nataly! You are welcome to shift the focus of the questions to whether governments should take action. My questions and topic ideas are just a starting point. I teach my students that there are a variety of ways to solve problems and one of those is by having governments or larger groups take action. However, I want my students to focus more on how they and their audience can personally take responsibility and action, so often my questions are more locally written. In my class, I focus on having my students address a very particular audience in their persuasive essays because effective arguments come from really thinking carefully about the viewpoint of the other person and developing points that would persuade that person. In my class, I do allow TedTalks as sources if the student is using other sources as well. However, I don't think all professors do accept that type of source. Most people who do TedTalks have written out their arguments in papers or books, so I'd suggest you research to see if there is an online paper you can cite as well.
Nataly 14 months ago
I find your lists great and really appreciate the idea of providing useful links. Still, I would rather shift the focus of some questions so that they ask students to think more globally, from the point of view of the state and the society. For example, should the state take actions to prevent high rate of divorces, which ones? Are people in developed states responsible for providing water and food to the starving people around the globe?, etc. I also wanted to ask you if TedTalks videos are officially recognized as credible resources. Have you ever heard of any cases when professors forbid to use it? Thank you for a good work!
Hulya Gulyurt 15 months ago
This helped me so much with my homework, thank you!
Abdul 15 months ago
Great Efforts ...Well done
kk 15 months ago
i am a kid
vashan 17 months ago
should guns be allowed on school campus
Virginia Kearney 19 months agofrom United States
This is an interesting topic idea bojoi--and definitely one that would be controversial. I'd love to hear how you would develop your thesis.
preetyradd 20 months ago
i think this is cool i got a good grade on my essay thanks
Kanwal asif 20 months ago
Thank u so much God bless u
Virginia Kearney 23 months agofrom United States
Glad this will help you three keys!
Threekeys 23 months agofrom Australia
Im about to try out your suggestions in this great article. Im excited to see what the outcome will be in how I take a more pointed or comprehensive approach in a "written debate" so to speak. Thanks so much!
djazira k 2 years ago
Thank you it is really helpful.
kamila 2 years ago
Thank you so much for the topics
Trisha Roberts 3 years agofrom Rensselaer, New York
Love the great ideas! Absolutely love the list you shared with us. Thank you so much for this Article!
Kalai 3 years agofrom Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Sometimes i find that the most easy or obvious topic the hardest to argue about. The less the words the greater the headache. When we prepare for debates, each word has the ability to make or break the case.
Rae Saylor 4 years agofrom Australia
What an interesting range of ideas and tips! Massive thanks for writing this, pal! Voted up :)
Eiddwen 4 years agofrom Wales
A great hub Victoria ;thanks for sharing and I vote up.
Dianna Mendez 4 years ago
This is very useful to those who must teach essay writing (and to those who must write them). I know I will be using this next time I teach English Comp. Voted up++
ExpectGreatThings 4 years agofrom Illinois
Wow! This is a very impressive list and great instructions. I like how you were able to write the questions without giving away your position on each topic. - Ginger
Eric Dierker 4 years agofrom Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.
Very interesting. Fun ideas and great food for thought.