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.
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 give you 15 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.
“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?
“Americans should eliminate the regular consumption of fast food because a fast food diet leads to preventable and expensive health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.”
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.
“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.
“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.”
Now that’s debatable.
Opponents could also 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!”).
Interested in picking up a few more tips about debating issues and perfecting the art of persuasion? Read How to Write a Persuasive Essay That’s Convincing.
3. A good argumentative thesis picks a side.
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.
Learn more about the importance of picking sides by reading the post The Secrets of a Strong Argumentative Essay.
“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.
“Secondhand smoke is just as harmful as smoking and leads to a higher prevalence of cancer and heart disease; therefore, 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 the post How to Create a Powerful Argumentative Essay Outline, your claims make up a critical part of building the roadmap to your argument.
“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?
“It is too late to save earth; therefore, humans should immediately set a date for their relocation to Mars, where they can, with proper planning, 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…”)
Looking for even more help understanding the key components of a strong thesis statement? Check out these posts:
- How to Write a Thesis Statement in 5 Simple Steps
- How to Turn a Good Thesis Statement Into a Great One
- How to Make a Thesis Statement the Easy Way (Infographic)
- How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement
Now that you have a better understanding of the all things thesis statement, here are 15 more thesis statement examples to inspire your next argumentative essay.
15 Thesis Statement Examples
Below are 15 debatable, supportable, and focused thesis statements for you to learn from. Feel free to customize them for use in your own argumentative essay.
As you read the following examples, 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. Vaccinations should be mandatory
Inspired by this sample essay on vaccinations.
Vaccinations against diseases such as polio, rubella, and mumps should be mandatory for all U.S. children who wish to attend school as 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, such as PRISM, should be banned 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.
#3. Organ donors should be financially compensated
Inspired by this sample essay on organ donation.
Organ donors should be financially compensated to increase the supply of available organs and, at the same time, to decrease profitable, illegal organ-harvesting activities in the black market.
#4. Schools are too dependent on technology
Inspired by this sample essay on technology dependence.
Schools’ dependence on technology has caused students to lose the ability to think independently, leading to a greater prevalence of mood disorders, memory loss, and loneliness.
#5. School officials should fight cyberbullying
Inspired by this sample essay on cyberbullying.
In order to improve the online behavior of students and decrease cyberbullying-related suicide attempts, school officials should have the authority to discipline students who engage in cyberbullying.
#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 comprising 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.
#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.
#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 United States will greatly benefit the medical sector by giving physicians the ability to prescribe this life-saving 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 because the practice has caused African countries to become vulnerable to inflation, currency fluctuations, corruption, and civil unrest.
#10. China’s one-child policy led to unintended and negative consequences
Inspired by this sample essay on China’s one-child policy.
China’s one-child policy was intended to help control population growth; however, it 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.
#11. Advertising to children is beneficial to the economy
Inspired by this sample essay on advertising to children.
Though some argue that advertising to children is harmful, it is actually a positive marketing technique that spurs economic growth.
#12. Most teen celebrities should not be role models for children
Inspired by this sample essay on teen celebrities as role models.
Teen celebrities often engage in inappropriate and sometimes illegal activities and thus should not be considered role models for children.
#13. The current welfare system promotes dependency
Inspired by this sample essay about the abuse of welfare.
The welfare system was designed to assist those in need; however, the current system does more harm than good by promoting government dependency.
#14. Schools should start at a later time of day
Inspired by this sample essay about school start times.
Beginning the school day at a later time would stabilize students’ sleep patterns, improve students’ moods, and increase students’ academic success.
#15. Schools should distribute birth control to teens
Inspired by this sample essay about birth control distribution in schools.
Though some argue that distributing condoms to teens means that schools are encouraging sexual behavior, schools should distribute birth control to reduce teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Now…Turn Your Thesis Statement Into an Essay
Any one of these thesis statement examples will get you started on the road to writing an awesome argumentative essay, but if none of these thesis statements or topics are working for you, try one of these:
- 70 Argumentative Essay Topics That Will Put Up a Good Fight
- 30 Argumentative Essay Ideas That Will Pick a Good Fight
Once your essay is finished, feel free to send it to a Kibin editor, who can check for grammar errors, sentence structure issues, and of course, the strength of your thesis.
Good luck with your essay!