How to Write a Thesis Statement – Tutorial with Examples

A thesis statement for an argumentative essay is found in the first paragraph and consists of the main point followed by several supporting points.

I’m Tutor Phil, and in this tutorial, I’ll guide you through writing a thesis statement for your essay – step by step.

Thesis vs Thesis Statement

First, I should explain the difference between a Thesis and a Thesis Statement. Let me give my simple definitions.  

A Thesis is your main point. It can usually be expressed in one sentence. 

Example of a Thesis:

“College life is hard.”

A really complex main point can sometimes take up more than a sentence. But this only happens in advanced papers where the ideas are really complex. 

A Thesis Statement is a complete statement of your main point AND your supporting points put together into one paragraph. 

It’s easy to remember it this way:

Thesis Statement = Thesis + Statement of evidence

Here is an example of a Thesis Statement:

“College life is hard. Homework is difficult, professors are strict, and cafeteria food is bad.”

As you’ll see in a moment, your thesis statement can have more than just two sentences. But this is an example of a very brief but clear and complete thesis statement. 

A long, complex paper can have a thesis statement that takes up two or more paragraphs. But again, don’t worry about it unless you are writing a PhD dissertation or some other advanced paper. 

Now that we’re done with definitions, let’s dive into our step-by-step process. I’ll teach you the steps, and then I’ll give you additional examples. 

Writing a thesis statement is a 3-step process.  

Step 1. Decide on your main point and write it down.

In this first step, you need to simply state what it is that you are trying to say in your essay. In other words, you must state your main point. 

That’s how you start your thesis statement – with the thesis. 

Your thesis (main point) consists of these parts:

Subject + Verb (+ Object) 

The Subject is the thing, person, or idea that you are discussing in your essay. It’s what or whom your essay is about. 

The Verb explains what you are trying to say about your Subject in a nutshell. Very often one word explains it all. 


“College life stinks.”

I don’t think an explanation is necessary. The subject is clear – it’s college life. What about it? It stinks – that’s the verb. 

The Object is optional but is often present. 


“I love college life.”

Here, “I” is the subject, “love” is the verb, and “college life” is the object. 

Your task is to write a statement in the Subject + Verb (+Object) format.

Thesis Example – About Exercise 

Let’s say that you need to write an essay about exercise or fitness. In Step 1, you simply need to decide on what position you take about exercise. 

So, just make a simple statement in this format:

Exercise + Verb (+ Object)


"Exercise can be positively addictive."


This thesis (main point) tells me exactly what this essay is about and what you want to say about it. 

And guess what – we’re done with Step 1. Now we need some supporting ideas, and so it’s time for Step 2. 

Step 2. Come up with three supporting ideas.

You only need three good supporting ideas to show that your main point is true or valid. This is why I teach the Power of Three.

You see, when it comes to numbers, the human brain thinks like this: “One, two, three, many…” 🙂

Any more than three, and the human mind starts to forget what this is all about. 

This makes three the ideal number of supporting ideas. It is very easy to deal with and helps you structure a great thesis statement and a well-written essay. 

Let’s first state our complete thesis, given that we know we will have three supporting points:

Exercise can be positively addictive because of three processes.

And now our job is to come up with those three supporting points. One thing to keep in mind is that the supporting points must be different from one another. 

Let’s take a stab at it:

First, I’m thinking that exercise stimulates the release of endorphins which are addictive. 

Second, exercise is known to produce muscle tone which is an addictive sensation. 

Third… Hmm… what now?

Yes, you’ll find that the first two points are usually easy to find. But the third one takes a little more time and brain power. But we can do it:

Third, regular exercise creates a biological rhythm that leads to ritualized behavior. 

Note that all three of these supporting points are very different from one another. 

  • Endorphins have to do with endocrinology and hormones. 
  • Muscle tone is a physical sensation. 
  • And ritualized behavior is about behavior, which is different from both hormones and physical sensation. 

A common mistake is to come up with supporting points that are too similar to one another. The problem with this is that when you start writing the body of the essay, you can easily get stuck.

So, make sure to keep your supporting points distinct enough from one another. 

Guess what – we’re done with Step 2!

Now we have everything we need to do the next step where we write out the entire thesis statement as a complete paragraph.

Step 3. Write your main point and the supporting ideas into one paragraph.

We wrote our thesis and supporting points very succinctly. In other words, we just wrote down the bare bones of what we wanted to say.

Now, as we write out the complete thesis statement, we will expand slightly on our ideas. This way we can write a nice, juicy paragraph that is easy to read. We also tell the reader in some detail what to expect in the body of the essay. 

Based on our thesis and supporting points, here is our complete thesis statement.

Complete Thesis Statement Example

“Exercise can be positively addictive because of three processes. First, some forms of exercise stimulate the release of endorphins which are addictive. Second, exercise can give the person a feeling of muscle tone which, when exercising discontinues, fades and makes the person crave exercise to regain it. Finally, exercising regularly creates a new rhythm within the person’s physiology that makes the person wake up at the same time and just head straight to the gym without thinking about it.”

And as soon as we finish that last sentence of the thesis statement, we should start a new paragraph and begin supporting the thesis. We should start with the first supporting point – that exercise can produce the addictive endorphins.

How many sections will the body of the essay have? You already know the answer – it’s three: about endorphins, about muscle tone, and about ritualized behavior. See how this works?

Note that your thesis statement is also your outline of the essay. It tells you exactly how many sections you have and what to write in each section. 

You can use these three easy steps to write a great thesis statement on any topic. 

Now, let’s take a look at additional examples of how to write a thesis statement from scratch. 

More Examples of Thesis Statements 

Let me walk you through the creation of several more thesis statements. This will help you get a firmer grasp of how to start a thesis statement and how to complete it.

Thesis Statement Example: “City schools vs village schools”

This essay topic came right out of a real-life assignment one subscriber sent me. 

I actually created a video based on it, and you can watch it below:

Let’s tackle this topic.

Step 1. Decide on your main point and write it down

When my subscriber sent it to me, she included the main point. Here is the actual sentence she sent me:

“City schools are more advantageous than village schools.”

So, we have Step 1 completed for us here. The author took a stand and wrote a clear, complete sentence that is our thesis. 

Step 2 – Come up with three supporting points

We’ll use the Power of Three here. All we need to do is find three ways in which city schools are better than village schools. So let’s think of them one by one.

  1. First, I’m thinking that city schools would probably have better technology, such as smart boards, the internet, and so on.
  2. Second, I’m thinking that city schools may have better libraries – for example – why not?
  3. And finally, city schools may have more teachers.

And we have our structure. We have the thesis. And we have our three ways in which city schools are supposedly better or more advantageous. 

And now we have everything we need to do Step 3 and write out the complete thesis statement.

Step 3. Write the complete thesis statement in one paragraph

City schools are more advantageous than village schools, in three ways. City schools have access to more advanced technology, such as the internet and smart boards. They usually boast more extensive libraries. And they often have more teachers who specialize in different subjects.

Note that this is a comparative essay. We are comparing city schools with village schools. How do we structure such an essay?

The easiest way to do it is to keep our three main sections and divide each section into two subsections. Look at this diagram:

We should first discuss city schools and then village schools in each section. We must make sure that we present city schools as better in each section. And the contrast will be clear.

See, when you’re clear about your main and supporting points, everything else becomes a lot easier. 

Thesis Statement Example: “Health vs Wealth” 

Step 1. Decide on your main point and write it down.

This topic was also sent to me by the same person. And this time she also wrote the actual main point, having completed Step 1:

“Health is more important than wealth.”

This is a complete thesis. So, we are ready to move on to Step 2. 

Step 2 – Come up with three supporting points

Again, let’s use the Power of Three and divide this topic into three subtopics. With a little practice, you can start doing it very quickly.

We need three reasons why health is better than wealth. So, let’s think them up.

Reason 1. Health is not as easy to earn as wealth.

Right? Because you can earn money much more easily than regain lost health.

Reason 2. The quality of life does not suffer as much when a person loses money than when he gets sick.

This one is different from Reason 1 because it’s not about earning health or wealth but it is about the quality of life when you lose one of them.

Reason 3. (I’m thinking, I’m thinking…)

Again, you will find that it’s always harder to come up with the third supporting point than it is with the first two. But you’ll also discover that you can always find it.

I got it!

Reason 3. Good health is much more important for happiness than wealth is.

In other words, it is much easier to be happy when you don’t have a lot of money than when you have health issues. Do you agree?

And this is our structure:

Step 3. Write out the entire thesis statement

Health is more important than wealth for three reasons. First, health is not as easy to earn as wealth. Second, the quality of life does not suffer as much with the loss of wealth than it does with the loss of health. And finally, good health is much more important for happiness than wealth is.

Just like in the previous example, this essay is also comparative. We are contrasting health and wealth in each of the three main sections, as the diagram shows. 

Example: “My daily life”

The difference with this topic is that it’s not a complete sentence. So, let’s do Step 1 and turn it into a full main point.

Step 1. Decide on your main point and write it down

Let’s do it:

“My daily life is boring.”

Hey – I’m not insinuating anything here 🙂  Just saying that – hey, a person’s daily life could be quite boring, couldn’t it? But this is how you start a thesis statement. 

Step 2. Come up with three supporting points 

Let’s use the Power of Three and find three reasons why the author’s life is boring. 

To do this, I’m thinking about the different aspects of human life. What are three domains of human activities I can use as categories?

I think I got it:

  1. At home
  2. At school
  3. At work

Great! Can my life be boring in each of these settings? Definitely. 

And now let’s turn each of these supporting points into a complete sentence.

  1. My daily life at home consists of very mundane activities, such as watching TV or taking a nap.
  2. All I do at the university is attend lectures and study in the library.
  3. And my work is just a series of repetitive tasks I do every day.

Here is our structure:

And we’re ready to write our thesis statement.

Step 3. Write out the complete thesis paragraph

My daily life is boring. At home it consists of a bunch of very mundane activities, such as watching TV or taking a nap. All I do at the university is attend lectures and study in the library. And my work is just a series of repetitive tasks I do every day.

And so we have ourselves a nice little introductory paragraph, which is a thesis statement. And was that quick or what!

A Note on Introductions

You can start your essay by getting straight to the point, just like you learned here.

You also have an option of adding a sentence or two that introduce your topic. You can learn how to do this in this article I wrote.

Both ways are fine.

Hope this was helpful. Now go ahead and write your own great thesis statement!

Tutor Phil

Tutor Phil

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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