In this lesson we will look at what thesis statements are, and how you can vary the way you write it according to the question.They are a crucial part of writing an introduction.
Very basically, it tells the person reading your essay what will be in it. It may also give your opinion if the question asks you for this.
It is the last sentence of your introduction.
Don't get it mixed up with the topic of your essay - this is usually at the beginning of your introduction.
In order to make it effective, you must have first identified the task of the essay. If you are unsure about this, check out this lesson on identifying the task.
The task is what you have to do, and is usually at the end of the rubric. For example, look at this IELTS essay question:
What you have to do (the task) is explain whether you think, overall, an increase in the production of goods in other countries and their subsequent transportation over long distances is more advantageous or disadvantageous.
So your essay is obviously going to be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of this issue, and this is what needs to be made clear in your thesis statement.
It is also an opinion essay as it is asking you to make a decision on whether you think there are more advantages or disadvantages. So you need to make this clear as well.
Here is an example introduction, with the thesis in bold:
You would then go on to write about the advantages and disadvantages of global trade (focusing more on the disadvantages as you think there are more of these).
*Just a quick note on the word 'outweigh'. This word often confuses students and they end up writing a thesis statement opinion that contradicts what they write in the essay.
The simple answer - don't use the word! It is just asking you if there are more advantages than disadvantages. So just state what you think in the thesis without using the word, as in the example.
We will now look at how thesis statements can vary with different question types. However, you should not try to learn set phrases or sentences to fit certain essays.
There are some broad types of essay question that are common to see, but they can all vary slightly.
The golden rule is to always read the question very carefully (never rush this as you may not fully answer the question) and work out what you have to do.
Your thesis statement will then follow on from this, depending on what you have decided you need to write about in order to answer the question.
So below are some suggestions of what you could do for certain common kinds of essay question, but this is not to say these are right and other ways are wrong. There are numerous ways to write good thesis statements and these are just possibilities.
1) Writing about Two Opinions
Some questions ask you specifically to discuss two opinions and to give your opinion.
There are various ways you could choose to write an introduction and thesis for this.
You could begin by paraphrasing the two opinions, then stating in the thesis what you will do:
This is quite simplistic but it makes it very clear what you are going to do.
You will obviously need to give your opinion as well in the essay, but stating this in the thesis ("This essay will discuss both sides of the issue and then give my opinion") sounds awkward so it is better without it.
Another possible way to do it is by having a sentence to introduce the topic first, and then paraphrasing the two opinions to make them your thesis:
This is fine as your thesis will match with your essay - you go on to discuss the first opinion and then the second one.
Or of course you could modify this slightly to include your opinion:
As long as you go on to discuss both sides of the argument, this is fine.
2) Agreeing or Disagreeing
Another type of question is when you are asked to agree or disagree with one opinion.
For this type of question, you need to state what your opinion is in the thesis statement.
Although you could feasibly do this in the conclusion, I think it is better to do it first so it is clear to someone reading the essay what your opinion is upfront. It is not wrong though to put it in the conclusion - this is your choice.
Your thesis statement here will depend on whether you agree, disagree, or partly agree. Here are some examples of each:
A thesis statement that agrees with the opinion:
A thesis statement that disagrees with the opinion:
A thesis statement that partly agrees with the opinion:
These examples illustrate why it is important to ananlyze the question carefully and brainstorm your ideas first so you have a clear idea of what you will be writing and what your opinion is.
3) Other Essays
Some other essays may not ask you for your opinion specifically, but may ask you to discuss, for example, problems and solutions, causes and effects, advantages and disadvantages.
If you are asked to do this, then you should just clearly state that you will be discussing these two things in your essay. Here are some examples:
Problems and solutions:
Sample thesis in bold:
Sample thesis in bold:
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Sample thesis in bold:
This lesson has provided you with some broad guidance on writing a thesis statement for different types of essay.
It is important to stress again though that questions can vary so you must always analyze if carefully and identify exactly what you need to do and what should therefore be in your thesis statement.
Remember, a thesis statement is just telling the reader what the focus of your essay is and giving your opinion if necessary.
Follow this link to see some examples of IELTS essay questions.
Home › IELTS Lessons › Thesis Statements
Brainstorming and Planning an Essay
Writing an IELTS Essay Introduction
Writing a Thesis Statement
How to get an IELTS Writing band 7
Improving Essay Coherency with Pronouns
Writing an IELTS Essay Conclusion
Transitional Phrases for Essays
Good Paragraph Writing
How to write Problem Solution Essays
Understanding IELTS Opinion Essays
A more complex essay question
Personal Pronouns in Essays
Advantage Disadvantage Essay