Tools for the writing teacher:
Free examples of thesis statements
Students and teachers alike regularly seek free examples of thesis
statements. I assume they use them as patterns or even as the
main ideas of essays.
Eliminate the need for such crutches by giving your students
authentic writing prompts and teaching them how to read
To help you see the prompt-thesis relationship, I'm going to
give you some free examples of thesis statements that respond
to free writing prompts I've provided elsewhere on this site.
Instead of charging you for this material, I'm going to ask you
to pay for it by writing a thesis that responds to each prompt.
Call it sweat equity. I've provided a Zoho word processing file
for use with each prompt, so you have no excuses for not trying.
By writing these five thesis sentences, you'll get a fairly good
idea of the difficulties students may encounter.
For each item below, I've given you just the core directions. To
see the entire prompt, click on the image box.
Want print copies from this page?
You will lose your work when you navigate away from this
page unless you save it to your computer. You can use the save function
in the Zoho files or copy and paste your work into a file you create
in another word processor.
If you need print copies of the free examples of thesis statements
on this page or the writing prompts from which they are developed,
you'll find directions for downloading them
at the bottom of this page.
Prompt & thesis #1: onomatopoeia
This first prompt is for middle school students. It asks them to
write a definition essay, though it doesn't use that terminology.
Hint: Life is easier if you don't introduce students to all
the different types
of essays until after they are competent at writing the essential
one: the thesis + support (persuasive
essay) pattern essay
I underlined the essay topic in the basic directions.
You have the topic. You just need to add
an assertion to get a thesis. You can type your answer right
in the Zoho word processor file shown below.
Your thesis should look something like this:
Don't worry about copying this all down. If you need the information
you can download a PDF
file of either the writing prompts or the free examples
of thesis statements that are developed from them.
Prompt & thesis #2: online searches
The second prompt is also appropriate for middle school students.
This time the topic is online searches. The topic and assertion
are included in the prompt. See them?
See what your flying fingers and brilliant brain come up with
as a thesis statement for this one. The Zoho word processor form
Your thesis statement should look something like this:
Prompt & thesis #3: passive voice
This next prompt is for high school students. Like the previous
example, it includes the topic and the assertion
in the prompt. See them this time?
I'll bet you will knock this thesis statement out in no time.
Your response should look something like this:
Your sentence won't match the one in my free examples of thesis
statements exactly, but it should give the same general idea.
Prompt & thesis #4: asking questions online
The fourth prompt gives only a topic. Students have to
develop their own assertions.
The prompt, however, helps students limit the potential assertions
by giving them prep work that will naturally restrict the kinds
of assertions they can make. You can see the full prompt by clicking
on the image.
Whack that answer out in the Zoho word processor.
Your answer probably reads something like this:
Your assertion was probably different, but you should have roughly
the same topic and sentence structure.
Observations on the examples
As you read these prompts and wrote your theses, you may have realized
that there is no relationship between how easy it is to write
a working thesis and how easy it is to write a paper based on
When you are teaching writing or teaching a subject using
writing you need to test your writing prompts to
see what answering them actually entails.
Often a prompt I think will be easy to write about turns out
to require skills or patterns I haven't taught. Rather than ask
students to submit work that requires knowledge I haven't taught,
fair I have to scrap that prompt and write another.
You may also have realized that you can raise or lower the grade
level of a prompt by changing the assignment details. For example,
to make a writing assignment more challenging,
you could require students to:
- Use additional types of sources.
- Develop their thesis by inductive analysis
of specific information.
- Use skill or knowledge from more than one course
component, such as literature and grammar.