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Defintion of a Thesis Statement:  a debatable point or claim.

That is the best definition of a thesis statement one is likely to find.

Here is an example of a poor thesis:
"John Milton's poetry includes many biblical references."
Actually, that is not a thesis, but rather a statement of fact. Anyone who spent a few minutes reading Milton's poetry would agree that he uses biblical references, so there is no debatable point/claim here.

Here is an example of an actual thesis:
"John Milton's poetry includes many biblical references, but he often embellishes on scripture to suit his needs."
This claim requires some proof—some supporting evidence or explanation, and that is what makes this a debatable point.

Skim-read a draft of your essay, find the thesis and circle it. If you cannot find the thesis, chances are that your teacher will not find it either, which cannot bode well for your grade.

  • If you do find your thesis, then ask yourself if it is a statement of fact or a debatable point.
  • And hopefully, you are using the 5 Paragraph Essay Format for all of your writings.
  • Also see the handout How to Structure and Organize Your Essays.