Like high-beam headlights on a dark road, thesis statements shed light and help provide direction. Students in college composition courses fine-tune their skill at writing thesis statements as they are assigned some of the standard types of college essays. Five of the most common are comparison-contrast, description, example, persuasion and process.

Step 1

Write a thesis statement for a comparison-contrast essay by setting the stage for how you will address how two subjects are alike and then how they are dissimilar. Such a thesis might read, “I've worn both contact lenses and glasses and believe that, all things considered, contact lenses are the superior choice.”

Step 2

Demonstrate your ability to show, not just tell, in writing a thesis statement for a description paper. Use adjectives sparingly, not liberally, and rely on concrete and specific details. For example, “My grandfather's workshop was a virtual treasure trove of three generations of families, including everything from battered high chairs and riding horses to antique makeup tables and gentlemen's bureaus.”

Step 3

Develop a thesis for an example essay by pointing out a spot-on demonstration of your essay's larger point. Such a thesis might say, “Home decorating projects present an array of challenges, but perhaps none is more frustrating than the task of removing wallpaper.”

Step 4

Compel a reader to consider your point of view by writing a reasoned and logical yet compelling thesis statement for a persuasive paper. Many such thesis statements include the word “should.” Such a statement might read, “Give the high percentage of divorces in the United States, I believe that all couples should live together for at least six months before getting married.”

Step 5

Set up the straightforward, organized structure of a process essay by writing a thesis statement that spells out exactly the task or function you wish to outline. Such a statement might read, “By following a series of simple steps, even a novice can create a beautiful, decoupaged table for a foyer or entryway.”


  • Writing is a recursive process, often requiring you to constantly review your thesis against the body of your essay to ensure that the former provides support and illustration for the latter.