Your Personal Essay Thesis Sentence

What's the Big Idea?

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"The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet."- Aristotle

Why do famous quotes become famous? What is special about them? If you think about it, famous quotes are succinct statements that make a bold claim. A thesis statement should do the same thing. It should state a big idea in just a few words.

Example #1

Consider this quote: "He who opens a school door, closes a prison." -Victor Hugo

This statement manages to encapsulate an enormous argument in one terse comment, and that is your goal when writing a thesis statement. If Victor Hugo had wanted to use simpler words, he could have said:

  1. Education is important for personal growth and awareness.
  2. Social awareness develops from education.
  3. Education can reform.

Notice that each of these statements, like the quote, makes a claim that can be backed up with evidence?

Example #2

Here's another quote: "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

Once again, the statement sets up an argument in interesting but terse language. Churchill might have said:

  1. Everybody fails, but successful people fail many times.
  2. You can learn from failure if you don't give up.

A Word of Advice

When creating a thesis, you don't have to use colorful words like the ones that appear in famous quotes. But you should try to sum up a big idea or make a big claim in one sentence.


Just for fun, look over the following quotes and come up with your own versions that could work as a thesis statement. By studying these quotes and practicing in this way, you can develop your own ability to sum up your thesis in a brief but engaging sentence.

"Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work." - Bette Davis

"Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success." - Henry Ford

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." - Carl Sagan

The most successful students know that practice always pays. You can read more famous quotes to get the hang of creating concise, engaging statements.