How long are thesis statements? [with examples]
If you find yourself in the process of writing a thesis statement but you don't know how long it should be, you've come to right place. In the next paragraphs you will learn about the most efficient way to write a thesis statement and how long it should be.
A thesis statement is a concise description of your work’s aim.
What is the proper length of a thesis statement?
The short answer is: one or two sentences. The more in-depth answer: as your writing evolves, and as you write longer papers, your thesis statement will typically be at least two, and often more, sentences. The thesis of a scholarly article may have three or four long sentences.
The point is to write a well-formed statement that clearly sets out the argument and aim of your research. A one sentence thesis is fine for shorter papers, but make sure it's a full, concrete statement. Longer thesis statements should follow the same rule; be sure that your statement includes essential information and resist too much exposition.
Here are some basic rules for thesis statement lengths based on the number of pages:
- 5 pages: 1 sentence
- 5-8 pages: 1 or 2 sentences
- 8-13 pages: 2 or 3 sentences
- 13-23 pages: 3 or 4 sentences
- Over 23 pages: a few sentences or a paragraph
Examples of thesis statements
Joe Haley, a former writing instructor at Johns Hopkins University exemplified in this forum post the different sizes a thesis statement can take. For a paper on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, someone could come up with these two theses:
In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, gossip is an important but morally ambiguous tool for shaping characters' opinions of each other.
As the aforementioned critics have noted, the prevalence of gossip in Jane Austen's oeuvre does indeed reflect the growing prominence of an explicitly-delineated private sphere in nineteenth-century British society. However, in contrast with these critics' general conclusions about Austen and class, which tend to identify her authorial voice directly with the bourgeois mores shaping her appropriation of the bildungsroman, the ambiguity of this communicative mode in Pride and Prejudice suggests that when writing at the height of her authorial powers, at least, Austen is capable of skepticism and even self-critique. For what is the narrator of her most celebrated novel if not its arch-gossip par excellence?
Both statements are equally sound, but the second example clearly belongs in a longer paper. In the end, the length of your thesis statement will depend on the scope of your work.
Frequently Asked Questions about the length of thesis statements
🧮 What is the word count of a thesis statement?
There is no exact word count for a thesis statement, since the length depends on your level of knowledge and expertise. A two sentence thesis statement would be between 20-50 words.
😨 How long is too long for a thesis statement?
The length of the work will determine how long your thesis statement is. A concise thesis is typically between 20-50 words. A paragraph is also acceptable for a thesis statement; however, anything over one paragraph is probably too long.
📊 Where can I find examples of thesis statements with different lengths?
Here is a list of Thesis Statement Examples that will help you understand better how long they can be.
🚸 How long should the thesis statement of a high school essay be?
As a high school student, you are not expected to have an elaborate thesis statement. A couple of clear sentences indicating the aim of your essay will be more than enough.
📲 Is there any video tutorial of thesis statements?
Here is a YouTube tutorial that will help you write a thesis statement: How To Write An Essay: Thesis Statements by Ariel Bisset.