Crafting a thesis statement is an essential skill for all students to develop if they want to write quality essays and earn high grades. Although most understand the basics of how to write a thesis statement, many students wonder how long it should be.
Everyone agrees it has to be “concise,” but exactly how concise? Is there a magic number of words you should be looking to reach (or avoid exceeding) in your word counter?
Unfortunately, the exact number of words can be tough to pinpoint. The range can be anywhere between 20-50 words depending on your topic.
Thankfully, there are some examples and hints to help you see if your thesis statement length is appropriate.
How Long is Too Long?
Compare these thesis statement examples:
All students should have access to a free college education because society will benefit from having better-educated citizens to help guide our nation.
I think that it would be a positive idea to have each and every student who wants to attend a college or university be able to do so at no cost to him or her because our whole nation would be better off if people were smart enough to make wise decisions to lead our country in a good direction.
When we enter these into our word counter, the first example is 24 words. The second? A whopping 60 words!
Unnecessary words have no place in a thesis statement, and number 2 has a lot of extra words that don't need to be there.
Bottom line: If you can say more using less, do it.
Use the Introductory Paragraph
You might be thinking: I have a lot I want to say about my main idea, but I don't think I can cram all of my thoughts into one clear and concise sentence.
This is a really common concern. But no need to worry. You can create a concise thesis statement and still add your supporting thoughts throughout the essay.
Remember, your thesis statement is just one sentence of your introduction. You can surround it with other details and information you want to share about your topic.
But this leads to more questions:
How many sentences in a paragraph will make my essay most effective?
How many words in a paragraph is an acceptable number?
While there is no exact number, you should be mindful of how wordy your paragraphs and sentences are. Every word should be purposeful and your ideas should be clear. Broad or vague statements are a no-no when it comes to making a strong claim.
So What is the Magic Number of Words?
You want to aim for the most clear and concise thesis statement you can make. If you have a more complex idea, naturally your word count will be higher than if you are expressing a more basic argument.
Like I mentioned above, the range can be anywhere between 20–50 words depending on the subject you're writing about.
No matter your topic, your goal should always be to be specific, accurate, and supportive of your claim. Always avoid unnecessary words and vague statements.
If you are successful in getting rid of the “fluff,” you should have all of the words you need to make your thesis statement count.