How to Write an Effective Claim (with Examples)

Formulating a claim for your essay can be difficult even if you are already a masterful debater — especially if you are not quite sure what a claim is, and how it may differ from a counterclaim or thesis statement. This guide will make it easy to decide on your claim!

Essay Claim Basics

In essay writing, a claim can most succinctly be defined as "a debatable statement" — which the writer then defends with supporting evidence and rhetoric. It is easy to confuse a claim and a thesis statement, because the thesis is indeed a type of claim as well. Essays can contain further claims that orbit the topic of the thesis statement, however.

Claims straddle the line between opinion and fact. If you're hoping to make a strong claim that seamlessly fits into a powerful essay, you will need to make sure that your claim ticks the right boxes:

  • Your claim can debated — solid arguments can be made both in favor and against. Therefore, statements such as "I live in Queens" or "Joe Biden is the President" are not claims. In an argumentative essay, "the death penalty should be abolished" is an example of a claim. Even scientific papers make claims, such as "Keyboards contain more germs than toilet seats", which can be tested. These are called hypotheses.
  • You will state your claim as a matter of fact. "Many people oppose the death penalty, and with good reason" is not a good claim, but "the death penalty is no longer an appropriate punishment in modern America" can be.
  • Your claim is sufficiently specific to allow you to explore all aspects that you intend to tackle. "The Victorian era was Britain's darkest era" give you more bite than you can comfortably chew. "Fast food should be taxed to reduce obesity rates" is more specific.

Types of Claim (With Examples!)

Claims are debatable statements, but there are numerous different types. If you have specifically been asked to present a claim in an essay, you may be able to choose what kind of claim you would like to work with.

1. Claim of Fact or Definition

In research essays, a claim of fact or definition is one that defines a fact, as you see it, and proceeds to lay out the evidence in favor of the claim. Here are some examples to show you how it works:

  • Plant species are becoming extinct at a faster rate than animal species, yet the plight of plants has been overlooked.
  • Amazon's Alexa has revolutionized many people's daily lives — but this appliance also makes us vulnerable to new forms of hacking.
  • Commercial air travel transformed the way in which we do business.

2. Claim of Cause & Effect

In a claim of cause and effect, you argue that one thing causes another, such as:

  • Internet gaming has a widespread negative effect on students' grades.
  • Lax enforcement of preventative measures against Covid has enabled the pandemic to continue for much longer than it need have.
  • Playing jigsaw puzzles leads to novel cognitive connections that help senior citizens stay sharp.

3. Claim of Value

Claims of value are more heavily opinion-based than other types of claims. If you are making a claim of value, you will usually want to compare two things. For example:

  • George W Bush was a better President than George W H Bush.
  • Emotional health is just as important as physical health.
  • Stephen King is the best horror writer of al time.

4. Claim of Solution or Policy

Claims of solution or policy state a position on a proposed course of action. In high school and college essays, they typically focus on something that should be done, or something that should no longer be done. Examples might include:

  • Depressed patients should always be offered talk therapy before they receive a prescription for antidepressants.
  • The United States should not accept refugees from Afghanistan.
  • First-time offenders should be given lighter sentences.

Claim vs. Counterclaim vs. Thesis Statement

If you've been told to make an essay claim, you may be confused about the differences between a claim, counterclaim, and thesis statement. That's understandable, because some people believe that there's no difference between a claim and a thesis statement.

There are important distinctions between these three concepts, however, and if you want to write a killer essay, it's important to be aware of them:

  • A thesis statement is the very foundation of your essay — everything else rests on it. The thesis statement should contain no more than one or two sentences, and summarize the heart of your argument. "Regular exercise has consistently been shown to increase productivity in the workplace. Therefore, employers should offer office workers, who would otherwise be largely sedentary, opportunities to work out."
  • A claim is a statement you can defend with arguments and evidence. A thesis statement is a type of claim, but you'll want to include other claims that fit neatly into the subject matter as well. For instance, "Employers should establish gyms for employees."
  • A counterclaim is a statement that contradicts, refutes, or opposes a claim. Why would you want to argue against yourself? You can do so to show that arguments that oppose the claim are weak. For instance, "Many employers would balk at the idea of facilitating costly exercise classes or providing a gym space — employees can work out in their own time, after all. Why should the boss pay for workers to engage in recreational activities at work? Recent studies have shown, however, that workplaces that have incorporated aerobics classes enjoy 120% increase in productivity, showing that this step serves the bottom line."

Together, a thesis statement, claims, and some well-placed counterclaims make up the threads of your story, leading to a coherent essay that is interesting to read.

How to Write an Effective Claim

Now that you've seen some examples, you are well on your way to writing an effective claim for your essay. Need some extra tips? We've got you covered.

First things first — how do you start a claim in an essay? Your claim sentence or sentences should be written in the active voice, starting with the subject, so that your readers can immediately understand what you are talking about.

They'll be formulated as an "[Subject] should be [proposed action], because [argument]. You can stay with this general structure while making different word choices, however, such as:

  • Must
  • It is about time that
  • We have an obligation to
  • Is the only logical choice
  • It is imperative that

Once you have formulated a claim, you will want to see if you can hook your readers with an interesting or provocative statement that can really get them thinking. You will want to break your argument down into sections. This will lead you to sub-claims. If your claim is your main argument, your sub-claims are smaller arguments that work to support it. They will typically appear naturally once you contemplate the subject deeply — just brainstorm, and as you research, keep considering why your claim is true. The reasons you come up with will sprout sub-claims.

Still not sure what to write? Take a look at these examples of strong claim statements:

  • A lack of work experience has proven to be the main barrier to finding satisfying employment, so businesses should be incentivized to hire recent graduates.
  • The rise in uncertified "emotional support animals" directly causes suffering for people suffering from severe pet dander allergies. Such pets must be outlawed in public places to alleviate the very real harm allergy patients now experience on a daily basis.
  • Emerging private space exploration ventures may be exciting, but they greatly increase CO2 emissions. At a time when the planet is in crisis, private space exploration should be banned.

Additional Tips in Writing a Claim the Right Way

You now know what you need to include in a claim paragraph to leave a strong impression. Understanding what not to do is equally important, however.


  • Take a stand — if you're writing an argumentative essay, it is perfectly OK to take a controversial opinion, and no matter what you write, it is bound to have the potential to offend someone. Don't sit on the fence. Even when you're defending a position you disagree with, embrace it wholeheartedly.
  • Narrow your claim down. The more specific you can get, the more compelling your argument can be, and the more depth you can add to each aspect of your argument.
  • Have fun! You want your essay to be interesting to read, and any genuine passion you have will be apparent.
  • Choose the right subject — one about which you can find a lot of data and facts.

What should you avoid in writing a claim, you wonder? Don't:

  • Use any first-person statements. The claim is about your ideas, not about you.
  • Base your claim on emotional appeal. You can work some pathos in, but don't make feelings your center.
  • Clutter your claim with too many separate ideas, which will make the rest of your essay harder to read, less powerful, and unwieldy for you to develop.


How do you use a claim?

When you're writing your essay, you can think of the thesis statement as the spine. The claims you make are, then, your "ribs", so to speak. If you prefer a different analogy, the thesis is your trunk, and the claims branches. You use them to build a strong final product that shows you have considered all aspects of your argument, and can back them up with evidence and logic.

What is a good way to start a claim?

You can start with a shocking fact, objective data from a reliable source, or even an anecdote — or, if you prefer, you can simply offer your argument without bells and whistles.

Can a claim be in a paragraph or is it a single sentence only?

Claims are almost always limited to a single sentence. It can be a long compound sentence, though! The claim does not have to remain all alone in the paragraph. You can immediately surround it with rhetorical punches or further facts.

What are some examples of argumentative claims?

So, you want to learn to argue like a pro? Watching speeches politicians make is a great way to look out for claims, and court transcripts and academic debates are two other places you can look for great argumentative claims.

Is there a claim generator you can use?

Yes! Some claim generators are free to use, while others require a subscription. These tools can be interesting to play with, and can serve as inspiration. However, it's always best to tweak your final claim to fit your needs.


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