How to Write an Effective Claim for an Essay

author By Mary Boies

Often, people use claim statements and thesis statements interchangeably. And they are not wrong because a thesis statement is a type of a claim. In most cases, essays contain further claims other than the thesis statement, depending on the topic in question. Nevertheless, claims overlap the line between fact and opinion. A strong claim leads to a powerful essay that always scores the best marks.

Claims in an argumentative Essay

A good claim is debatable either for or against and must be sufficiently specific so that you explore all the aspects and angles of a given topic.

Yet even with this knowledge, people find themselves confused when asked to formulate a claim for an essay. Failure to structure an argument the right way makes it difficult to persuade an audience. Claims help structure your argument using reasoning and evidence to support your stance.

Given the confusion that sometimes surrounds claims and claim statements, we have put together this guide to take you through the process of writing claims in five steps, using examples and illustrations where necessary for you to master the art of writing claims in an essay.

What is a claim in an essay?

A claim statement is the main point or a debatable statement in the essay that asserts your argument. When you write an essay, you do it to convince or inform the reader about something. What you are trying to convince the reader about is what is referred to as a claim.

The main point or argument in an essay is its most important part. This is because it quickly informs the reader about the objective of the essay, its direction, and its scope.

It is important to note that an opinion is not a claim and cannot be used as the main argument when writing an essay. The easiest way to know if your essay's main argument is a good claim is to ask yourself if it is specific, focused, detailed, relevant, and debatable. If your answer to these questions is yes, you most probably have a good claim.

A claim is usually substantiated with evidence, research, testimony, and academic reasoning. It addresses the -so what?- question the implications of why your audience should care anyway. Unlike a subjective opinion, a claim is always objective.

In a nutshell, a claim:

Types of claims with examples

With the definition of claims in mind, let's explore the different types of claims you can use when writing a paper on any topic.

1. Factual claims

Factual claims are arguments or statements that state facts. Any statement that is a fact is a factual claim. Factual claims are usually easy to support with evidence.

When writing a research essay, a claim of fact or definition defines the fact as you see it and provides evidence to back the claim.

Examples of factual claims that are easy to support:

2. Value claims

Value claims or claims of value are arguments that include a judgment. They are primarily opinion-based. A typical value claim will judge something or someone using terms such as good/bad, right/wrong, moral/immoral, and fair/unfair. A value claim is usually followed by explaining the value claim or argument to provide context.

Examples of value claims:

3. Definitional claims

Definitional claims are arguments defining something as one thing or the other. For example, a good value claim will define or describe something or someone as a particular thing and then provide an explanation why.

An excellent example of a definitional claim:

4. Cause and effect claims

Cause and effect claims are arguments that are very logical in structure. A typical cause-and-effect claim argues that one thing causes something else. For a cause-and-effect claim to be successfully proven, you must show clearly how the cause leads to the effect.

An excellent example of a cause-and-effect claim:

5. Descriptive claims

Descriptive claims are arguments that describe or state things. The work of proving a descriptive claim is usually quite simple and straightforward.

Here are good examples of descriptive claims:

6. Argumentative claims

All argumentative essays have an argumentative claim at the core. An argumentative claim is an argument that is clear, focused, specific, and debatable. The thing that makes argumentative claims argumentative is the fact that they are debatable. In other words, the claims usually have two clear sides. The side you have picked should be clear in the claim so the audience can read your essay to understand why you picked that side.

Here are good examples of argumentative claims:

7. Exploratory claims

Exploratory claims are very different from argumentative claims. The reason why is that they are written to explore all the different opinions or sides of a debate. No exploratory claim will focus on one position.

A typical exploratory claim will include information about the subject to be written about, the different positions or debates about the subject, and the writer's thoughts about the subject.

Here is an example of an exploratory claim:

8. Assertive claims

Assertive claims are strong arguments or statements. The use of an assertive statement is to explain the thesis a bit or show the importance of the thesis. Without an assertive claim, it becomes challenging to hook the reader to try and read the rest of your essay.

Here is an excellent example of an assertive claim:

9. Policy claims

Policy claims are also known as solution claims. A characteristic policy claim will state a problem and then its solution.

Examples of policy claims:

Where to use Claims when writing

As we have already discussed, academic writing has different types of claims. You can use these claims when writing different kinds of papers. Here are some types of writing that use claims:

You can also use claims when writing professional papers such as reports, letters, memos, or social media posts.

Related Article: Writing good analytical essays for better grades.

Features of a reasonable claim

Below are the features of a good claim:

1. A good claim is a statement and not a question

A good claim is usually a statement and not a question. The purpose of making a claim is to present a debate and the writer's position on the debate. Using a question, there is no way to present a debate and clarify your position.

2. A good claim challenges the status quo

The purpose of writing essays is to improve the existing body of knowledge. Simply writing another essay supporting the current beliefs, behaviors, rules, or policies does not enhance the body of knowledge. This is why it is vital to make your claim challenge the status quo so that you can write about something new that everyone doesn't already agree with.

An excellent example of a claim that challenges that status quo is that "The United States should shut down all its nuclear power plants in the next year to eliminate the chance of a disaster happening."

This statement challenges the status quo: nuclear power plants are needed in the USA for the foreseeable future to provide much-needed power.

3. A good claim is unbiased

Claims should always be put to provide an opportunity to defend or support either position. Phrasing a claim in a way that leaves no room for the audience to think that an alternative position can exist is not right. It removes objectivity and makes a claim look biased and unwise.

4. A good claim is particular

Broad claims do not provide any insight. This is because they are easy to agree with. They are also easy to prove. In contrast, specific claims narrow the focus and improve argumentation. So, to write a good essay, it is vital to make your claim specific and detailed so that whatever you write is focused and provides good insight.

5. A good claim promotes an argumentative essay

Make a claim that is easy to agree with. Your essay will not be engaging because it will be a description or a story. In contrast, you create an argumentative environment when you make a claim supporting one of two sides. In other words, you create a situation where you provide evidence to support or defend the side of the argument you have picked.

Claim vs. Claim Statement

A claim is an argument. When writing an academic paper (essay, speech, or research), you will have your main claim (main argument). In addition, you will have your sub-claims or supporting arguments throughout your paper or essay.

An essay's central claim or argument is the claim statement. It is also referred to as the thesis statement. In brief, the main difference between a claim and a claim statement is that the former is just an argument while the latter is the main argument.

The requirements for writing a claim and a claim statement are very similar. However, sub-claims or supporting arguments in the body paragraphs do not need to be debatable. In contrast, a good claim statement should always be detailed and debatable.

Claim vs. Thesis Statement vs. Counterclaim

ClaimThesis StatementCounterclaim

The main argument for a paragraph. It is sometimes the topic sentence of the paragraph that announces the focus of a paragraph.

The main argument for the essay

An argument that negates, refutes, or contradicts the main argument in a paragraph

Every claim should support the thesis

Everything should support the thesis statement

The counterclaim should come after the claim in an argumentative essay

Every claim should be clear and specific

The thesis statement should be detailed and focused

The counterclaim should focus on the claim, and its weaknesses should be addressed

An essay can have multiple claims

An essay can only have one claim

Every claim in an argumentative essay can have a counterclaim

Steps to writing the best claim in an essay

A claim is an argument. It is pretty easy to write an argument in an essay. The most straightforward essay will include the main claim or argument in the introduction, a supporting argument beginning each body paragraph, and a conclusion.

The most important part when writing an essay is usually the main claim or argument. It is also referred to as the claim statement. A good claim statement will help you to write a good essay. A lousy claim statement will make it challenging to write a good essay.

Follow the steps below to learn how to write a good claim statement.

1. Pick a topic and find out more information about it

The first thing you need to do when writing a claim statement is to pick a topic. Even if you can choose any topic, select one that interests you and can research and write an entire essay.

Once you choose the topic, find out more information about it. This will help you narrow the topic, find something interesting to write about, and make arguments. You also develop many aspects of the topic and choose one to help you write your claim.

As an example, suppose you are writing about climate change. Then, you can focus on global warming as a subject and present why it is a top cause of climate change.

2. Phrase the exciting topic as a question

Once you find something interesting about a topic, you should frame the topic as a question. As you frame the question, ensure you answer it with your thesis.

The easiest way to write a question is to imagine you are a professor asking your students to write an easy essay on the topic. This will help you to phrase the topic as a question quickly. The question will help you to come up with the claim statement and to write a good essay.

For example, suppose your research on a topic leads you to want to write about the harmful effects of Instagram on teenage girls. In that case, you could phrase this topic as a question. For example, one way you can phrase this topic as a question is, "What are the harmful effects of Instagram on teenage girls?"

Phrasing the topic this way makes it easy to write the claim and thesis statements.

3. Define the objective of your essay

To write a good essay, you need to set the objective. The objective of your essay will determine what type of claim statement you write. For example, suppose your objective is to convince the audience that something is good or bad. In that case, you must decide after phrasing your essay topic as a question.

4. Take a position on the issue

After deciding your essay's objective, you need to take a position on the topic now. This position or claim will be your essay's main claim or claim statement. In addition, it will inform what your supporting arguments will be.

At this stage, you should rephrase your question into a claim statement (the question you constructed in step 2). Our example question was, "What are the harmful effects of Instagram on teenage girls?"

To rephrase this question into a claim statement, state how you would answer it in detail. For example, one way you could do this is, "This paper looks at the harmful effects of Instagram on girls under 18 years of age in the USA."

This statement makes it clear what your essay will be all about. It is focused, detailed, and debatable.

5. Develop sub-claims

After creating the claim statement, you need to write an outline to help you write your essay. Your claim statement will inform the outline.

And the most critical parts of the outline will be the sub-claims. The sub-claims are the supporting arguments you will use in your essay. They are the arguments that support your main argument.

If you are writing a typical 5-paragraph essay with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion " the three body paragraphs will include a sub-claim at the beginning. The sub-claim will be an argument that supports your main position.

Following the five steps above, you can quickly develop a good essay with all the necessary claims and sub-claims. If, for any reason, you feel like it will be challenging for you to develop a good claim statement and sub-claims, contact us for help with your essay. We have professional essay tutors ready to help you write any essay before you hit the deadline.

Dos and don'ts when writing A claim in an Essay

You now know everything important about claims. You know all the major types of claims and how to write an eye-catching claim statement. In this section, you will learn all the critical dos and don'ts when writing any kind of claim.



Final Remarks

Consider a claim as the branches and the thesis statement as the trunk that holds your paper together. It can be a compound or short sentence that asserts your position on an issue or topic.

Related Readings:

Using controversial claims makes essays engaging and appetizes your readers. So ensure that your claim is straightforward, specific, and contestable. And to maintain a good balance, try to rope in a counterclaim.

Now that you understand what a claim is, the different types of claims, and the steps to take when writing a claim, all we can say is all the best. Of course, you will need our wishes as you craft your essay. But in case you need any help, don't hesitate to place an order. Let our argumentative essay writers help you out!

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