What Is a Claim in Writing? Craft Compelling Arguments

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Julia McCoy

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what is a claim in writing

What is a claim in writing?

A claim is the core of your argument, the main point you’re trying to make in your written piece. It’s not just a statement of fact but a debatable position that requires evidence to back it up. 

And here’s the key: a strong claim is specific, focused, and relevant to your audience.

Let’s dive in and explore what makes a powerful claim in writing. You’ll get a crash course on what makes up good content, peek at successful cases out there, and pick up tips that make your writing stick with whoever reads it. 

By the end, you’ll have the tools you need to make your arguments more compelling than ever before.

Table Of Contents:

What Is a Claim in Writing?

In a nutshell, a claim is the core argument that defines your essay’s goal and direction. It’s the main idea you want to get across to your readers.

But here’s the thing – a claim isn’t just any old statement. It needs to be assertive, debatable and supported by cold, hard evidence. 

You can’t just say “I think chocolate is the best flavor of ice cream” and call it a day. That’s more of an opinion than a claim.

A claim is a statement that you make to support your argument. It’s the main point you want to make in your writing piece, whether it’s an essay, research paper, or persuasive speech.

But claims are more than just simple thesis statements. They need to be complex, specific, and detailed. You need to dig deeper and explain your point exactly using evidence to back up your claim.

So why are claims so important in writing? 

Well, they basically set the stage for your entire argument. Without a clear, strong claim, your writing can come across as unfocused and wishy-washy.

Think of your claim as the foundation of your house. If it’s weak and crumbly, the rest of your house (aka your essay) is going to collapse. But if it’s solid and well-constructed, it can support the weight of your entire argument.

Plus, a good claim helps guide your writing process. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to argue, it’s easier to stay on track and make sure all your evidence and examples are working towards supporting that central claim.

There are a few different types of claims you might come across in writing.

First up, we have factual claims. These are claims that can be proven or disproven with evidence. For example, “The Earth is round” is a factual claim because we have scientific evidence to support it.

Next, there are value claims. These are claims that make a judgment about something, like “The Mona Lisa is the greatest painting of all time.” These claims are a bit trickier to prove since they’re based on personal opinions and values.

Finally, we have policy claims. These are claims that argue for a specific course of action, like “The government should provide free healthcare for all citizens.” Policy claims often involve weighing the pros and cons of different options and making a case for why one choice is better than the others.

Types of Claims in Writing

Alright, let’s dive a little deeper into the different types of claims you might encounter in your writing.

Factual Claims

Factual claims are claims that can be proven or disproven with evidence. These claims are often used in scientific or historical writing.

An example of a factual claim might be “The Great Wall of China is over 13,000 miles long.” This claim can be fact-checked using reliable sources like history books or official measurements.

It’s important to note that even factual claims can be debated if there is conflicting evidence or differing interpretations of the facts. That’s why it’s crucial to always back up your claims with credible sources and data.

Value Claims

Value claims are all about making a judgment or evaluation about something. These claims often involve words like “good,” “bad,” “better,” or “worse.”

For example, let’s say you’re writing an essay about the best pizza toppings. A value claim might be something like “Pineapple is the worst pizza topping because it’s too sweet and ruins the savory flavor of the cheese and sauce.”

Notice how this claim is making a judgment about pineapple as a pizza topping. It’s not just stating a fact, but rather arguing that pineapple is inferior to other toppings based on the writer’s taste preferences.

Policy Claims

Policy claims, on the other hand, argue for a specific course of action or solution to a problem. These claims often propose a change to the current way of doing things.

For instance, a policy claim might be “Schools should start later in the day to allow students to get more sleep and improve their academic performance.”

This claim advocates for a change in school start times based on the idea that more sleep will lead to better grades. The writer would need to provide evidence to support this claim, such as studies showing the link between sleep and academic success.

So when you’re writing your next essay or research paper, take a moment to think about what type of claim you’re making. Is it a value claim, arguing for the superiority of one thing over another? A policy claim, proposing a solution to a problem? Or a factual claim, stating a verifiable truth?

Identifying the type of claim you’re making can help you structure your argument and find the most relevant evidence to support it. And who knows – maybe you’ll even come up with an original claim that changes the way people think about your topic.

How to Make a Strong Claim in Your Writing

Now that we’ve covered the different types of claims, let’s talk about how to actually craft a strong claim in your writing.

Develop a Clear Thesis Statement

The first step to making a strong claim is to develop a clear thesis statement. Your thesis is essentially your main claim – the overarching argument you’re trying to make in your essay.

Your thesis should be specific, debatable, and supported by evidence. It should also be concise and to the point. 

Avoid vague or overly broad statements like “Social media is bad.” Instead, try something more specific like “Social media use can lead to increased feelings of loneliness and depression in teenagers.”

Use Topic Sentences

Once you have your main claim or thesis, you’ll want to use topic sentences to introduce and support your sub-claims throughout your essay.

A topic sentence is like a mini-thesis for each paragraph. It states the main point you’ll be discussing in that paragraph and ties it back to your overall claim.

For example, if your thesis is about the negative effects of social media on teenagers, one of your topic sentences might be “Social media can cause teenagers to feel isolated from their peers, leading to increased feelings of loneliness.”

Provide Supporting Evidence

Of course, a claim is only as strong as the evidence that backs it up. That’s why it’s crucial to provide plenty of supporting details and examples to prove your point.

This evidence can come in many forms such as statistics, expert opinions, anecdotes, or real-life examples. The key is to choose evidence that is relevant, credible, and persuasive.

For instance, to support the claim that social media can lead to loneliness in teenagers, you might cite a study showing a correlation between social media use and feelings of isolation. Or you might share a personal story about a friend who became depressed after spending too much time on Instagram.

Address Counterarguments

Finally, to make your claim even stronger, it’s a good idea to address potential counterarguments. This shows that you’ve considered other perspectives and have a well-rounded understanding of the issue.

To address counterarguments, you might acknowledge them briefly and then refute them with evidence. 

For example, “Some people might argue that social media helps teenagers connect with friends, but studies have shown that excessive use can actually lead to feelings of disconnection.”

By addressing counterarguments, you show that your claim is nuanced and well-supported, rather than one-sided or simplistic.

what is a claim in writing

Examples of Effective Claims in Writing

Sometimes the best way to understand how to write a strong claim is to see some examples in action. Let’s take a look at a few effective claims from different types of writing.

Claims in Literary Analysis

When you’re writing a literary analysis, your claim will typically be about the deeper meaning or themes of the work.

For example, a claim about The Great Gatsby might be “The novel critiques the hollowness and superficiality of the American Dream.” This claim goes beyond just summarizing the plot and instead makes an argument about the book’s underlying message.

To support this claim, you might point to examples of characters who pursue wealth and status at the expense of genuine happiness, or the way the novel portrays the emptiness of the upper-class lifestyle.

Claims in Persuasive Essays

In a persuasive essay, your claim will be the main argument you’re trying to convince your reader to agree with.

For instance, a claim in a persuasive essay about school uniforms might be “School uniforms can help reduce bullying and promote a sense of unity among students.” This claim takes a clear stance on the issue and aims to persuade the reader to support school uniforms.

To back up this claim, you might cite studies showing a decrease in bullying incidents at schools with uniform policies, or anecdotes from students who feel more included and less judged based on their clothing choices.

Claims in Research Papers

In a research paper, your claim will typically be your thesis statement – the main argument or hypothesis you’re setting out to prove with your research.

For example, a claim in a psychology research paper might be “Mindfulness meditation can be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders.” This claim sets up the expectation that the rest of the paper will present evidence and arguments to support the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation.

To support this claim, you might cite studies showing the benefits of mindfulness for anxiety symptoms, or compare the effectiveness of mindfulness to other common anxiety treatments like medication or therapy.

Don’t be afraid to take a strong stance and make an argument, but always be prepared to back it up with facts and examples.


So, what is a claim in writing? It’s the backbone of your argument, the central point you’re trying to prove. 

A strong claim is clear, specific, and supported by solid evidence. It engages your audience and persuades them to see things from your perspective.

We’ve broken down the nuts and bolts of how to make a strong claim in your writing – pinpointing a laser-focused thesis while bravely confronting those contrary opinions along the way. You’ve seen real-world examples of claims in action, from literary analysis to persuasive essays.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to craft claims that pack a punch. Remember, a compelling claim is just the beginning. It’s up to you to build a case that’s impossible to ignore.

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