So, you’re in class and your teacher starts using this word, “claim.” What is she talking about? And why does she want you to use it in your papers? Good question.
Let’s start by answering the big question, “What is a claim?” The dictionary might have a more complete answer, but here is mine: a claim is a statement of truth that is debatable. In other words, when making a claim you are stating something that is true, but someone might disagree with you. That’s a claim.
You probably make and use claims all the time. You might use the term “point” instead. If you’ve ever made a point, you’ve made a claim. Your English teacher just might want to use a more formal word instead–claim.
You may have also heard your teacher use the term, “thesis” or “thesis statement.” This is a more specific kind of claim. It does the same thing (makes a statement of truth that is debatable), but its scope is for an entire work. Meaning, a thesis statement is a claim for an entire essay, book, paper, etc.
I like to use this formula: topic + comment + reasons.
It’s simple. To make a claim you need to identify the topic your claim will be about. Let’s use the example “the best restaurant.” By saying “best” you already know this is going to be debatable.
“The best restaurant” (topic) + comment + reasons
Now, you need to make a comment. This would be where you identify what the best restaurant is.
“The best restaurant” (topic) + “is McDonalds” (comment) + reasons
Someone may disagree, but it’s very clear the point you’re trying to make. That’s the benefit of making a clear claim–your reader knows exactly what you are trying to say. Now let’s give some reasons to support the claim.
“The best restaurant” (topic) + “is McDonalds” (comment) + “because it is fast, affordable, and open all the time” (reasons).
So, next time your teacher starts talking about claims in an essay, I hope this helps. Good luck writing!