Composing a Thesis Statement in Spanish

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Are you ready to write a strong and solid thesis statement in Spanish? So you can do this easily, this lesson guides you in a systematic way and gives you some powerful vocabulary you can use in your statement.

Thesis Statement Characteristics

Can you imagine your Spanish language teacher asking you to review your thesis statement over and over? So that this does not happen to you, this lesson tells you how to write a thesis statement. In Spanish, this is called a planteamiento del problema, which literally translates as 'issue argumentation.' However, the proper translation is 'thesis statement.' Some people refer to it as the formulación del problema. So you can effectively write a planteamiento or formulación del problema for your paper, it is a good idea to remember the characteristics that make for a solid statement. The characteristics of the language you would use in your thesis statement should be:

  • Accurate: to express the specific topic you want to address
  • Argumentative: to claim a statement you want to demonstrate
  • Academic: to make the statement sound appropriate for the school environment

Now, let's apply these characteristics by going through an initial brainstorming process.

Thesis Statement Process

So that you can put your planteamiento del problema in writing, you should first go through the process of asking yourself some questions. Let's take Brian. He asks himself these questions:

  • What is the specific topic of my thesis statement?
  • What is the argument I want to make?
  • What is the objective of my paper and what do I want to achieve after complying with the objective?
  • What words will make my statement solid and academic?

Let's see how Brian answers these questions:

  • Specific Topic: venta de bebidas azucaradas en las escuelas (sale of sugared drinks at schools). If Brian had only written 'sugared drinks' or 'sugared drinks in schools' even, both would have been too broad. However, he specifically refers to the sale of these drinks in schools.
  • Argument: los bares de las escuelas que evitan vender bebidas azucaradas pueden ayudar a que los estudiantes tengan un peso más saludable (school canteens that avoid selling sugared drinks can help students to have a healthier weight).
  • Objective: encontrar opciones a las bebidas azucaradas (find options to sugared drinks). What do I want to achieve? para ofrecer mejores alternativas (to offer better alternatives).
  • Appropriate Language: contribuir instead of ayudar ('contribute' instead of 'help'), consumo instead of compra ('consumption' instead of 'buying'), identificar instead of encontrar ('identify' instead of 'find'), alternativas instead of opciones ('alternatives' instead of 'options').


As you can see, the language that answers these questions is simple. You can choose your appropriate words after you have answered all your questions. The reason to do this is so that you do not get stuck trying to use academic language as you think of a specific topic or an objective.

It is likely that the most common word you have heard for a given subject is for daily use rather than for academic purposes. You can always use a thesaurus to find the best academic words possible for your thesis.

Infinitive Verbs

Let's look at some powerful vocabulary you can use for your objective. In a thesis statement in Spanish, the verb you include to express the objective should be in the infinitive (ending in ar, er, ir). Since this is a core element in the planteamiento del problema, it is important to use verbs that sound very academic and formal. Here are the most common ones you can use:

  • analizar (to analyze)
  • comparar (to compare)
  • constrastar (to contrast)
  • crear (to create)
  • definir (to define)
  • delinear (to delineate)
  • demostrar (to demonstrate)
  • describir (to describe)
  • descubrir (to discover/find out)
  • designar (to designate)
  • determinar (to determine)
  • diagnosticar (to diagnose)
  • distinguir (to differentiate)
  • efectuar (to make)
  • elaborar (to elaborate/construct)
  • establecer (to establish)
  • examinar (to examine)
  • explicar (to explain)
  • formular (to formulate)
  • identificar (to identify)
  • implementar (to implement)
  • proponer (to propose)
  • seleccionar (to select)
  • sintetizar (to synthesize)
  • sugerir (to suggest)

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