Pointers for Writing a Thesis

1. Be specific.

Lots of people think that Old Yeller was a good book, but good is not very specific about why people liked the story. Use precise language in your thesis (and in all your writing). You will not only write a better thesis, but you may also have an easier time with the rest of your argument.

Practice exercise: Note that better is, itself, an unspecific word as used here. How is the thesis better? What words would describe the improvement to the thesis more precisely? How would using that word change the impact of the sentence?
2. Use interesting language.

One of the benefits of precise language is that it is often interesting language. Good is a common, dull word. Heart-wrenching, while a bit over the top, is a much more interesting, expressive word. Such language can capture a reader's attention. Just don't overdo it.

3. Use action verbs.

Action is more interesting than mere existence. But students often have trouble making something happen in a thesis, since a thesis typically states a truth instead of describing an action. Fortunately, you can apply several strategies to rewrite your thesis in active voice. Consider, for example, this draft thesis:

This book is an example of tragic literature.

The revised thesis below tells us not what the book is, but what it does:

The book conveys the sensation of grief through its tragic imagery.

With the action verb conveys, the revision indicates how the tragedy affects the audience. As a result, it is a richer, more compelling thesis than the original. Moreover, a paper that begins with such a thesis is likely to have a compelling conclusion as well.

4. Keep it simple.

A complex sentence can bury your thoughts in a shroud of clauses. In contrast, a short, strong sentence can be quite powerful.

With these ideas in mind, you can write a thesis that will engage your readers and make them want to read the rest of your paper. And once you get someone excited about reading your work, you are well on your way to success.

The Thesis

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