Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Fleshing out the list of what to avoid when writing a thesis, the following points are things to look out for, and suggested improvements:

No Perceptive Point:

Original: In Dombey and Son, Dickens uses the figure of the triangle in every scene.

Revised: Throughout Dombey and Son, the triangle emerges as a symbol of family unity which is privileged as the ideal unit of society.

Self-Evident Statement:

Original: Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story.

Revised: Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet presents the view that love redefines the social order.

Statement of Fact:

Original: Computers have changed the world.

Revised: Most people believe that computers are a welcomed change to modern life, but ironically they have increased rather than decreased the amount of time we spend at work.

Statement of Summary:

Original: Of the many films that depict human atrocities, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan presents the horrors of war.

Revised: Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan argues that the horrors of war bring out the goodness of humans.

Statement of a plan:

Original: This paper will discuss the relationship between the leaders of the Allies during World War II.

Revised: By examining their correspondence to one another, I will show how the relationships between President Theodore Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Premier Joseph Stalin were subject to stress and not always amicable during World War II.


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