Style-Guide.doc - OConnell/HH104 A Few Notes on Grammar and...

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O’Connell/HH104 A Few Notes on Grammar and Style PAPER ORGANIZATION Introduction and thesis construction : The introduction should be written last, after the rest of the paper is written and polished. It is essentially a summary of the paper: by the end of the introduction, I should know the subject of your paper, the topics you will cover, and the argument you are making. The introduction should also contain the thesis statement, which should also be the best written sentence in the paper. The thesis can be at any point in the introduction, but usually comes in the beginning or at the end. The thesis is a claim that can be argued or debated . For example, in a paper on mistakes in America’s military history, which would be the better thesis? The Vietnam War occurred between 1965 and 1975 and led to 58 thousand American deaths. Ten years of unsuccessful fighting and 58 thousand American deaths made Vietnam the biggest mistake in U.S. military history. Topic sentences and transition sentences : Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence or, in some cases, a transition sentence. This first sentence should either state the main point of the paragraph, or link the new paragraph to the previous one. For example, in a paragraph on the problems of the Vietnam War, which would make the better topic sentence? America’s war in Vietnam was ill-conceived and poorly-executed. The American war in Vietnam had a lot of problems, both in how it was conceived and in the ways in which it was executed. When you are moving from one paragraph to another, you often need a transition sentences. For example, in the same paper on Vietnam, how would you move from a paragraph on how Americans thought about the war to a new paragraph on how they fought? Try starting the new paragraph with a transition sentence: Because the Americans misunderstand the war, they fought it improperly.
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