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Make sure that your reader knowsyourposition on the issue. This should be properlyexpressed in your thesis, but check your entire introduction for "wishy washy" sentences.Unless you re only writing a summary, your introduction should make it clear how you feelabout the issue at stake.Avoid sentences or "thesis statements" such as the following:•Abortion is a very controversial issue in America.•Capital punishment is both good and bad.•This paper will present the pros and cons of modern copyright law.Are these examples stating an issue and taking a position, or merely stating what everyoneknows already? Again, your reader should already know that the issue you re writing aboutis controversial, otherwise there would be little reason to write about it. Unless you ve beeninstructed to merely write a report or summary of an issue, assume that your professorwants you to take a position and defend it with the best evidence you can muster.14.4.4 ScopeBesides explaining what your paper is about and your argument, an introduction may alsostate what you will and won t cover. For instance, let s say your paper is about an issueaffecting mothers infected with HIV. Your introduction should reflect this focus, rather thanpresent your paper as a general overview of HIV. If your scope isn t clear, then readers willconstantly wonder when you ll address the larger topic--or even assume you simply forgot todo it.77
RevisingLet s say you wanted to write a paper that argued that Ford makes better cars than Chevrolet.However, your introduction didn t mention Chevrolet at all, but instead had the line: "Fordmakes better cars than any other car manufacturer." Your reader would quickly begin towonder why you re not talking about Toyota or Nissan! Try to anticipate what your readerwill expect to see covered, and, if necessary, state it explicitly:•Although my topic is capital punishment, I will focus on one aspect of that larger issue:the execution of convicts who are mentally ill.•Although we interviewed over two hundred doctors in our study, we will discuss onlythree of them in detail here.•In the following essay, I will be discussing only the first edition ofLeaves of Grass,andmy claims may or may not apply to Whitman s later editions.14.4.5 Body ParagraphsAs you build support for your thesis in the "body" paragraphs, always ask yourself if you arespending your readers time wisely. Are you writing unnecessarily complex and confusingsentences, or using 50 words when 5 would do? If a sentence is already plain and direct,there s no need to fluff it up. Flowery words and phrases obscure your ideas: when writing,beingconciseis key. For example, why write, "Cats have a tendency toward sleeping mostof the day" when you could simply write, "Cats usually sleep most of the day"? How aboutchanging "The 12th day of the month of April" to "April 12th?" Try to pick out such sentencesand substitute simpler ones.But wait--don t you need to inflate your text so you can meet the minimum word count?