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9.4.3 Position

Make sure that your reader knows your position on the issue. This should be properly expressed 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 feel about 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 everyone knows already? Again, your reader should already know that the issue you’re writing about is controversial, otherwise there would be little reason to write about it. Unless you’ve been instructed to merely write a report or summary of an issue, assume that your professor wants you to take a position and defend it with the best evidence you can muster.


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Expression and Inquiry by Christopher Manning; Sally Pierce; and Melissa Lucken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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