Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you'll make in the rest of your paper.
Is your thesis statement clear? Your thesis statement is no exception to your writing: it needs to be as clear as possible. By being as clear as possible in your thesis statement, you will make sure that your reader understands exactly what you mean. Tip: In order to be as clear as possible in your writing: Unless you're writing a technical report, avoid technical language. Always avoid jargon, unless you are confident your audience will be familiar with it. Avoid vague words such as "interesting," "negative," "exciting," "unusual," and "difficult." Avoid abstract words such as "society," "values," or "culture."
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