Master's thesis writing: terms and phrases to avoid

Receiving the assignment to write a master’s thesis means that you have arrived at a turning point in your academic career. It shows that you have matured in your academic career, and that you are ready to take that big step into writing a major paper. The master’s thesis is not a little essay with a little argument and a few facts. Your master’s thesis is a challenging process that involves developing a major argument and supporting it with serious facts from reputable sources. It also means that you are at a point in your career where you should be able to write a brilliant paper with master’s level vocabulary, grammar, and style.

In order to keep your master’s thesis sounding like a master’s thesis, there are several words and phrases that you should avoid. These are a few:

  • A lot: No master’s level writing should ever include the phrase “a lot” due to the elementary nature of the phrase. Please, never, ever say “alot” because that is not a word. When you use a lot in a sentence, you immediately make your paper look like a true amateur wrote it.
  • Things: This is an equivalent to a lot. “Things” are too general. Using the word makes you look like you have no idea what you are writing about in your master’s thesis.
  • Stuff: See “Things.”
  • Very: This is useless term. It offers no support to any other word. Why say that something is very important? Isn’t important enough? When you use “very” in a paper, it makes your professor think you are simply looking to pad your word count.
  • In my thesis, I will tell you: If you have ever read a paper by a sixth grader who is learning about writing claims, you will see this phrase in this form or a variant. It makes every English teacher cringe. You never need to “tell” your reader what you are doing in your paper - you just do it.
  • In conclusion: Since your thesis has sections, your readers will already know the conclusion has arrived.
  • I believe: The master’s thesis is not about what you believe, but what you can prove. Never use this phrase in any academic writing, unless you are writing a personal statement or a poem.
  • You: The word “you” is not appropriate to use in nearly every academic paper. It is too conversation, especially for a master’s thesis. You may use “you” in a blog or a conversation piece, but that’s it!