Chapter 4: From Thesis to Essay
To begin, go back into your thesis and literally circle all of your verbs. Once you have done this, ask yourself whether any of these verbs can be elevated to another verb that is more complex and richer in connotative value. As an example, look for the verb “use.” Think of what might be meant by “using” a smartphone. “Using” a smartphone ranges from texting a friend, to playing a videogame, to browsing the Internet, to hammering a nail. All of these are “uses” for a smartphone. Instead, an author would speak to the specific activity that is taking place on that cellphone.
As you replace some of the weaker verbs, try not to think of this as a synonym-finding activity. You are not simply right-clicking and finding a longer word. Rather, you should be looking for verbs that carry more weight and point towards the argument that the author is making. You should consider, in a simple way, whether the verb you have chosen implies a negative or positive attitude. Does the negative or positive attitude implied by the verb match the negative or positive attitude that is within the author’s complex argument?
Watch Video 4.2, which explains how to elevate the language of your thesis statement to make it as clear, compact and sophisticated as possible.
Now that you have evaluated your three-storey thesis statement, rewrite it so that you elevate your language and reflect the full complexity of your proposed reading of the author’s argument.