Thesis Statement

What Words You Should Avoid in a Thesis Statement

Many words and phrases appropriate in discussions or informal writing are considered unacceptable while writing a thesis statement. Avoid using words or phrases that are excessively casual, simplistic, ambiguous, overstated, or subjective, as well as those that are usually inaccurate or excessive.

A majority of students detest writing essays. It is demanding, time-consuming, and difficult. Every essay must have a thesis statement, supporting arguments, references, and a conclusion. The language you use to persuade readers is exceptional. Words make you stand out in a sea of students writing on the same topics.

However, here’s the issue:

Not every word has a meaning. Some make your writing stumble, while others are unpleasant and repetitive. Some make your argument sound sophisticated but meaningless and are used more for word count than anything else. Stay away from these words and phrases in your thesis to keep your writing clear and meaningful.

Avoid Contraction:

Avoid using contractions like “don’t,” “can’t,” and “won’t” in thesis statements. Academic writing requires the use of complete words; avoid using contractions.


An idiom is an expression whose meaning cannot be inferred from the common interpretations of its parts. Idioms, which include expressions like “he kicked the bucket,” are particularly problematic in academic writing because they risk making your intended meaning unclear to readers who are not native English speakers. The following three idioms are some of the ones I see most often when proofreading academic papers:

All things being equal: You can usually eliminate the line “all things being equal” without adding anything else if it is superfluous or redundant.

In a nutshell: Use a more general expression, like in summary or conclusion, instead of saying “in a nutshell.”

However: Idioms like “on the other hand” are informal and detract from your paper. Consider using conversely in place of the phrase on the other hand.

“So on,” “etc.,” “and so forth,” etc.”

These run-on sentences show nothing but your incapacity to deal with arguments, specifics, and examples. They exclaim, “I have nothing further to say!” Keep them out of your thesis statements.


Clichés like “it’s an open secret,” “we all know,” or “sleep like a baby” are overused and have long since lost their meaning. They make a feeble attempt to appear intellectual, but such phrases appear false.

Things, Things, Stuff, Good, Bad, Big

These terms’ informality and ambiguity, which are improper for academic language, are the problem. They are OK in casual conversation, but when used in essays, they seem too simple and give authorities a bad impression of your language. Try your hardest to become an expert at synonymizing and paraphrasing, so you can write more complex words in the thesis statement your organization’s data cannot be pasted here.

Extraordinary Questions

You ask, assuming readers are aware of the solution. Then why do they require this information, though? What is its worth? Rhetorical questions in academic writing are incorrect because they do not call for justifications. You should make unambiguous claims in the thesis because what is obvious to you might not be to the reader.

Double Negatives

Double negatives will confuse your readers and weaken your sentences’ impact. For example, think about the phrase:

He was open to taking part in the research.

The negative connotations of the prefix un- and the word not balance each other out and alter the meaning of the statement. Make it clear if you wish to say that someone participated in the study reluctantly.

Ampersands In The Text (“&”)

Avoid replacing the word in sentences with an ampersand. In-text parenthetical citations are typically required to include an ampersand, but the word must be spelled clearly in your thesis statement. Your paper is too casual to be used as a part of an academic paper if it contains an ampersand.


Most writing guidance has exceptions, but not this one: Never use profanity in thesis writing. Being casual, profanity may be offensive, crass, or disrespectful to some individuals. Avoid using vulgar language that could offend academics or other readers, even if you enjoy stirring up controversy or giving your readers a good chuckle.

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Passive Voice

One of the most frequent errors I find when editing academic papers is passive voice. Some students mistakenly believe that using the passive voice gives their writing a more official tone, but it confuses your readers and increases word count. Your professors dislike the passive voice because it is difficult for them to interpret what you intend. Most style manuals (APA, MLA, Chicago) also state that authors should refrain from using passive phrases. Make sure that the subject of your sentence is doing the action when changing passive sentences, whether you are writing your first draught or revising for what seems like the hundredth time.

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Pay close attention any time you use or where to detect passive voice. Although these two terms do not always denote passive voice, they can help detect it if you pay attention. For example, the phrase that follows uses passive voice:

The investigation took place in 2021.

If your style manual permits the use of personal pronouns, add a subject and rephrase the sentence as follows:

We conducted the study in 2021.

To make the sentence active, you can omit the use of personal pronouns if your style manual requires it.

“The study was carried out by the researchers in 2021.”


Academic writing can be intimidating, but hopefully, this list of phrases and terms to stay away from will help you as you tackle your upcoming major assignment. Even though there are some exceptions to some topics on this list, learning to stay away from them can help you improve as a writer. The next time you have to stay up all night to finish an academic thesis, you might even enjoy yourself if you review your professor or advisor’s criteria, follow style conventions, and avoid the terms or phrases on this list.

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