Table of Contents


Writing a Thesis

In order to write a good thesis you must:

  1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing:

    • An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience.

    • An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.

    • An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided. It should answer your research question.

    • If you are writing a text that does not fall under these three categories (e.g., a narrative), a thesis statement somewhere in the first paragraph could still be helpful to your reader.

  2. Your thesis statement should be specific—it should cover only what you will discuss in your paper and should be supported with specific evidence.

  3. The thesis statement usually appears at the end of the first paragraph of a paper and should be between one and two sentences.

  4. Your topic may change as you write, so you may need to revise your thesis statement to reflect exactly what you have discussed in the paper.

Thesis Statement Examples

Example of an analytical thesis statement:

An analysis of the college admission process reveals one challenge facing counselors: accepting students with high test scores or students with strong extracurricular backgrounds.

The paper that follows should:

      1. Explain the analysis of the college admission process

      2. Explain the challenge facing admissions counselors

Example of an expository (explanatory) thesis statement:

The life of the typical college student is characterized by time spent studying, attending class, and socializing with peers.

The paper that follows should:

      1. Explain how students spend their time studying, attending class, and socializing with peers

Example of an argumentative thesis statement:

High school graduates should be required to take a year off to pursue community service projects before entering college in order to increase their maturity and global awareness.

The paper that follows should:

      1. Present an argument and give evidence to support the claim that students should pursue community projects before entering college

Perdue OWL

Five Paragraph Essay Outline Guide

Essay Outline - Guide

MLA Format

Choosing the Google Doc MLA Template

How to Format a Google Doc to MLA Format

MLAPaperFormattingFREEHandouttoModelMLAFrontPageSubmissionFormat (1).pdf

For any more questions or help about MLA Format visit Perdue University Writing Lab.

What is Plagiarism and How Do I Avoid It?

Plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as your own. It is not an accepted academic practice and can have very serious consequences from getting a 0% on an assignment to expulsion.

Citing Sources

MLA format requires both in-text or parenthetical citations and a complete citation on a work cited page. Depending on the type of source that is being cited there are different rules about how to cite the source. If your source is not listed on this guide please contact Mr. Q and he can help you. Remember Wikipedia is not a credible source!

MLA Citation Guide.pdf

For any more questions or help about MLA citations visit Perdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). The website even has an MLA citation machine to help you.

Editing and Revising

Consult this section regularly when when writing and editing rough drafts. Believe it or not, these things matter! You have amazing ideas, but if your reader cannot understand your writing then all your ideas and hard work are lost.



  • Then is used for time sequence.

  • Example: Then, after dropping my ice cream, I cried for an hour.

  • Than is used of comparison only.

  • Example: I like ice cream more than cookies.


  • Learn the different meaning of these words and use them correctly.

  • Example: There is the best parking spot for mass. Their pew is on the right side. They're going to mass in Spokane this Sunday.

"Stuff," "a lot," "got"

  • All junk words; avoid using them. Consult a thesaurus for alternatives

  • Example: Instead of "he got married," try "he is married."

  • Example: Instead of "We did a lot of activities" try "We did many activities" or "We did a variety of activities."

  • Example: Instead of "I have too much stuff in my garage" try "I have too much tools in my garage."


  • It's is a contraction of "it is"

  • Example: It's good that we don't have to eat spinach every night.

  • Its is a possessive pronoun, and it should not have an apostrophe.

  • Example: Its feathers were as black as the midnight sky.


  • For time periods use the following forms only; 1990s or 90s. An apostrophe is not needed for such references.

  • Example: I love to wear tie dye shirts from the 1970s.

  • For specific years write it in numerical form and include either CE or BCE.

  • Example: George Washington was born in 1732 CE.


  • I will rarely ask a question for a written response that deserves a yes or no answer, so don't use these precise words in written responses. Even if the answer could be answered with a yes or no, be bold and precise with a statement instead.

  • Example: Would you like this character as a personal friend? I would enjoy their character's sense of humor and his loyalty. These are qualities that I admire and treasure in my friends.

I think this means that...

  • If a teacher ask a question in writing, he or she intends to find out what you think about the subject of the questions. He or she is asking for your thoughts and feelings, so be bold and precise and provide your thoughts and feelings without an introduction.

  • Example: What is meant by the phrase "freedom of speech." Freedom of speech is one of my most cherished rights under the Bill of Rights.


  • The word like is a great choice for introducing a simile or used as a synonym for appreciate. However, it should not be used to introduce an example. Use such as, including or for example instead.

  • Example: His attitude brightened the room like the sun through the window.

  • Example: I like baseball more then football.

  • Example: He said several things such as, : The chalice with the palace has the brew that is true" and "The vessel with the pestle has the pellet with the poison."


  • Spell out the word and in all writing assignments. Do not use symbols.

  • Example: I would like whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, chopped nuts, and a cherry on my sundae, please.


  • Spell out numbers one through nine; use numbers for numbers 10 and higher. When referring to money use numerals preceded by the dollar symbol ($).

  • Example: He could think of nine things that he could do with his $10.00 bill.


  • Do not use the word till in the place of the word until.

  • Example: He wanted to be on student council until he learned that he was expected to set a good example for his schoolmates.


  • For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So - these are the coordinating conjunctions to use between independent clauses (complete thoughts). Remember to place a comma before them!

  • Example: Mr. Q said, "Use your FANBOYS properly," but Portnoy didn't understand the acronym.


End marks

  • Use them!

  • Use periods for declarative sentences (statements).

  • Example: I like cheese.

  • Use periods for imperative sentences (commands).

  • Example: Drink your milk.

  • Use question marks from interrogative sentences (questions).

  • Example: Do you always drink the milk from your cereal bowl?

  • Use the exclamation point for exclamatory sentences (statements of strong emotion). *Note: one exclamation point is all that should be used in writing assignments.*

  • Example: Watch out, Billy backwashed into the milk Carton!

Comma use

  • Use commas between items in a series and before the conjunction.

  • Example: He ate them in the car, on the plane, and on the boat.

  • Use commas between independent clauses joined by conjunctions (the FANBOYS) before the conjunction.

  • Example: He thoroughly enjoyed these treats, but his companions did not enjoy his breath.

Semi-Colon (;)

  • Consider using this punctuation mark to join closely related independent clauses. Use care not to use a comma alone to splice independent clauses together; this requires a semi-colon or a comma and one of the FANBOYS.

  • Example: Billy's love of canned seafood was profound; it was his true love.


  • Book titles, films, plays, research paper, websites, songs, or other document are always italicized.

  • Example: Mr. Q's favorite books is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.


Avoid Fragments (incomplete thoughts)

  • Each sentence must have a subject and a verb and must form a complete thought.

  • Example: I went to the store and then went down the street.

Watch sentence beginnings

  • Try to avoid boring your reader by using the same word to start sentences over and over again - think of another way to begin your sentences.

Vary sentence structure

  • Avoid using the same sentence type repeatedly. Varying sentence type keeps your reader interested

Other Writing Tips

Example: Vary sentence structure