Merely summarizing what others have said won't be enough.

This resource will help you write clear, concise sentences while remaining in the passive voice. Passive voice is used quite often in scientific writing.

This handout provides steps and exercises to eliminate wordiness at the sentence level.

This section explains the prewriting (invention) stage of the composing process. It includes processes, strategies, and questions to help you begin to write.


A good thesis statement accomplishes three purposes:

It usually begins by putting some thesis or argument on the table for consideration.

(Be sure to specify where the passage can be found.) However, direct quotations should be used It is seldom necessary to quote more than a few sentences.


It's okay to change your thesis to one you can defend.

(In this respect, philosophy is more like a science than the other humanities.) A lot of the work in philosophy is making sure that you've got your opponent's position right.You can assume that is stupid (see above).

Make sure your sentences say exactly what you want them to say.

Are they reasonable starting-points for X's argument, or ought he have provided some independent argument for them?Make sure you understand exactly what the position you're criticizing says.

For example, suppose you write "" Is that what you really mean?

Philosophers sometimes do say outrageous things, but if the view you're attributing to a philosopher seems to be then you should think hard about whether he really does say what you think he says.

It's not enough that know what their point is.

Different people sometimes use this special vocabulary in different ways, so it's important to make sure that you and your readers are all giving these words the same meaning.

Notice how much the paper improves with each revision:

You don't need to explain general philosophical terms, like "valid argument" and "necessary truth." But you should explain any technical terms you use which bear on the specific topic you're discussing.

They record the way words are used in everyday discourse.

So, for instance, don't start talking about "Plato's view of the " and then switch to talking about "Plato's view of the " and then switch to talking about "Plato's view of the " If you mean to be talking about the same thing in all three cases, then call it by the same name.

But these forms of philosophical writing are difficult to do well.

Those perceptions, which enter with most force and violence, we may name impressions; and under this name I comprehend all our sensations, passions, and emotions, as they make their first appearance in the soul.