Back in the late 90s, in the process of reading for my MA dissertation, I put together a collection of hundreds of sentence frames that I felt could help me with my academic writing later on. And they did. Immensely. After the course was over, I stacked my sentences away, but kept wondering if I could ever put them to good use and perhaps help other MA / PhD students.
So here are 70 sentences extracted and adapted for from the original compilation, which ran for almost 10 pages. This list is organized around keywords.
Before you start:
1. Pay close attention to the words in bold, which are often used in conjunction with the main word.
2. [ ] means “insert a suitable word here”, while ( ) means “this word is optional.”
3. Keep in mind that, within each group, some examples are slightly more formal / less frequent than others.
a. Along similar lines, [X] argues that ___.
b. There seems to be no compelling reason to argue that ___.
c. As a rebuttal to this point, it could be argued that ___.
d. There are [three] main arguments that can be advanced to support ___.
e. The underlying argument in favor of / against [X] is that ___.
f. [X]’s argument in favor of / against [Y] runs as follows: ___.
a. In this [paper], I put forward the claim that ___.
b. [X] develops the claim that ___.
c. There is ample / growing support for the claim that ___.
d. [X]’s findings lend support to the claim that ___.
e. Taking a middle-ground position, [X] claims that ___.
a. The data gathered in the [pilot study] suggest that ___.
b. The data appears to suggest that ___.
c. The data yielded by this [study] provide strong / convincing evidence that ___.
d. A closer look at thedata indicates that ___.
e. The data generated by [X] are reported in [table 1].
f. The aim of this [section] is to generalize beyond the data and ___.
a. [X] has encourageddebate on ___.
b. There has been an inconclusive debate about whether ___.
c. The question of whether ___ has caused much debate in [our profession] [over the years].
d. (Much of) the current debate revolves around ___.
a. In this section / chapter, the discussion will point to ___.
b. The foregoing discussion implies that ___.
c. For the sake of discussion, I would like to argue that ___.
d. In this study, the question under discussion is ___.
e. In this paper, the discussion centers on ___.
f. [X] lies at the heart of the discussion on ___.
a. The availableevidence seems to suggest that ___ / point to ___.
b. On the basis of the evidence currently available, it seems fair to suggest that ___.
c. There is overwhelming evidence for the notion that ___.
d. Further evidence supporting / against [X] may lie in the findings of [Y], who ___.
e. These results provide confirmatory evidence that ___.
a. I will now summarize the ground covered in this [chapter] by ___.
b. On logical grounds, there is no compelling reason to argue that ___.
c. [X] takes a middle-ground position on [Y] and argues that ___.
d. On these grounds, we can argue that ___.
e. [X]’s views are grounded on the assumption that ___.
a. This study is an attempt to address the issue of ___.
b. In the present study, the issue under scrutiny is ___.
c. The issue of whether ___ is clouded by the fact that ___.
d. To portray the issue in [X]’s terms, ___.
e. Given the centrality of this issue to [my claim], I will now ___.
f. This [chapter] is concerned with the issue of [how/whether/what] ___.
a. [X] is prominent in the literature on [Y].
b. There is a rapidly growing literature on [X], which indicates that ___.
c. The literature shows no consensus on [X], which means that ___.
d. The (current) literature on [X] abounds with examples of ___.
a. The main theoretical premise behind [X] is that ___.
b. [X] and [Y] share an important premise: ___.
c. [X] is premised on the assumption that ___.
d. The basic premises of [X]’s theory / argument are ___.
e. The arguments against [X]’s premise rest on [four] assumptions: ___.
a.This study draws on research conducted by ___.
b. Although there has been relatively little research on / into [X], ___.
c. In the last [X] years, [educational] research has provided ample support for the assertion that ___.
d. Current research appears / seems to validate the view that ___.
e. Research on / into ___ does not support the view that ___.
f. Further researchin this area may include ___ and ___.
g. Evidence for [X] is borne out by research that shows ___.
h. There is insufficient research on / into ___ to draw any firm conclusions about / on ___.
a. The consensus view seems to be that ___.
b. [X] propounds the view that ___.
c. Current research (does not) appear(s) to validate such a view.
d. There have been dissenters to the view that ___.
e. The answer to [X] / The difference between [X] and [Y] is not as clear-cut as popular views might suggest.
f. The view that _____ is in line with [common sense].
g. I am not alone in my view that ___.
h. [X] puts forward the view that ___.
i. [X]’s views rest on the assumption that ___.
If you found this list useful, check out The Only Academic Phrasebook You’ll Ever Need, which contains 600 sentences, as well as grammar and vocabulary tips. E-book and paperback available on Amazon.
You’re talking to your native English-speaking friend about your recent breakup and how depressed you are when suddenly he turns toward you and says “Don’t worry about it man, girls like that are a dime a dozen!” You then stare at your friend in confusion. You simply don’t understand why your good friend is comparing the girl that was once the love of your life to $1.20.
Actually “dime a dozen” doesn’t mean anything even remotely close to what the individual words in the phrase implies. For native speakers of English, a dime a dozen simply means that something is common and easy to obtain. Because we cannot figure out the meaning by examining the phrase alone, “dime a dozen” is what we call an idiom. As a non-native speaker of English, the best way to understand idioms is to memorize their meanings from the standpoint of a native speaker. We’ve listed the 10 most common idioms in English and their actual meanings.
1. Piece of cake – No, when someone says that the assignment they just finished was a piece of cake, it does not mean that their professor gave them a red velvet cupcake for their midterm paper, what piece of cake actually means is that something is very easy to complete.
2. Costs an arm and a leg – It would be a strange world we lived in if buying that fancy shiny purse literally required us to chop off our body parts to give as tribute to the Louis Vuitton gods. When something costs an arm and a leg it actually means that something is very expensive.
3. Break a leg – Oh, look, another idiom about legs. You’re about to take your dreaded calculus final and before you head into your classroom your roommate texts you, “Break a Leg!” Why, you think in your head, would he ever wish that upon me? I thought we were cool with each other. Well, your roommate surely doesn’t want your bones to break while walking to your seat in the exam room that’s for sure. Break a leg actually means good luck!
4. Hit the books – If you’re a student in an English speaking environment you’re probably going to be hearing this phrase a lot. Before you imagine students running into their campus library and punching, kicking and wrestling apart the complete works of Shakespeare, we would just like to say that hit the books actually means to study. There there, you can still punch books in your spare time if you want, we won’t judge you.
5. Let the cat out of the bag – Why would someone put their cat in a bag? What did the cat ever do to them? Our last idiom actually means to disclose a secret that was supposed to be kept, well, as a secret. The next time someone lets the cat out of the bag do not immediately pick up your phone and call animal cruelty control.
6. Hit the nail on the head – This idiom has to do with doing or saying something that is precisely right. If you don’t understand this, just think about that sweet feeling you get when you swing a hammer at a nail and hit it perfectly.
7. When pigs fly – So, have you ever seen a pig fly before? Never? Me neither. This idiom basically means that something will never happen, like fat little pink mammals soaring toward the sun!
8. You can’t judge a book by its cover – How many awesome books do you think you’ve never read in your life just because the cover did not catch your eye? This idiom does not only apply to books however, but can be used for everything in general. Essentially it means that you should not decide upon something based just on outward appearances.
9. Bite off more than you can chew – Imagine your waiter brings you the biggest juiciest hamburger from your favorite American restaurant. In your hunger, you grab it quickly and take a giant bite out of it. Unfortunately, the bite you’ve taken is too big, and you end up looking like an idiot trying to shove this bite down your throat while drinking water and trying not to choke. That is the most literal sense of the meaning, but in general it just means to attempt to take on a task that is too much for you to handle.
10. Scratch someone’s back – We all know how difficult it is to scratch that itch on your back that your hand just aren’t flexible enough to reach, so why would you want to scratch some random person’s smelly back? Because if you do, they may eventually be willing to scratch your own smelly back when you need it! What this idiom means is to help someone out with the assumption that they will return the favor in the future!
That’s all for now, be sure to keep checking our blog for more idioms in the future! (No that wasn’t an idiom, seriously, check our blog out, and let the cat out of the bag!)