Revised as of 25 August 2017
This was a topic in one of the listservs to which I belong and I found it curious that the British and American uses were directly opposite each other. So it all depends on the country in which your target audience resides.
Word Confusions started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster: dissertation and thesis; Oxford Dictionaries: dissertation|
|Part of Grammar:|
Plural for noun: dissertations
Plural for noun: theses
|[U.S.] Written for a Ph.D.
[British] Written for a master’s or bachelor’s degree
|[U.S.] Written for a master’s or bachelor’s degree
[British] Written for a Ph.D.
[Israeli] Written for a Ph.D. or master’s degree
|A long piece of writing about a particular subject that is done to earn an advanced degree at a university
An extended, usually written, treatment of a subject
Witten as a requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.), a doctorate in any discipline except medicine, or sometimes theology
|A long essay or dissertation embodying results of original research and especially substantiating a specific view
A statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved
Subject for a composition or essay
[Prosody] An unstressed syllable or part of a metrical foot in Greek or Latin verse 1
[Music] Downward stroke in conducting
|Joe wrote his doctoral dissertation on Thucydides.
She went on then into a dissertation on her family’s love of Ireland.
|His central thesis is that psychological life is not part of the material world.
He finally finished his doctoral thesis.
He wrote his thesis on Marian figures used in the Church during the Renaissance.
Even though he was still in high school, he wrote the equivalent of a master’s thesis on the effects of global warming.
New evidence has come to light which supports his thesis.
We disagreed with the basic thesis of the report.
The book’s central thesis is that propaganda influences the masses in important ways.
|History of the Word:|
|First known use: 1651
Early 17th century, in the sense of discussion, debate from the Latin dissertatio(n-), which is from dissertare, meaning continue to discuss from disserere meaning examine, discuss.
|1 Late Middle English via late Latin from Greek, literally placing, a proposition, from the root of tithenai meaning to place.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
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