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Raindrops on Roses and Correct Punctuation

Raindrops on Roses and Correct Punctuation

By Miss Marm

Doe, a deer, a female deer! Ray, a drop of falling thesis statements!

Hello, I am doing a history paper on the von Trapps. I was wondering if you would look at my working thesis and help me make it stronger. I don't know how much you can help me but I'm grateful if you can help at all.

Here is my thesis:

Maria came to the von Trapp family to tutor a sickly child, with them she found love, family, and music.

My paper is going to be five to seven pages. I'm including background knowledge on Maria and Georg and then telling their story while telling the reader how the film "The Sound of Music" differs from the truth.

Fun fact: did you know that if the von Trapps had really walked over the mountains, they would have most likely walked right into Hitler's eagles nest? Instead they took a train to Italy.

First of all, no, I didn't know the von Trapps would have bumped into the Kehlsteinhaus had they trekked over the hills! How fascinating! I really want to read this paper when it's done. I love The Sound of Music (obviously), and would greedily consume a million pages of fun facts about the real-life family that inspired the movie.

Now, about that thesis.

Here's the glaring grammar problem: it's a comma splice. "Maria came to the von Trapp family to tutor a sickly child" is a complete sentence. So is "With them, she found love, family, and music." You can't jam two complete sentences together with just a comma. You need to use a semicolon, break the sentence in two, or add a conjunction.

Here's the glaring content problem: this thesis is not an argument. Any reasonable person would agree that Maria showed up to tutor, and wound up getting hitched. Those are just facts. You've got to come up with an interesting claim, something you can spend seven pages backing up with evidence. For example:

* Maria saw the von Trapps as a means of escape from her religious life.

* Maria and Georg forged a successful marriage by reversing gender roles.

* Maria found fame and fortune by marketing her family as a brand.

I know nothing about the von Trapps and am just making up slander, but see what I mean? Spend some time mulling over your research and coming up with an interesting and original argument.

Anyone else love the sentimental sugar rush that is The Sound of Music?

To ask me a question, email

Topics: comma splices, thesis statements, the sound of music

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