Punctuation in the bachelor thesis or master thesis

Dot, dot, comma, dash – finished is the bachelor thesis or master thesis? It’s not that easy with punctuation. Because in the study, in texts and in a book or novel you should convince with a flawless spelling. Especially with scientific texts with long nested sentences, every comma must be set correctly. Here is what you should pay attention to and what sources of error there are.

Overview of punctuation and its use

Only the punctuation provides structure and orientation. Thanks to it, the reader can understand what the author wants to say in his bachelor thesis or master thesis precisely. For the comma, there are most of the regulations in the German spelling, but also the other signs are not negligible.

End-of-sentence sign: With a dot or a question or exclamation mark, you end a whole sentence. However, exclamation marks in the bachelor thesis or master thesis are to be avoided, because they stand for a certain emotionality. But studying is more about expressing oneself soberly and neutrally – that is, in a scientific style of writing.

Colon: He often finds application in the bachelor thesis or master thesis, if one wants to summarize something, for example in a conclusion. Even if you introduce a quote, there is a colon in front of the quotation marks.

Comma: The comma separates main and subordinate clauses or subdivides individual words or phrases into an enumeration. Those who do not want to stumble upon their own commas during their Bachelor’s thesis letter should consider a conclusive sentence structure and not form a nesting sentence.

Semicolon: The Simikolon – also called Strichpunkt – stands for an intermediate solution. However, it is not a point because a semicolon does not necessarily mean the end of a sentence. But it separates words or sentences from each other more than a comma. It is used, for example, in enumerations, to better identify togetherness.

Hyphen: This short dash connects two or more distinct words without spaces. Particularly with the cover sheet in the bachelor thesis or master thesis one should make sure that there the dashes were set correctly in all institutions and study courses. Example: Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich

Dash: Slightly longer than the hyphen, the dash marks an inset in a sentence. At the end of a sentence, one can also use it to make a conclusion.

The most important rules for commas

Is there a comma there and does it need anything there? This question causes many a headache. But most of the time, there are clear clues to punctuation in the sentence that help. In general, a distinction is made between the following cases that require commas:

First of all, a comma is used when separating words or whole phrases. This is often the case with lists.

But you have to be careful when juxtaposing adjectives. Because here is separated only with a comma, if both adjectives are equal and do not refer to each other. For example, one writes “a blue, patterned dress”, but “a blue patterned dress”.

Commas are additionally used to separate main and subordinate clauses. When a subordinate clause begins and you have to put a comma, you can tell by certain introductory words such as that, with, during, or when. In relative clauses, always a pronoun like the one or the other leads the subordinate clause.

In addition, in the case of a subordinate clause, the predicate always comes to an end . If a subordinate clause is inserted and is not at the end, not only at the beginning of a comma but also at the end.

Many people find the punctuation of infinitive groups difficult. Because here one differentiates between unexpanded and extended infinitives. Only the latter requires a comma. The German Society for German Language e.V. explains in a short and easy to understand text how to recognize an extended infinitive.

So you have to put a comma as soon as the infinitive is introduced with the following words:

  • as, instead, except, without, or around. In addition, it is an extended infinitive, if it depends on a noun or other reference word, as well as on, or in the process .

Punctuation of quotes in the bachelor thesis or master thesis

Anyone who writes scientifically has to resort to quotes again and again to prove information. But just when quoting without producing a plagiarism, there are some pitfalls in punctuation. Finally, it’s important to use quotes, parentheses, and other punctuation correctly. Here the most important regulations are explained.

Quotation marks the beginning and end of a quote. If you write your thesis in English you use the double quotes. They are set at the beginning of the quote below and at the end above: “…” For texts in other languages, you should orientate yourself to the respective punctuation. For example, quotation marks are used in quotation marks above: “…” In French, one speaks of so-called guillemets: “…ยป

The end-of-sentence character of a quote always precedes the final quotation mark. If this quote was previously introduced with a sentence to the author, is preceded by a colon. Following this, however, an accompanying sentence is omitted, instead of the quotation mark is a comma instead.

Brackets are also often used when quoting. One uses, among other things, when using the Harvard citation. Then the bibliographical references in a short form directly in brackets after the quote in the running text again and not at the bottom of the page in footnotes.

Square brackets, on the other hand, are used directly in the quote. With them, for example, omissions are marked, then there are three points within the parenthesis: […] Supplements are also made clear to the reader in square brackets.

Punctuation of bibliographical references and footnotes in the bachelor thesis or master’s thesis

When citing, the most important information is summarized in the footnote or bibliography. Depending on the citation method, you can separate this information about author, title, year of publication and place of publication with colons, dots or commas. In some degree programs, the chairs provide precise regulations that are reflected in the study regulations.

If you do not find any specifications, it is important that you decide on a kind of punctuation and follow it constantly and consistently. A clear rule, however, is that every footnote or statement in the bibliography is completed with one point. Anyone who is very uncertain should also consider editing the bachelor thesis or master’s thesis.

With the right punctuation, thought processes can be arranged in scientific texts. For the reader, it is thus an orientation aid and serves for a better understanding. If you want to convince with your bachelor thesis or master thesis with a correct spelling, you should pay attention to punctuation.