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Abstract Vs Concrete – Understanding the Difference

A part of being precise is the avoidance of abstract words, phrases, and concepts that can cloud the intended message of the dissertation. Using concrete words are more direct, forceful and concise, delivering a more meaningful message to the audience. There are two basic questions: what is the difference between abstract and concrete and how does a candidate write concrete prose?

Understanding the Difference

Many of us grew up playing games like “Clue.” Games like Clue teach us many unexpected lessons. Clue is a perfect example of the difference between abstract and concrete word usage. The game begins with an abstract statement: Someone killed the victim in a room of the mansion with one of six weapons. The object of Clue is to identify who committed the murder, what room it was committed in, and what weapon did the murderer use. As the game progresses, players narrow the list of possibilities down until someone identifies who the murderer is, the location the murder was committed in, and the weapon used by the murderer.

The Challenge of Concrete Writing

Converting abstract sentences to concrete sentences works much the same way. In a dissertation, the writer clearly identifies what the actor, action, and subject is in each sentence. Abstracts can be virtually any type word or phrase and name qualities rather than identities, creating vagueness in the writing and thus failing to meet the expectation of clarity.

Concrete words specifically describe the things or actions, addressing a particular object or incident, and aid the student in meeting the standards of dissertation writing. The core value concrete words embody is a characterization by or identification of an immediate experience of tangible things or events with specific clarity as to their meaning, ultimately meeting the dissertation requirement.

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