This is a corpus-based study that investigates the use of stance markers in MA theses written by Egyptian and American graduate students. It is a descriptive and exploratory study, utilizing a quantitative and qualitative design. A compiled corpus of 15 Egyptian theses was examined and compared to that of 15 American theses in terms of the writers' use of stance markers. The study explored the use of self-mention through utilizing first person pronouns I, my, and me, and the more impersonal “it…that” structures and detected the patterns of the frequency and function of their use in both corpora. The findings of the study suggest that Egyptian thesis writers tend to be more distant and cautious in their writings. They prefer to employ more detached linguistic strategies to express their stance. This is illustrated in their avoidance of the use of first person pronouns and their high frequency of utilizing the impersonal “it…that” structures, passive constructions, and doubt adverbs. Another finding is that Egyptian thesis writers display a great deal of linguistic competence in utilizing “it…that” structures; however, they show a lack of variety in their choice of lexical items and syntactic structures in this stance feature. Differences in the use of stance markers in both corpora were highlighted and patterns of the “it…that” use, represented in The American Thesis Corpus (ATC), were listed in order to help Egyptian thesis writers voice their views in a more confident manner so as to gain acceptance in their disciplinary communities.


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2017

First Advisor

Agameya, Amira

Committee Member 1

Gebril, Atta

Committee Member 2

Baissouny, Reem


82 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


The American University in Cairo