Do I...

  • "put forward a thesis"?
  • "propose a thesis"?
  • "put a thesis forward"?
  • "promote a thesis"?
  • "promote the thesis of X"?
  • "present a thesis"?
  • "raise a thesis"?
  • "postulate"/"theorize"/"speculate"/"suggest", without using the actual word "thesis"?
  • something else?

Note: I'm not talking about a document or an essay which you might submit, but about a theoretical construction, a set of interrelated ideas, etc.

  • 1
    Flaunt, sport, front, wield, bust out with... "Lemmee wag this thesis of mine at you..." Just kidding- it's an interesting question.
    – bobro
    Apr 3, 2015 at 20:48
  • 5
    Submit seems to be the usual way of expressing this. If you want to be more original, you could also consider proffer.
    – user86291
    Apr 3, 2015 at 21:17
  • @Hans Adler: I don't understand why no-one has asked OP to disambiguate which of the two primary senses of thesis he's asking about, since they have such huge implications for the verb likely to be used. I must tell you that proffer doesn't even figure in the top ten - and that's after excluding the two that are almost exclusively reserved for the formal academic process. (Nor do any of bobro's suggestions, but I expect that surprises no-one! :) Apr 4, 2015 at 1:05
  • You left out a p word: purport.
    – Mazura
    Apr 4, 2015 at 4:14
  • @FumbleFingers: Good point about the ambiguity. Apparently all previous respondents automatically read it one way or the other.
    – user86291
    Apr 4, 2015 at 8:23

6 Answers 6


put forward (an idea or theory) for consideration by others.

Along with Mysti Sinha, I recommend propound, which FumbleFingers' research also unearths.

I also like pose, especially because it's not so commonly used with thesis, theory, hypothesis, etc.

to set forth or offer for attention or consideration {let me pose a question}


My opinion-

When you propound an idea, you put it forward. (vocabulary.com)


I would use the word submit:

3.0 [WITH OBJECT] Present (a proposal, application, or other document) to a person or body for consideration or judgement:
the panel’s report was submitted to a parliamentary committee

3.1 [WITH CLAUSE] (Especially in judicial contexts) suggest; argue:

I submit my thesis with compelling arguments for peer review.

  • Sorry, I am specifically not submitting it to anyone...
    – einpoklum
    Apr 3, 2015 at 21:23
  • 3
    LOL @einpoklum! Are you just going to keep this thesis to yourself and not share it with anyone? Apr 3, 2015 at 21:28
  • I like Propose the best Apr 3, 2015 at 21:41
  • 2
    Submit seems to be the formal word, but it good in my ear for the informal presentation of any proposition.
    – Ed Miller
    Apr 3, 2015 at 22:10
  • 1
    Submit is a fine word whether one wants to use it to mean put forward for consideration, evaluation, discussion, or approval, and to anyone, specific or general, and in the form of a document or speech, whether formally or informally. It's fine to prefer other words, of course, but there is nothing wrong with submit for any objective reason that's been raised. Apr 13, 2015 at 6:01

The word thesis has at least three different meanings.

    • a statement of theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved: his central thesis is that psychological life is not part of the material world. (in Hegelian philosophy) a proposition forming the first stage in the process of dialectical reasoning. Compare with antithesis, synthesis.
    • a long essay or dissertation involving personal research, written by a candidate for a university degree: a doctoral thesis.
    • an unstressed syllable or part of a metrical foot in Greek or Latin verse. Often contrasted with arsis. (Oxford Dictionary Online)

Of all the suggestions the OP makes, most relate to the first meaning of thesis above. Only present or submit would seem applicable to the second meaning, namely a doctoral thesis.


What I like about NGrams is they're great for idiomatic preference "beauty contests"...


But thesis has two common meanings. Both the big hitters in that chart (submit, present) are mainly for the "university degree component" sense. So if we exclude them we can focus on the remaining alternatives - which are far more likely to occur in general conversation/debate...


The three clear front-runners there (advance, put forward, argue) all suggest "combative" championing of a position, which is what we'd expect in the non-academic context (where you're more likely to be quizzed and even challenged back by sceptics, in a debate).

I assume everyone agrees academia accounts for most of the present, submit usages. The main point of the pretty pictures is to show we use lots of different verbs in more everyday contexts (I could have added expound, introduce, etc., but it would just become unreadable).

TL;DR: You need to push your thesis forward a bit, but the exact word doesn't really matter.

  • This settles it. propound it is.
    – einpoklum
    Apr 4, 2015 at 8:37

I would vote for "present," or "advance."

  • Could you explain why? Can you provide any references which support your preference?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Apr 4, 2015 at 3:49

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