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Sam M.
SMU Law Student
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

What are three essential elements of any well-written paper?

Sam M.
Answer:

Clear, concise, and convincing. The goal of written communication is to take an idea in the author's head and put it in the reader's mind. While many people take for granted this skill in ordinary everyday communication, when trying to communicate through solely the written word, many of the contextual clues that help us communicate are not present. Instead, people have to read and reread their work to make sure it is clear. If the communication is ambiguous (capable of having multiple meanings) or simply not followable, then it doesn't serve its basic purpose. If the work is not concise, in increases the chance that it won't be read. Anybody can be clear if they take long enough to explain themselves. But, the real trick is being able to do it in as few words as possible. It increases the chance the reader will read the communication in its entirety and supports clarity. People often overlook that much of communication is persuasive. Even things like book reports and science papers that describe something, but don't necessarily take a position, still attempt to persuade the reader that the author is competent in the subject about which he or she is writing. Even if your writing isn't tying to prove a point or argument, it should still be written in a way to convey confidence and competence in the material.

Religious Studies
TutorMe
Question:

Why does religious studies rely on self-identification when studies attempt to look at trends in populations?

Sam M.
Answer:

Religion as a concept remains very difficult to label or identify. Also, religions are not monolithic. In other words, calling someone a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist does not tell you very much about what that person believes because of the amount of diversity inherent in religious practice and belief. Therefore, when scholars look at large population trends like, worldwide populations of religions, they rely on people's self-identification rather than attempting to impose an objective standard for what a particular religion believes, thinks, or does.

English
TutorMe
Question:

Please identify any grammatical problems in the following sentence: Yesterday, after going to the park with my sister, she and me ran to the grocery store, were seeing a movie, and played cards.

Sam M.
Answer:

There are two common grammatical errors in the sentence. First, the sentence should read "she and I ran . . ." not "she and me." The best way to test the usage of personal pronouns in the sentence is to remove the other person and see if the sentence still makes sense. ". . . me ran to the grocery store" is wrong and also sounds wrong. ". . . I ran to the grocery store is correct." By removing the "she" it makes it easier to identify which personal pronoun should be in the sentence. The second issue is parallelism. The verbs in the list of activities are not all the same tense. Ran, played, and saw would be correct. Alternatively "we were running, were seeing, and were playing" would be correct. But all of the tenses must match.

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