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Naomi S.
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Question:

Joe while John had had "had," had had "had had"; "had had" had had a better effect on the teacher. Select the phrase that is incorrect: a) Joe while John b) on the teacher c) "had had"; "had had" d) better effect e) No error

Naomi S.
Answer:

a) Joe while John (Correct answer) "John had had 'had,'" is an interjection and therefore must be sectioned off from the rest of the sentence with commas b) To have an effect on is considered correct idiomatically. c) The use of the semi-colon is correct because both halves of the sentence are independent clauses. d) This answer is correct because effect means impression. We do not need to use affect because we do not need a verb here.

Writing
TutorMe
Question:

How do I become a better writer?

Naomi S.
Answer:

Writing is about clarity and simplicity. We write because we want to convey our thoughts, but writing itself often extracts thoughts from our minds we weren't entirely sure of ourselves. The best writing is clear of anything superfluous and uses precise language that is meant not to dazzle the reader but to communicate with him/her. I have three simple rules when I write: 1. Don't use passive voice when you can use active voice instead. It doesn't sound flowery or astute, it just comes across as awkward. (Incorrect:The test finally was being administered to me. Correct: The proctor administered the test.) This rule forces you to focus on who is doing what, which is always a more powerful statement than what is being done to whom. We want to be acting subjects not passive victims. 2. Look for sparkling nouns and dazzling verbs rather than adjectives or adverbs. (Worse: I looked down the deep, dark corridor and was really afraid that something would come out and hurt me. Better: I peered down the next corridor as a muffled shadow edged across the brickwork and seemed to hum what seemed like a dirge.) 3. Each paragraph should contain one single idea, and eliminate ANYTHING that does not contribute to the overall argument even if you really like it and it's well-written or pretty and it took you a long time to write and it uses a favorite passage of the text and it adds extra needed words..... The point is, you don't need it. Throughout my years of education, these rules above all else helped me to produce my best work. These rules are specific, so even if you feel as if you don't know what you are doing or aren't a good editor, you can use them as rules of thumb. Ask yourself, is there a better noun or verb I could be using here to convey my point? What is my point, and what is detracting from it? This will force you to become more critical and exact. Good writing produces organized, complex thinking. We often believe that we think and then we write. The truth is that we think by writing. For my senior thesis in college, I wrote at least 200-300 pages before I submitted the final copy. Most of the work was complete trash, but I couldn't have gotten to the final copy without sitting down and writing down all those drafts first. I guarantee that if you follow these three simple rules, along with the rules of spelling and grammar, your writing will instantly improve. These rules will help you zoom in and focus on your prose on the semantic level so that when you look back, the whole argument will emerge cleaner and brighter. Even though we remember what writing tells us on the thematic and ideological macro-levels, it happens on the micro-level, and you can fix the latter, the former will follow.

English
TutorMe
Question:

Are characters simply printed words on a sheet of paper, or are they figures embedded in our cultural imagination? Where does one character begin and the next start? Mainly, I ask, what are literary characters, and why do we care about them?

Naomi S.
Answer:

The character is a cluster of words--a giddy memory, a sideways glance, a fading daydream--and each of these images more often than not arises from another character. That is to say that each literary character is composed of impressions created inside the minds or spoken from the mouths of his/her fellow literary compatriots, and these clusters of words scattered haphazardly across the pages of a novel are connected within an infinitely dense network of connections among other characters that is constantly in flux. The boundary lines where one character begins and the next character ends become thicker and denser as the novel goes unfolds. We care about the literary character because the plot of the novel is interested in stabilizing and solidifying a single character both as s/he exists for him/herself as well as for others. Because a character always comes forth through his/her own thoughts and for those others with whom s/he interacts, the words that contain him/her help to create social standards as it simultaneously blurs them by giving us a plot that refuses to comply with these signifiers. Essentially, by creating a set of expectations and definitions for a character to fulfill--handsome, clever, rich--the novel gives us a story by rendering a character whose whole being is ultimately larger and grander than any words could claim.

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