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Tutor profile: Nikki P.

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Nikki P.
Middle/High School Teacher
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Questions

Subject: Spanish

TutorMe
Question:

Help! Today was our first lesson in class on verb conjugation, and I am so lost! I understand all the subject pronouns (yo, ella, nosotros, etc.), and I'm doing pretty well with the verb meanings, but I don't understand why we can't just use "yo comer" for "I eat" or "ella bailar" for "she dances."

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Nikki P.
Answer:

Hi, thanks for your question! I can certainly help you with that. The reason the topic of verb conjugation can be so tricky is because we don't have nearly as much of it in the English language. Most of our verbs in English only have 2 forms, depending on the subject of our sentence -- for example, eat and eats. I eat, you eat, we eat, they eat, she/he eatS. In Spanish, however, there is a different form of the verb for EACH subject pronoun, which makes it a bit more complex. Think of "comer" as being the most basic form of the verb, which actually means "to eat." So, we don't want to say "I to eat" (yo comer). Instead, we must change only the ending of the verb to match with the person who is doing the action. For the yo form, that ending will always be O. I eat = Yo comO. We must always remove the last 2 letters of the original verb (AR, ER, or IR) before adding on a new ending to tell who is doing the action. For AR verbs, here is a list of the ending letters you should use, depending on who the subject of the sentence is: yo = o tu = as el/ella/usted = a nosotros = amos ellos/ellas/ustedes = an Example: For the verb bailAR (remember to remove the AR before adding the endings), the different forms would be... yo bailo: I dance tu bailas: you dance el baila: he dances nosotros bailamos: we dance ellos bailan: they dance For ER and IR verbs, it's the same concept, just with slightly different letters, but following the same patterns as before: O ES E EMOS / IMOS EN Now, could you try doing the same thing for me with the verb "estudiar" in all the different forms? I hope this makes more sense to you now! Good luck!

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

My English teacher says I need to include a thesis statement in the first paragraph of my essay. What does this mean? Could you help me construct a solid thesis statement?

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Nikki P.
Answer:

I'd be glad to help! First of all, a thesis statement is typically one sentence (usually the last sentence in your introductory paragraph) that states your stance on the topic you are writing about and provides readers with an idea of what the rest of your paper will be about. All the details and subsequent paragraphs in your entire paper should point back to the claims that you make in your thesis statement. Think of it as the main idea behind your entire essay; what is the biggest point that you really want to drive home for readers? What statement is really going to pack a punch at the beginning of your essay and prepare readers for what they are about to read? If you are having trouble coming up with a strong thesis statement, I would suggest saving it until you are finished writing the rest of your essay. Sometimes it's easier to come up with a central, pinpointed focus statement after you've gotten the rest of your ideas on paper. If you could provide more details about your writing assignment and topic, I'd be happy to give you more specific ideas and work with you to generate a strong thesis statement for your essay. Thanks!

Subject: English as a Second Language

TutorMe
Question:

I am so confused about the use of apostrophes in English. When do I use an apostrophe S ('s) versus just an S at the end of a word?

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Nikki P.
Answer:

Hello! Great question...and one that many native English speakers have yet to master, in fact! The only time we need to use an apostrophe S is when we are indicating possession (something or someone belongs to someone...in other words, he or she POSSESSES it.) Examples: Mary's cat, the dog's bone, my mother's sister, Billy's shoes. Because each of the items listed belongs to the person (or animal), we use an apostrophe S to show possession. If trying to simply make a word plural (indicating that there is more than one), we just add an S or ES to the end. No apostrophe needed because we aren't indicating possession, just plurality. Examples: cat - cats, beach - beaches, school - schools, sister - sisters. I hope this helped clarify this concept for you! Any more questions for me? I'd be glad to help!

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