Tutor profile: Natalia C.
What are some basic grammatical rules to improve one's writing?
Depending on the essay--informal or formal--try to avoid using personal pronouns. Furthermore, in one's writing, the tenses should be consistent and use active voice. For example, if you are quoting a source, you should say, "In this reading, so and so says,..." in the present tense while maintaining consistency throughout your work.
Who is the narrator, and how can the narrator's point of view not always be reliable?
For example, in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, the narrator is a little girl named Esperanza. While reading a book through a child's eyes, you will be taking what the narrator says at face value without knowing important background information. To expand on this statement, think about the things you might have said, or the stories you might have told as a child; sometimes we fibbed, or exaggerated truths. That does not mean we can't trust a young narrator, rather that we need to consider all the facts and characters, as well as think of what may or may not be exaggerated in a story.
What is a good way to begin an research essay?
Begin with the five W's (who, what, when, where, and why) of the research topic at hand. Consider your main point or argument and create a concise, sentence-long thesis. With this basic understanding, and by knowing your stance on the topic, you will know what to research. Essays should have an introduction including the thesis, body paragraphs, and a conclusion, thus the more you learn on the topic, the better you can expand your knowledge and thus, the essay.
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