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Tutor profile: Samantha M.

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Samantha M.
English Tutor and Substitute Teacher
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Questions

Subject: Writing

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Question:

For this essay, how many paragraphs should I write? Do I need 5 paragraphs?

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Samantha M.
Answer:

The answer is always- it depends! Unless the teacher or professor has given you a specific number to complete in your task. If it is not specified, you need to use however many paragraphs it takes you to effectively get your point across. You should always have one intro paragraph and one conclusion paragraph at least. The body paragraphs can be as many as you need to effectively lay out your argument. The reason why most teachers assign the typical 5 paragraph essay is because it's actually a good number to start with. You should be somewhat challenged by the assignment, and be attempting to provide lots of evidence and analysis to support your thesis. This would probably take about 3 paragraphs (plus the 2 for intro and conclusion.) However, this is never the norm, particularly in college. If your number of paragraphs is not specified, focus on compiling accurate evidence that best supports your argument, and using however many paragraphs you need to in order to get your point across.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

In a short paragraph, explain why you think Fitzgerald decided to describe the color of the light beaming from the lighthouse as green. What is the symbolism of green in "The Great Gatsby?" sidenote! Novels should be underlined or italicized. However, my keyboard is limited at the moment, so I used quotations, which are technically incorrect.

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Samantha M.
Answer:

In the novel, Fitzgerald repeatedly uses imagery to surround the characters with the temptation of money, highlighting their greed. For example, when Gatsby is talking to Daisy and she laughs, he notes that her voice tinkles as though coins would, and later claims that her voice is "full of money." She is who Gatsby is after, so he is symbolically after money. The lighthouse, therefore, is another one of these pieces of imagery. It is green, and so is money, so there is a fairly blatant connection Fitzgerald is making there. Lighthouses guide ships to safety with their light, and if the light is green, it is guiding lost souls (in this case, Gatsby and the other characters in the 1920s setting) to money. This is important because it reveals the character's true motivations, and the fact that everything they perceive is influenced by how much money they can gain, or where money can lead them.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

Is it "me" or do I use "I" in this sentence? Me and Sally went to the store, then she and I walked to the park.

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Samantha M.
Answer:

Great question! This type of grammar can get very tricky. The second part of your sentence, when you write "then she and I walked to the park" is totally correct, so good job. Let's talk about why in a minute. First, a good way to double check your correctness is to remove the other noun in the sentence (in this case, Sally) and see if it makes sense. If it doesn't, switch to the other word. So here, if you took away Sally from the first part of the sentence, it would read "Me went to the store..." How does that sound? A bit Frankenstein-esque? If you're a native English speaker, then it should sound incorrect. Therefore, you can easily conclude you can switch to "I," and match the rest of your correct sentence. So, why does it work this way? Well, "me" and "I" are basically two completely different words used in different contexts. So you have to use your ears- speak aloud, and trust how it sounds. Let's give it one more test using the currently correct second part of the sentence, "then she and I walked to the park." If we switch it to "then she and me walked to the park" and took away the "she," it would become "then me walked to the park." That is the incorrect reference to oneself, therefore you would switch it back to "I." Does that make sense?

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