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Tutor profile: Alyssa S.

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Alyssa S.
Writing Tutor & ESL Teacher
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

How do I write an introduction for my essay?

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Alyssa S.
Answer:

Introductions are very important in any essay, but they're also very formulaic! So let's talk about the structure of a good introduction. Remember: The point of the introduction is to, well, introduce! This paragraph needs present the subject to your reader by providing general (but relevant!) information to get your reader’s attention and establish your topic. I find it useful to visualize introductions as upside-down triangles! The information should start general and broad, and get gradually more specific until you’ve reached the thesis statement (the most specific point in the paragraph). For this example, I'm going to pretend that I'm writing a rhetorical analysis on the famous "I Have A Dream" speech. So, how will I go about writing the introduction to my paper? First, the beginning of the paragraph needs to catch your reader's attention with an engaging and interesting hook. There are many ways to go about doing this! For my example, because "I Have a Dream" is so well-known, I'm going to start with the quote, and a brief but poignant explanation of the quote: "'I have a dream.' These are the words that rang out across Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963, and that still echo in our ears to this day." Next, the middle of the introduction needs to provide the background information necessary for a reader to understand your argument. You should imagine you are writing to someone without general familiarity with your topic. Just remember to follow the upside-down triangle method (general - specific information). With my example topic, I would probably start by talking in general about the struggles of African-Americans during the first half of the twentieth century, then introduce Dr. King as an important figure of the time, and then start talking about this specific speech. Finally, you need to provide your thesis statement! This should be a strong and clear sentence that states your specific argument as well as points of support. For example: "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. masterfully uses imagery, logical appeal, and biblical allusion in his famous “I Have A Dream Speech” to convince Americans on the importance of civil rights." Following this form will result in a powerful and effective introduction paragraph for my paper, try to do the same with your topic!

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

What is parallelism? Can you give me an example?

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Alyssa S.
Answer:

Parallelism is a rhetorical device. It is the repetition of words and/or grammatical structure in a sentence (or a series of sentences), creating a clear pattern which emphasizes the point being made by the speaker. Take a look at this example in a quote from William Churchill: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." -William Churchill Now let's look at an example from literature. This is a quote from a dramatic moment in "Pride and Prejudice." "From the very beginning--from the first moment, I may almost say--of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others..." Here the same phrase, "your (insert negative trait)" is repeated to drive home Elizabeth's complete roast of Mr. Darcy.

Subject: English as a Second Language

TutorMe
Question:

How can I know when to use "many" or "much?"

Inactive
Alyssa S.
Answer:

We use both "many" and "much" to describe a large quantity of things, but which we use depends on the noun. English has 2 types of nouns: "countable," and "uncountable." Countable nouns are quite simply things we can count! Apples, cars, people, buildings, planets etc. are all examples of countable nouns. They are also referred to as "plural nouns" because we always put them in the plural form when speaking about them generally (Ex: I love cats). Basically, if the sentence: "I have 5 (something)" makes sense, it's a countable noun., and we use "many." "How many apples do you have?" "I have 5 apples." Uncountable nouns are just the reverse, things we cannot count! Rather, these are things we have to measure. They are also referred to as "singular nouns" because we always put them in the singular form when speaking about them generally (Ex: I love soda). Water, rice, and light are all examples of uncountable nouns. "I have 5 water" doesn't make any sense, so it's an uncountable noun, and we use "much" "How much water do you have?" "I have 5 cups of water."

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