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Tutor profile: Johnna M.

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Johnna M.
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Questions

Subject: Writing

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Question:

How can I write a strong introduction for an argumentative essay?

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Johnna M.
Answer:

I good introduction for an argumentative essay has three components: 1. a hook, 2. a thesis statement, 3. a preview of your essay. A hook is mechanism for getting the reader's attention and making them want to continue reading your essay. Experienced writers often have a tool chest of strategies they use to write good hooks. For example, they may begin with a short story or narrative that is connected to the topic of their essay, or they may start with a bold statement. There are several different options here, but the main idea is that you want to engage the reader. A thesis statement is the claim you are making or your opinion on a topic. It's usually best to leave out personal pronouns, like "I think," or "In my opinion." Here's an example of a thesis statement: People should boycott zoos. Notice, I didn't say, I think people should boycott zoos. By providing a preview of your essay, you are essentially giving the reader the reasons (usually there are three of them) for your claim. It's a good idea to do this because it helps the reader make sense of what you are going to be saying in your essay. It's important not to go into details in your introduction, though, so be sure to only give the reasons, and not the evidence, for your claim. Also, you should provide the reasons in the same order you are going to talk about them in your essay.

Subject: Literature

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Question:

What is "theme," and how can I figure out what the theme of a novel is?

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Johnna M.
Answer:

It's important to understand that writer's write novels with some big ideas in mind. They often want to convey an important message to their readers. This message may be about society, the political system, or even about a character trait the writer thinks is noble. The message that the writer wants to convey is called the "theme." In literature, writers don't just come out and say what the theme is. Rather, they develop characters, setting, and plot so that the theme comes out through the story. It is up to the reader to figure out what message the author is trying to communicate. Determining the theme of a novel can be challenging. It's important to remember that most all novels have more than one theme. There isn't an exact, right answer. Instead, different readers will interpret the theme in distinct ways, but the reader must be able to provide supporting evidence from the text. Also, remember that a theme is a general message for anyone; it is not specific to a character. Thus, no character names should be used in theme statements. There are different strategies readers can use to help them think about and determine a theme in a novel. 1. Think about the main character and his/her problems. It actually helps if you make a list of these problems. What advice would you give the character? Whatever your answer is, be sure that it is phrased generically and does not use the character's name. 2. Try to find a place in the text where the main character was given advice by an older, wiser character. Many novels have one or two parts like this, and they can often be used to develop a theme statement. 3. Start with a list of common topics that novels deal with (love, growing up, experiencing loss, friendship, survival, environmentalism, etc.). Think about which of these topics is a good fit for your novel. What message do you think the author is trying to communicate about this topic?

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

What are run-on sentences, and how can I correct them?

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Johnna M.
Answer:

Run-on sentences are one of the most common grammatical problems students have when writing. Technically speaking, a run-on sentence is a sentence that contains two independent clauses (complete sentences), which have been joined together improperly. Imagine a peanut butter sandwich without any peanut butter. That's essentially a run-on sentence. The two pieces of bread have been combined (the two independent clauses), but without the peanut butter (the missing punctuation and/or conjunction). Here's an example of a run-on sentence: - Carlos wanted to make a sandwich he realized he was out of peanut butter. The two independent clauses are: 1. Carlos wanted to make a sandwich, and 2. He realized he was out of peanut butter. Here are four ways you can fix run-on sentences: 1. Make two sentences. Carlos wanted to make a sandwich. He realized he was out of peanut butter. 2. Make a compound sentence. Use a comma and a conjunction to join your independent clauses. Carlos wanted to make a sandwich, but he realized he was out of peanut butter. 3. Use a semi-colon. If the two independent clauses are closely related to each other, add a semi-colon between the two. Carlos wanted to make a sandwich; he realized he was out of peanut butter. 4. Make a complex sentence. Add a subordinating conjunction between the two clauses. Carlos wanted to make a sandwich when he realized he was out of peanut butter.

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