Tutor profile: Libby P.
What makes good writing good?
Think about writing like mac n' cheese. Content is like macaroni noodles: essential, structured, the base of the writing. Does your writing address ideas, situations, and emotions that are relevant to your audience? If the answer is yes, you've gotten content down. Style is like the cheese. In good writing, you utilize different syntax structures, imagery techniques, and other patterns the same way you choose the cheese (or, let's be fancy here, cheeses!) you want with your macaroni. Whatever styles you choose to employ in your writing, you want them to mix evenly and consistently with your content. Additionally, you want to make sure your style fits your content well.
Subject: English as a Second Language
What is the best way to learn English?
Reading, listening, and talking are all important ways to learn and practice English. However, the best way to learn English is by practicing writing. Writing forces you to not only practice using proper grammar, but also to find the right words for a situation. This allows the English language learner to find their "English voice" -- their way of creatively and uniquely expressing themselves in English. Finding their "English voice" will help the English language learner express who they are and what they mean not only in writing, but also conversation.
We all know that sticks and stones may break your bones, but is it true that words will never hurt you?
Words, like people, will actually HELP you if you become friends with them. For example. the author of the phrase "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" definitely was on good terms with words and employed strong literary techniques. The first half of the phrase employs rhyme ("stones" and bones") and two instances of alliteration ("sticks" and "stones", then "break" and "bones), which create a sense of unity in the phrase. This makes the statement much easier to remember! A more complex device the author used was trochaic meter. Trochaic meter is made up of stressed syllables (hard-sounding, with "/" as notation) and unstressed syllables (softer-sounding, with "u" as notation). Phrases employing trochaic meter have a pattern of stressed syllable, then unstressed syllable, then stressed, then unstressed, etc. Or, " / u / u / u ." An example of a trochaic word (stressed syllable, then unstressed syllable) is "member." The first syllable, "mem", is large and in charge. The unstressed syllable, "ber", essentially tags along as the stressed syllable's plus-one. So, "member" sounds like (/ u), which is trochaic. So, how can we tell that the phrase we're looking at is trochaic? It's actually easier than you think. The use of "and" as the second word of the phrase sets the rule. "And" is almost always a background word, making it pretty much an automatic unstressed syllable. Its placement between "sticks" and "stones" makes those words sound harder and more prominent -- stressing them out, if you will. The same concept goes for the placement of "but" -- it makes "bones" and "words" stressed syllables. Last, but not least, the word "never", like the word "member", is trochaic. Since so much of the phrase follows trochaic patterns, and the rest of the words in the phrase don't outright break the pattern, we can assume it is indeed trochaic: / u / u / u / u / u / u / u "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will ne-ver hurt me." The result of the combination of rhyme, alliteration, and trochaic meter is a striking phrase most English speakers know by heart. To summarize, in this author's case, words didn't hurt them at all. Instead, the author's fantastic relationship with words helped them get their point across extremely effectively.
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