Tutor profile: Hannah T.
Teachers always complain that my sentences are wordy and convoluted. What can I do to make my sentences less wordy?
One way that commonly help students avoid overly wordy sentences is doing a preposition and active/passive verb check. This entails first going through each of your sentences and checking to see how many prepositions there are. If there are a lot (think more than two), you should try to adjust the sentence so that there are fewer. This involves doing such things as changing the word form of some words. An example: The financial reports could not explain to board members why profits declined so drastically in the past year --> The year-end financial reports could not explain why profits declined so drastically. Here I changed the noun phrase "the past year" to an adjective: "year-end." Second, you check to make sure that the verb is active and not passive. For example, if your sentence is "The report was written by the finance committee," you might change it "The finance committee wrote the report." Adjusting the sentence so that it's active and that a clear subject does the main action of the sentence often helps a writer cut down on unnecessary words and is actually more direct for the writer.
Subject: English as a Second Language
I struggle with pronouncing words with "th" in English. How do I practice?
Lots of people struggle with "th" words in English. One way to practice is with minimal pairs. For example, if you struggle with /f/ and /θ/ sounds--as in free and three--try and make a game using this list: https://www.englishclub.com/pronunciation/minimal-pairs-f-th.htm where you have to either 1) guess which word someone is saying or 2) say the word for someone else and have them guess what you're saying. Pronunciation games are a great way to make the very difficult challenge the English pronunciation presents a little bit easier.
How do you ensure that a paper is well-organized and that each paragraph is effective?
To ensure that each paragraph has a main idea that builds towards or supports your overall main opinion, use a reverse outline. Basically, after you've written a paper, you’ll go through and create a one-sentence summary of each paragraph that captures the purpose and main idea of that paragraph. Once you have done that for each paragraph, you can look at them as a whole and see how those "outline" sentences work together—how they build towards a final argument. If it’s really hard to write a summary sentence for a paragraph, that might mean that you are doing too much in that paragraph and that the paragraph might need some cutting or might need to be divided into two. If the sentences don't build off each other in a clear way, that might mean that you will need to adjust the paragraph to make sure that it's working with the other paragraphs.
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