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Tutor profile: Michael Z.

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Michael Z.
Experienced high school and college English teacher
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What's the difference between a thesis and a thesis statement? I thought they were the same.

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Michael Z.
Answer:

They're related, for sure. A thesis is just the overall argument or claim of an essay. The thesis statement is the actual claim, the sentence you can point to in the essay that states the writer's argument.

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

What are the differences between a Shakespearean and a Petrarchan sonnet?

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Michael Z.
Answer:

Let's start with what they have in common. Traditionally, both forms are 14 lines. Both propose a question or problem or situation at the beginning until the volta, translated as the "turn," which takes the problem in a new, unexpected direction. The main difference between the two is how the lines are grouped. Each one uses different kinds of stanzas, which, in turn, affect the rhyme schemes. A Shakespearean sonnet uses 3 quatrains, or 4-line stanzas, to group the first 12 lines. The first and third lines rhyme, as do the second and fourth, ie. ABAB CDCD EFEF. The last 2 lines consist of a rhyming couplet. A Petrarchan sonnet uses an octave (8-line stanza) and a sestet (6-line stanza) with a rhyme scheme as follows: ABBA ABBA CDE CDE.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

When am I supposed to use a semi-colon?

Inactive
Michael Z.
Answer:

The two most common uses for a semi-colon are to (1) join two independent clauses that are closely related and (2) act as a "super comma" when separating items or phrases containing commas already. (1) He couldn't wait for his mom's macaroni and cheese; years had past since he last tasted it. (2) In her mind, there were a couple ways of solving the problem: go about her day like she wasn't upset, angry, or disappointed; or be as honest, direct, and forthright with her feelings as she knew she deserved.

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