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Tutor profile: Rebecca A.

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Rebecca A.
Ivy League Graduate, Education Master's Student
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Questions

Subject: Writing

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Question:

How can I improve my writing style?

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Rebecca A.
Answer:

One step is to remove unnecessary words, especially adverbs and adjectives. First drafts are often cluttered and busy, which makes them harder to read. Instead of using adverbs and adjectives, choose more precise nouns and verbs (instead of "said quietly," write "whispered"). For example, instead of: The philosophical mind-body problem suggests that there are two different possible views—either a person's mind is totally separate from his or her body, or they are exactly the same. Write: The mind-body problem suggests two possible views—either mind and body are distinct, or they are the same.

Subject: US History

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Question:

How can I incorporate analysis into my history essays?

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Rebecca A.
Answer:

It's important not only to present facts, but also to explain why they're important, and how they fit into your broader argument. Every time you state a fact in your essay, include a clause or sentence explicitly telling your reader why that fact matters. Why might a fact matter? Depending on your argument, maybe it demonstrates a broader theme, a chain of causation, or shows consistency or change. For example, why is it important that Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793? Though the cotton gin seems like just another agricultural tool, it revolutionized cotton farming and allowed for larger scale. That caused labor demand to increase, and led to the growth of slavery, ultimately contributing to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

How do I analyze a literary metaphor?

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Rebecca A.
Answer:

First, ask: What does each part of the metaphor mean separately? Second, ask: What do they mean together? For example, in Romeo and Juliet, Romeo says "Juliet is the sun." What does that mean? First, think about what you know about Juliet: she's beautiful, Romeo is in love with her, and he can't be with her because their families are rivals. Then, think about the sun: it's the center of the solar system, far away, and provides warmth and light. What does it mean, then, to say Juliet IS the sun? Saying Juliet is the center of the solar system is like saying she's the center of Romeo's world; saying she's far away underscores that she can't be with Romeo.

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