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Tutor profile: Kyle M.

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Kyle M.
Master's student in International Politics
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

What are the 3 best pieces of advice you have gotten about how to make your writing better?

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Kyle M.
Answer:

I got most of these tips when I was writing college/grad school/fellowship application essays but I think they apply broadly. 1. Show, don't tell. A trustworthy person never tells you to that you can trust them, you just do because, well, they're trustworthy. The same principle applies for writing. If you want to demonstrate to your audience your skills and character, make sure they can see that through your writing. A great way to this is through anecdotes. Telling stories is a great way to share your life experiences, your personal insights, strengths, and character. If the reader can glean from the author's writing what they are like without the author stating their character traits bluntly, then this is done well. 2. Be inventive. Screening committees for fellowships, jobs, and college placements sift through more applications than they have spots. It is crucial to not get lost in the shuffle. When writing, ask yourself, "How can I make my essay/application stand out from the ten above it in the stack and the ten below it?" Telling stories is also a good way to accomplish this. Let your personality and quirks come through in your writing. Don't distill your rich life experiences down to trite reflections or hackneyed takes. Be original and authentic. If it sounds like someone else could say the same thing, find something else to write. 3. Brevity is the soul of the wit. Shorter is better. If you can say something just as well with fewer words, do so. Make the screening committee's job easier. Be clear and concise.

Subject: Political Science

TutorMe
Question:

What is a democracy?

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Kyle M.
Answer:

This is a loaded question and like most things in political science is up for spirited debate. When we think of a democracy, a number of things come to mind: free speech, voting, minority rights, and term limits. All of these things are aspects of democracies but not all democracies have all of these features. The minimalist definition of a democracy is a political system that has free, fair, and competitive elections. This means that a system has universal suffrage (meaning anyone of eligible age and citizenship can vote), more than one political group can participate and has a chance to win, and the electoral process is fair to all participants. Democracies often have more features than this. Freedom of speech, press, religion, protection from unlawful searches and seizures, right to an impartial trial by jury, and other rights are common in democracies. Stronger democracies, which we call consolidated, have more of these protections and liberties safeguarded by laws and norms. They also might have term limits for officeholders, anti-corruption mechanisms, and a system of checks and balances to restrict the power of politicians and institutions. Newer democracies, like Tunisia, have free and fair elections but lack the civil rights and liberties protections that more consolidated regimes have. We call states like this illiberal democracies, or partial democracies. TL, DR: Democracies come in all shapes and sizes and they vary broadly in their construction, scope of liberties and rights afforded to their citizens, and age. At the very least, for a regime to be considered a democracy, it must have free, fair, and competitive elections that are widely regarded as legitimate by the polity.

Subject: English

TutorMe
Question:

What is the difference between a litote and a euphemism?

Inactive
Kyle M.
Answer:

A litote is a rhetorical device that acknowledges a positive affirmation by negating its opposite. It sounds confusing, but we use them all the time. An example is the phrase "you're not wrong." We say this to mean something is correct. By saying something is not false, we are saying it is true. Litotes are a common tool of understatement and are a great way to emphasize something. Euphemisms accomplish something similar—they are a softer way of stating something that is uncomfortable, offensive or taboo. We also use these all the time. Instead of saying someone is dead, we say they have "passed away" or are "no longer with us."

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