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Lexy L.
Professional Writing Tutor for 5+ years
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

My new assignment asks me to write a rhetorical analysis and I kind of get it but I am really confused because I am not used to this type of writing. Can you explain to me what is expected of me in this assignment so I can make sure I am doing it correctly?

Lexy L.
Answer:

Hi there! I can certainly help you with your rhetorical analysis. Rhetorical writing is certainly different from any expository or narrative-type writing you may be a little more familiar with. In rhetorical writing - a rhetorical analysis specifically - you are expected to evaluate an author's argument and extent to which they are convincing. To be clear, a rhetorical analysis is not simply a summary, nor is it asking whether or not you agree with an author's argument (whomever you are evaluating). In order to evaluate another's work, you first will need to identify their main claim and supporting sub-claims. Secondly, you will need to pay attention to the strategies the author uses in order to convince his/her readers to accept his/her main claim. There are several strategies out there (rhetorical appeals, repetition, personal examples, expert opinion, etc.) and often times, authors will use several of them. Don't feel obligated to talk about every strategy - focusing on 2-3 of them should be sufficient. At this point, it would be ideal for you to explain whether or not the strategies that the author used were effective in convincing his/her target audience and why. If they were not effective/convincing, you'll want to explain why as well and perhaps offer your suggestion for how they could have improved. This is just an overview of what is expected with rhetorical analyses. Shall we answer any questions you have and proceed to making an outline?

Study Skills
TutorMe
Question:

Hi, I am having trouble remembering the articles we must read for class because they are so long and sometimes really complex. Do you have any tips for ways I could retain more of what I read?

Lexy L.
Answer:

Hello! I know reading, especially at the college level, can be tough sometimes. There are tons of tips and tricks out there so i'll provide some and you can play around with them to see what works best for you. My first recommendation is to get in the "reading" mindset. For me, this means finding a quiet space without distractions from electronics, friends, and family. When I remove distractions, I am able to concentrate better, and retain information MUCH better. Once you are in the mindset/space to read, there are things you can do before and/or during the reading process to help you not only understand the material, but also retain it. I personally find it useful to skim the passage before I begin reading it. I simply read the title, the excerpt or abstract if there is one, the headings, and look at the caption of pictures - sometimes i'll even read the conclusion! I do this because it helps prepare me for what's ahead and I can also get an idea of how the text is organized which aids in my understanding of the material. Don't be afraid to familiarize yourself with the article before you read! (: During the reading process, it can be helpful to highlight, annotate or make little notes. Post-it notes can be a great tool as well as sticky tabs if you want to "tag" an important paragraph or area. If you are unfamiliar with a word, looking it up and writing the definition down is helpful - this will also expand your vocabulary. Anything you can do to read actively like the tools mentioned above will help you to stay engaged with the text, and you will have an easier time remembering it as a result! If you feel your brain begins to wander, I find reading aloud helps. Take these tools, try them out, see what works best for you and you will get better with each assignment!

English as a Second Language
TutorMe
Question:

I am having trouble doing what my professor is asking. My thesis and topic sentences are good but my in-text sources are messed up and I don't know why... can you help? They are supposed to be in MLA.

Lexy L.
Answer:

Hi there! I can certainly help you with your sources. First off, you will want to give credit in any place you quote or paraphrase (use an idea/sentence that is not yours). Using sources in your paper makes you more credible as a writer because you are pulling from multiple sources rather than solely relying on what you know. Supporting what you say with outside resources is a very good skill to utilize! In general, you will need to use quotations ("") any time you use four words or more directly from another source. If you are restating the source in your own words that is perfectly fine and you will not need to use quotation marks when you use your own words. However, in both cases you will need to cite or give credit to whoever/wherever you got the information from. Lets try some examples together on the whiteboard and once you feel comfortable we can work to correct your paper - sound good? Williams said "dogs are better than cats" (3). - in this sentence, I use the author's last name in the sentence and a direct quote. The number 3 shows the reader this quote can be found on page 3 of William's work. Some believe dogs make for better companions than cats (Williams, 3). - In this sentence, I do not include the author in my sentence and this time, I am paraphrasing (no quotes). The (Williams, 3) shows the reader that Williams is the author and the idea came from page 3 of his work. Does that make sense? Let's try another one. This time let's see if you can do it on your own.

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