Tutor profile: Ashley H.
What is the difference between "savoir" and "Connaître"?
Although they can both be translated into english as "to know," these two verbs are used in different contexts. "Savoir" expresses having knowledge of a fact or how to do something. "Connaître" expresses being familiar with a person, place, or an idea. Example: "Je sais que Paris est une ville en France. Je ne connais pas très bien Paris, car je ne l'ai visité qu'une seule fois." Translation: "I know (savoir: to know a fact) that Paris is a city in France. I do not know (connaître: to be familiar with) Paris very well because I have only visited it once."
Are bigger, smarter-sounding words always better to use in writing than simple words?
No. Writing is about communicating our thoughts clearly, not about making ourselves sound smarter. Sometimes more specific words can help us communicate more precisely. But often, trying to use "fancy" language from the Thesaurus when it isn't necessary just makes our writing hard to understand. If you can communicate your ideas using simple language that your reader will be sure to understand, it's usually a good idea to do so. Here's an example: "I am writing an essay for my English class." or "I am inditing a brief composition for the academic course of instruction in the English language that I attend." The first sentence might be simple or even "boring," but it communicates much more clearly than the second one.
What is the most important thing to keep in mind to help understand a text (whether it is a work of literature, history, or even a social media post)?
The writer's individual perspective. Although we may all be using the same language and words to express our ideas, the different perspectives each of us hold can have a big influence on what we actually mean with the things we say. When we disagree with or have trouble understanding what another person is saying with their words, it's often useful to think about their perspective and the way their background and experiences might have brought them to such a different viewpoint from us. This will help us not just to understand what they mean, but WHY they believe it. In any text, the writer's unique worldview and biases will influence how they express their ideas. When we look at this perspective, even if we disagree with the idea presented, we can still learn something new and broaden our own understanding of the world instead of just rejecting what they have to say.
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