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Tutor profile: Laura W.

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Laura W.
Experienced Writing Tutor
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Questions

Subject: Writing

TutorMe
Question:

How do I make my writing sound more formal?

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Laura W.
Answer:

It's all in your word choice and sentence structure! Avoid using contractions/slang and be sure your sentences are clear and understandable. Many people associate "big words" with formal writing. This isn't the case! Certainly, using language like "consequently" instead of "and then" will formalize your writing, but it's important to ensure that those substitutions don't muddy the waters, so to speak.

Subject: Biology

TutorMe
Question:

How do I tell the difference in leaf venation patterns?

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Laura W.
Answer:

There are four main types of venation patterns: pinnate, palmate, parallel, and arcuate. Pinnate venation basically looks like an evergreen tree on the leaf, with one central "trunk" and "smaller branches" coming off of it. In palmate venation, all the veins originate from the same point, like your fingers originating from your hand. Parallel is also fairly straight forward and is what it sounds like: all the veins running parallel to each other all the way down the leaf. Arcuate is the tricky one. It has the initial appearance of pinnate, but instead of the "smaller branches" going straight towards the side of the leaf (or, more commonly, a little diagonal), the veins curve upwards towards the top of the leaf and run almost parallel to the leaf edges. Those are the four main types but there are quite a few more specialized patterns as well!

Subject: Literature

TutorMe
Question:

How do I tell what a symbol or extended metaphor means in a novel?

Inactive
Laura W.
Answer:

It’s important to remember that interpreting creative works is always subjective. Different people view the world in different ways as everyone has a unique background, knowledge, and mindset. As long as you have sufficient evidence to back up what you think a symbol represents, you’re good to go. If you don’t know where to start, a helpful strategy is to step back from the novel and think about what’s happening in it as a whole. What is the novel really about, beyond the surface-level plot? What roles do the characters play? If you’re still stuck, you can also take a look at the author themselves. When was the novel written? What was going on during that time and in the place where the author lived? What else did they write about? These will give you an idea what realm you should be considering, whether it be religion, economic structure, relationships, etcetera.

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