Tutor profile: Veronica D.
When do I use the present indicative or past subjunctive in a conditional clause?
Conditional clauses indicate possibilities that may or may not be able to happen. If the possibility can become reality and is not impossible, then the si (if) + present indicative formation is used in the "if" clause, while the result clause also uses the present or future indicative. For example: Si tengo tiempo, voy contigo a la fiesta. If I have time, I will go to the party with you. Since the result (going to the party) is possible, the verbs in the "if" and result clauses are both indicative. If the result is not possible, si + the past subjunctive is used in the "if" clause, while the conditional is used in the result clause: Si pudiera volar, me iría a Europa. If I could fly, I would go to Europe. Since the result (going to Europe by flying) is impossible, the verb in the "if" clause is past subjunctive, while the verb in the result clause is conditional.
What is a major mistake that students make when writing an essay about an academic book or article?
One of the main mistakes to avoid when writing an essay that relies mainly on academic texts, such as an essay comparing two academic articles, is failing to give an effective summary of the academic text. Only restate the main points of the text in your essay when summarizing. You should then "fill in the gaps" of the summary when explaining and analyzing the academic text. Always keep the main purpose of your essay in mind. For example, if the purpose is to compare and analyze two academic articles' views on an issue, do not bring in information on another unrelated topic that the articles may also mention if it is not relevant. To strengthen your argument/essay, it is vital to briefly explain any terms that you mention from an academic source unless they are easily understood. Your essay can be weakened (especially when writing an argumentive essay) if you repeatedly use a term that a reader would not understand without explanation.
What should a student focus on when analyzing an author’s use of character in a passage/text?
Focus on how the author develops a character. What are the motives and values of the character, and what textual evidence supports this? How do the actions and attitudes of a character, as presented by the author, influence the plot or theme of the story? When analyzing a character over the entire text, identify the qualities of the character and how they affect the conflict and plot, using examples such as quotes or the character’s actions. How does the author's use of language, such as descriptions, develop the character? In a specific passage, consider a specific piece of language such as dialogue or an example of figurative language, and explain how the author uses it to reveal a character’s personality or role in the larger plot. For example, what does the comparison made by a simile or metaphor reveal about a character?
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