Tutor profile: Michaela R.
I have a thesis statement, but I keep wandering off topic when I'm writing my paper! How do I keep my paper focused on my thesis statement?
Here are a few things you can do to help yourself stay on topic: 1. Write 1 sentence for each claim or sub-point in your thesis and its supporting evidence. Use each sentence as the focal point of 1-3 paragraphs of your paper. 2. Separate important background information from unimportant information. Does the author of one of your sources ride a unicycle? Sweet! Does that matter in your paper or the evidence you are citing? If not, then I'm afraid you're going to have to leave that out. 3. Consider your audience and look out for unnecessary summaries which can turn in to tangents. Who is going to read your paper? Your teacher? Your professor? Are they familiar with the source material? If so, you shouldn't give them a play-by-play of every scene or article unless they instruct you to.
Subject: Study Skills
What is critical reading and why is it an important study skill?
Critical reading is an active reading process in which the reader seeks to analyze and interpret a text. It takes place before, during, and after the actual reading of the book, and involves strategies mean to inspire critical thoughts like previewing, making predictions, generating questions, summarizing, evaluating for logic, and judging an author's credibility. It is important to be able to read texts critically not just to develop a deeper understanding of them, but also so that you can evaluate their credibility and determine if the information they are presenting is logical, supported, and valid. This skill will also serve you better than rote memorization when it comes to short answer and essay exams over literature, which are usually meant to assess understanding and critical thought over a list of plot points or facts.
What is a misplaced modifier?
A misplaced modifier is exactly what it sounds like: a modifier that has been put somewhere it isn't supposed to be. Take the sentence below as an example: "The torn boy's backpack spilled its contents on the sidewalk." Confusing right? The backpack spilled its contents because it was torn, but that is hard to understand. In the sentence it looks like the word "torn" is referring to "boy's" instead of "backpack". Our modifier is "torn," but it has been misplaced. So how do we fix it? Like this: "The boy's torn backpack spilled its contents on the sidewalk." Now it is clear that the word "torn" is modifying the word "backpack," and not the word "boy's".
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