Tutor profile: Danny G.
What do I do if I struggle with grammar, syntax, and punctuation? Here's an example sentence: "This obviouslly reflexs the overall theme of the novel being that culture's hold different values without being inherently better than one another." How might you go about fixing them?
Let's explain them! Firstly, there are a couple simple spelling errors. "Obviouslly" is actually spelt "Obviously" with just one "L," and "reflexs" would actually be "reflex" or "reflexes." However, we actually want to use the word "reflects" in this case. Similar to reflecting light off of a mirror, this word–reflects–can be used to indicate that a concept is reflected or shown in a written piece of work! There is also an extra space between "that culture's," which is an easy fix, and just something to keep a lookout for! Also, "culture's" is in the possessive form because it's using an apostrophe, which looks like this: '. We use it to say "that is Sara's dog," or more specifically, "the culture's beliefs." However, the proper use in this case would be to not use an apostrophe, as cultures, plural, refers to a number of different cultures–in other words, more than one–which seems to be the intention! Additionally, this first sentence is a run-on. That basically just means that you want to incorporate commas, dashes, periods, or even semi-colons where applicable. In this instance I would suggest putting a comma between "novel" and "being." Immediately, we can see that it reads a bit smoother, as you naturally take a small pause at the point of the comma.
If English is not my first language, or even just not my strong-suit when it comes to writing, how can I still use strong words to make my point and prove my argument/thesis?
That's easy! More often than not, I think that using "strong" or otherwise fancy language isn't needed. Although it can definitely help, it's more about writing in a tone that makes you comfortable. So for instance, if you were to say that a character's choices proved them to be evil in a book, and that helped support your thesis, it's more about the point you're making and how you as a writer make it, and less about the words you use and how strong they are. Let's look: "Iago's choices in "Othello" make clearly make him the villain of the play: lying to Othello, making Desdemona look bad, and making Othello and Cassio hate each other, for example. In doing this, Iago helps to prove that in "Othello," decisions are black-and-white, and there is only good and evil." This statement, while not terribly complicated, does still give specific examples, and lead back to the "thesis" of decisions being black and white in the play, and there only being good and evil. We don't know how repetitive or redundant this statement is in terms of the original thesis, but it still makes a good point on its own! So again, it's more about learning the form and finding your voice to make your points than it is about using the longest-syllable words.
Your thesis: "'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck could be seen as somewhat sexist and classist," is somewhat vague, passive, and generalized, thereby not communicating your point. How might you rework this thesis to better specify your argument, preview your body paragraphs, and begin to convince the reader?
Providing more specific examples of body paragraph points, as well as using more assertive word choice. See here: "Through giving female characters names like "Curly's Wife" throughout the novel, as well as showing the distinct power-dynamic between Curly and his workers, and between George and Lenny's intelligence and ultimate demise, Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" cleverly shows the inherent sexism, classism, and ableism misrepresenting more impoverished Americans in the 1930's."
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