Tutor profile: Samantha R.
How do I write a concluding paragraph?
This is quite possibly the most frequent question I've been asked in my years as a tutor. So many writers struggle with that final paragraph. The tendency is to repeat or rephrase what you have previously said in that paper. While that certainly does have its benefits, I challenge you to dig a little deeper. How do you want to leave your readers? What do you want them to take from your writing? If the goal is for the audience to do something, the conclusion could be a call to action. If no specific action is needed from the audience, ask yourself this: what are the implications of your argument? What can your audience take from this moving forward? Why is your argument important? If you still feel stuck, try looking at essays other people have written. What did they do in their concluding paragraphs? Which examples stick with you the most and why? Can you use a similar strategy in your writing?
How do I pick something to analyze in a book?
I have absolutely struggled with this before myself. Whether you like or dislike a book, it can be daunting to figure out what part of the story to analyze. I would suggest to start with something that gets the most emotional reaction from you. Is there a character you loved or hated? Was there a plot point that left you completely confused or a clever twist you appreciated? How did you feel about the ending? Once you've found something, ask yourself why that part elicited an emotional response from you. What about it made you angry or sad or happy? After you've spent time reflecting, now is a great time to dive into research. Have other scholars written about that part of the story? What do they have to say about it? Their critique could be a fantastic reference for your paper and give you more ideas to reflect on as you continue your analysis.
How do I improve my word choice?
Word choice is something many students struggle with at one or more points in their writing journey. In this situation, the most important factor to consider is your audience. Who are you writing to? Who do you want to read your piece of writing? For example, when we have conversations with a friend, we typically use different language than when we talk to our boss. We may be more informal with a friend and use a casual tone, but with a boss, we might be more formal. Apply this same concept to your writing. Is your audience a group of people you would speak casually to? If you aren't sure how to make the transition to a more formal tone, using more formal vocabulary, try this exercise: write out how you would naturally say the point or idea you are trying to make in your writing. Then, research some synonyms of a few words in your writing. Do any of the synonyms sound more formal? Would they be a better fit for the audience you're writing to? This is also a great opportunity to ask for feedback from a friend or tutor. They can help you understand how someone outside yourself is receiving your work. The more feedback you get and the more practice you gain switching out word choice will make addressing different audiences easier as you continue in your writing journey.