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Jane G.
College graduate, former ESL teacher
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Writing
TutorMe
Question:

Should I use a comma before the word "and" in a list?

Jane G.
Answer:

This is optional EXCEPT when not using it would cause confusion. For example, "My favorite smoothies to make are orange and banana, raspberry and lime and strawberry." Without a comma after "lime" you might wonder if the flavor is "raspberry and lime" or "lime and strawberry" or if raspberry, lime, and strawberry are separate flavors, etc. Putting a comma after "lime" will clarify that the flavors are "raspberry and lime" and "strawberry." It is also important to remember to be consistent. If you use a comma before "and" in the first sentence of a paper, use it throughout the whole paper and vice versa.

Film and Theater
TutorMe
Question:

Describe the five parts of dramatic structure (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution).

Jane G.
Answer:

The exposition is where the basic world of the film or play is introduced. We meet the characters and learn any important background information that effects the main plot. The setting and time period are made known. The rising action is the event or events that sets up the climax of the story. For example, in the movie Clueless, the romance between Josh and Cher is set up as we see them interacting throughout the movie. The climax is an event that changes the main character's fate; it can be negative or positive. In Clueless, this is when Tai confides in Cher that she has feelings for Josh. This leads Cher to realize that she herself is in love with Josh. The falling action is a link between the climax and resolution. In Clueless, the action falls as Cher tries to do good for others because Josh inspires her to be a better person. The resolution is when conflicts are resolved and there is a sense of closure. In Clueless, this is when Josh and Cher acknowledge their feelings for each other and start dating.

English
TutorMe
Question:

Which is correct, "To who are you speaking?" or "To whom are you speaking?"

Jane G.
Answer:

Think about whether the question being asked would be answered with "him" or "he." If it is "he," use who. If it is "him," use whom. The answer to the question above would be "I am speaking to him." Therefore, the correct answer would be "To whom are you speaking?"

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