The Importance of Keeping it Simple: Clear and Concise Writing

Posted by Jennifer on 7/25/18 6:02 PM

When I was a high school AP Biology student, my teacher used to walk by my desk during multiple choice exams and whisper, “You didn’t really mean to circle B there, did you? Keep it simple.” He knew I was an overthinker. Instead of circling the simplest and most obvious answer—which I often knew to be the right one—I would overthink the question, until I’d talked myself in to a trick wrong answer.

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Tags: creative writing, expository writing

How To Strengthen Your Writing In One Easy Step

Posted by Susan on 7/9/18 5:42 PM

Very few rules of good writing are without exceptions, and this one is no exception, but I think it might be close: 

You can always — or nearly always — make your writing stronger, clearer, and sharper if you follow the word “this” with a noun.*

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Tags: English, expository writing

Fake News: How To Make Sure Your Research Papers Are Fact, Not Fiction

Posted by Johnathan on 8/9/17 7:00 PM

I’m going to tell you something embarrassing: I… sometimes… get my news from Facebook! I know, I know, I’m supposed to be better than this. I’m a tutor! I should be waking up three hours early to read every single paper from around the world while looking through a reference dictionary. I’m not perfect.

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Tags: expository writing

Turn Back the Clock on that Grade! How to Revise a Bad College Paper

Posted by Pat C. on 12/14/16 5:43 PM

After you receive your grade and read your professor’s comments you might have a lot of those “if only” thoughts. “If only I had looked up that concept.” “If only I had taken extra time to proofread that.” “If only I had read the assignment more carefully.” “If only I had started earlier and done more research.” “If only I had realized I was contradicting myself.” “If only I had re-read the class reading before starting to write.” Then suddenly the film of your life starts to run backwards. You are back 4 days before the assignment is due and have all the knowledge you have now! Fantasy, right? Not necessarily. Quite often professors will:

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Tags: English, expository writing, college

What is the Difference Between Then and Than? Allusion and Illusion? To, too, and two? A List of Common Homophones and their Differences

Posted by Alison on 12/12/16 6:03 PM

What is a Homophone?

There are many more words in the English language than one might expect, given how similar their pronunciation and spelling can be. They're usually nouns and adjectives, except for those that function as conjunctions or contractions. Once you accept that English contains many pairs or groups of deceptively similar words with different meanings, then you will have a better understanding in sight of how to speak and cite and write the right ones.

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Tags: English, expository writing

One for All and All for None? Grammatical Rules for One, Neither, and Each!

Posted by Alison on 11/7/16 6:07 PM

In this blog post, our resident grammar girl reviews the impossibly confusing rules for singular subjects that refer to plural groups; subject-verb agreements involving"each", "all", and "none"; and last (but not least!) "neither", "neither", and "nor" and how they relate to your verb choice. Read More

Tags: English, expository writing

Semi-colons, Colons, and Commas: How and When To Use Them

Posted by Alison on 9/9/16 6:00 PM

One advisory that students hear a lot, especially in earlier years of English class, is "avoid a comma splice." A comma splice is an excessive use of commas without the proper elements of a complete sentence to justify the commas. When to use a comma versus a semi-colon depends on the type of sentence you have. Below are the sentence types that call for commas.

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Tags: English, expository writing

Three Essential Things to Remember When Citing Parenthetically

Posted by Alison on 8/24/16 6:30 PM

For a lot of students, parenthetical citations may seem like the bane of existence. You've just written a ten-page essay, you're happy with your argument and the conclusion you thought of in the middle of the night before it was due to submit, but you still have to check all the quotes. Especially in today's digital age, in which reading and copying text from countless sources is as easy as the touch of a button, the importance of correctly citing sources has grown, along with the potential consequences of neglecting to do so. 

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Tags: expository writing

Solving a mystery: A new way to think about writing a research paper

Posted by Jonah N on 8/19/16 6:00 PM

Research papers are a staple of many high school and college history classes, and indeed are miniature versions of the work real historians do. If you’re a history nerd like me, nothing excites quite like historical research.

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Tags: expository writing

Punctuate Your Point, Correctly: How to Punctuate Dialogue

Posted by Alison on 7/27/16 9:30 AM

They may seem small, but punctuation marks can make all the difference in how we read and understand the English language. The title of what has become an iconic little book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, exemplifies the level of ambiguity that can result from the presence or absence of a comma. This chapter focuses on several oft-mistaken categories of punctuation marks – the comma, the semi-colon, the apostrophe, quotation marks – and how, when, and where to use them properly.

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Tags: English, expository writing