One of the things I love most about the Latin language is how its writers can massage it to add information and imagery without having to add more words. I call this, personally, writing in two dimensions. Here's an example: At one point in the Aeneid, Aeneas and Dido are having a lovers' tryst in a hidden cave, which was dedicated to a god. Because Latin is a highly inflected language, word order carries little grammatical information (unlike English), but can add quite a bit of what I call "two-dimensional" information. So, in English the line might be written: Aeneas and Dido were in the holy cave. But Vergilius writes instead (only in Latin): In the holy Aeneas and Dido were cave. Thus, even in terms of word order, Aeneas and Dido are INSIDE the cave! I find things like this absolutely thrilling. But it's not my favorite half-line in Latin poetry. That... read more
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After spending hours learning about vocabulary, verb tenses, adverbs and adjectives you're probably wondering when you will ever have use for it in the real world. I was always pretty good at grammar and spelling and have found those skills to be invaluable. Something as simple as writing an email requires proper grammar. Have you ever cringed at something written on the internet where someone incorrectly used there, they're or their? Having good writing skills and being knowledgeable about grammatical syntax will set you apart in job applications, reports for your bosses and supervisors, articles about how to perform the latest skateboard tricks, and even speeches and presentations. Incorrect spelling can be very costly for a business. I once went into a bank where they were running a special promotion. I pointed out that they had incorrect spelling on their posters. Posters are not cheap to produce and therefore it probably cost that bank tens of thousands of dollars to... read more
Many people, myself included, feel that for all its advantages, the internet has precipitated a steady decline in the quality of writing. Anyone can write anything anywhere, and while that gives a voice to many who otherwise might not have a public forum to share what they have to say, it also makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to uphold any sort of standards. That said, the internet also offers plenty of resources for improving your writing. Here are a few of my favorites: Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com Here you'll also find a thesaurus and several other reference tools. It may not be the Oxford English Dictionary, but it gives you plenty of good definitions and sometimes includes usage notes with practical implications for your writing, like differences in how similar words are typically used. Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.com Speaking of differences, this is a really cool site.... read more
See this interesting New York Times article on the importance of accuracy and nuance in writing. The newspaper actually points out its own mistakes! http://nyti.ms/1kWu7Dd
Have you ever had your writing edited and a sentence marked “fragment”? What does that mean? How do I fix it? To start, a sentence is made up of a subject and a predicate (sometimes called a verb phrase). Subject: the agent in the sentence. This is the word or phrase that is doing the action. Predicate: the verb phrase in the sentence. Sometimes this is just one word and sometimes it is a long phrase because it has a direct or indirect object, prepositional phrase, or other pieces of information. For example, take the sentence “Billy rides his bike.” “Billy” is the subject because he is doing the action. The phrase “rides his bike” is the predicate because it contains the verb and the direct object. When you have a fragment there are 3 possibilities for why it is wrong: The sentence is missing a subject. This type of fragment has a verb but does not state the subject. Often times students might... read more
Many people, myself included, feel that for all its advantages, the internet has precipitated a steady decline in the quality of writing. Anyone can write anything anywhere, and while that gives a voice to many who otherwise might not have a public forum to share what they have to say, it also makes it difficult and sometimes impossible to uphold any sort of standards. That said, the internet also offers plenty of resources for improving your writing. Here are a few of my favorites: Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com Here you'll also find a thesaurus and several other reference tools. It may not be the Oxford English Dictionary, but it gives you plenty of good definitions and sometimes includes usage notes with practical implications for your writing, like differences in how similar words are typically used. Difference Between http://www.differencebetween.com Speaking of differences, this is a really cool... read more
Every beginning student of Japanese, myself included, has had trouble in one way or another with particles. JOSHI, as they are called in Japanese, are "helping words" which we use to identify parts of speech, join clauses, indicate direction, mode and exclusivity. Basically, they're the sweet little things that make Japanese cohesive rather than a jumble of words. These JOSHI are written as hiragana, but some may have pronunciation changes. The hiragana HA, pronounced WA, has multiple functions. First and foremost is it's function as a TOPIC MARKER, the "what I'd like to talk about." After the topic has been established, it can be omitted from future information until the topic changes. Rooney-san WA Fruansugo to Eigo wo hanashimasu. Sei ga hikakute, atama ga ii desu.. Senmon WA hikakubungaku desu. -- Ms. Rooney speaks French and English. She is short and smart. (Changing the... read more
I frequently see students confuse these two words in their writing. Many people do not even know that there are two separate spellings. "To compliment" is to offer someone praise. As in: "Karen's boyfriend complimented her new haircut." "To complement" is to make something more complete or perfect. As in: "Karen thinks her boyfriend really complements her life." This word is also used in geometry to refer to two angles whose degrees add up to 90 (i.e. form a right angle).
One of my personal pet peeves in both written and spoken English is the confusion of the words "less" and "fewer." These words are not interchangeable. While they have the same essential meaning, one must use them in different contexts. "Less" applies to quantities that cannot be counted. Less sugar, less air, less dirt, less dust, less light, less water. "Fewer" applies to quantities that can be counted. Fewer people, fewer aardvarks, fewer tissues, fewer cups. At the same time, remember: Fewer granules of sugar, fewer molecules of air, fewer dust bunnies, fewer drops of water.
One of the most common grammatical errors I see in the writing of students of all levels is the lack of agreement of adjectives and verbs when "each" is the subject of the sentence. For example: "Each of the cats are calico." This sentence is incorrect because the subject is "each," not "the cats." Therefore, the correct form of the sentence is: "Each of the cats is calico." If you get confused, remove the words that modify "each" and read the sentence. In this case, the sentence would read: "Each is calico."
Your writing should be internally consistent in the way in which it refers to people. For example: "One should never leave your door unlocked when you're not at home." This sentence is awkward to read because the pronouns are inconsistent: the author uses "one" and "you" to refer to the same abstract person. This sentence can be revised to read one of two ways: "One should never leave one's door unlocked when one is not at home." "You should never leave your door unlocked when you're not at home." The sentences have slightly different meanings. The first is abstract, while the second seems to be giving specific instructions to a person that the speaker is directly addressing. Both are correct because both sentences consistently use the same pronouns.
For practice over the winter holidays, try the following resources: Vocabulary practice Quizlet Create your own vocabulary lists with pictures. Writing You Can't Write English Under Pressure A stressful game to check your knowledge of spelling and word order. Listening Voice of America, "Stories about People" Hundreds of MP3 files and transcripts about famous people. Speaking / pronunciation American English Pronunciation Practice Audio files for practicing pronunciation, especially difficult word pairs. Grammar English Video Video English lessons on assorted grammar and vocabulary topics, including English slang. For example, try this video on the English meanings of "John." For Spanish-speakers Spanishdict.com, Aprender inglés gratis Different levels, different English topics offered in Spanish.
Here are some of my favorite English (high school) resources. Check back again soon, this list is always growing! I also recommend school textbooks, your local library, and used bookstores. (K-12) Readwritethink.org – Click on “Parent and After School Resources,” for a great list, sorted by grade level, to help your child practice a variety of different skill sets at home (ex: giving an interview, thinking critically, writing activities, etc) (Gr 6-12) Englishpage.com – Very thorough grammar lessons (Gr 6-12) TheOatmeal.com/tag/grammar – Short, humorous grammar lessons (Gr 6 -12) Grammarbook.com – Free video lessons on common grammar topics. *Note- some areas of this site are subscription-based. (Gr. 6-12) Grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar – Quick lessons on parts of speech, and tips on writing essays. (Gr 9-12) Owl.English.purdue.edu/owl – Grammar lessons, tutorials on writing essays and using specific formats... read more
Hi, I would be honored in having the opportunity of working with students and parents. The education and success of students are very important to me and I would love to do what I can to help. I am a math and education major with an Associate's of Arts and Teaching Degree from Lee College and I am seeking a teaching career. I live in the Baytown area and I am not able to provide my own transportation due to the fact that I have a disability which prevents me from driving, so I can only rely on public transportation and I am limited to how far I can travel. Therefor, communication is much needed. I am available until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Anyone needing a private tutor, please contact me. I would be happy to help you at any time.
The holidays are almost upon us - school will be out soon - and parents and students are looking at a 2-4 week hiatus from the regular routine of school work. What happens to all of the knowledge and skills learned from school and tutoring during those weeks? Well, having been a high school principal for years, as well as a classroom teacher, my experience is that students often will not read on their own, review math on their own, or if in an AP class "read ahead" on their own. If you have tutors in the educational profession, we also have that time off and our lesson times can be flexible - so instead of all of those late afternoon, early evening, or weekend appointments, most of us can now meet with our students in the morning or afternoon. So, what would your student gain from tutoring in the winter break? 1. Weekly reinforcement of knowledge and skills already... read more
Speaking or writing correct grammar can be challenging at times, since many of us interact with individuals who do not always speak correctly. Reading every day is one way to help improve grammar. What method do you use to improve your grammar?
One topic which can be transformational for students preparing for standardized testing, especially logical-mathematical students who are underperforming on the writing SAT, is formally learning English grammar. A large proportion of writing MC questions in particular focus on the sequence of tenses, and tense sequence errors or unintentional tense shifts can greatly harm submitted writing. The English language does not have a "past tense". It has multiple past tenses which are non-identical and which all have their uses. Working with a tutor on grammar can be a great help to the student who is not well served by whole-language and literature-centric approaches to English class (i.e. the students most likely to seek SAT verbal but not math tutoring in the first place).
I'm a professional writer, since 1996, and college-writing instructor, since 2007. Topic development, support, flow, style, grammar, and editing - I can help you with all aspects of the writing process. Effective college writing is your gateway to academic and professional success.
Okay, guys. I hate to do this, but I need to put on my teacher hat for a moment. (I don’t think teachers actually wear hats, but I’m sure you’re picking up what I’m putting down.) Here’s the thing: YOUR GRAMMAR AND SPELLING IN YOUR COLLEGE APPLICATION ESSAY MUST, MUST, MUST BE PRACTICALLY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY! You may be rolling your eyes and saying, “What’s a little mix-up between ‘there’ and ‘their’ between friends?” While I don’t think your entire acceptance hinges on one spelling error, I do know that mistakes cast a shadow on your application. For example, if your transcript says that you’ve taken Honors English since freshman year but your essay has several grammatical errors, then an admissions officer might assume that either your grades were inflated or your mom was giving you a little too much help on those final papers. Don’t give the admissions department a single reason to doubt your school smarts. What can you do to perfect your essay? Start with... read more
English Composition: for many, it is a course that breeds anxiety and procrastination. Students often feel like they are at the mercy of red ink wielding professors. They squiggle notes about unity, clarity, and transitions in the margins of what you thought was a well crafted essay. You may find yourself on the receiving end of a big fat “F” even if your essay has perfect spelling and grammar. How does this happen? What mysterious criteria are at play here? What does your professor want from you anyway? Rubrics: Unlocking the Mystery Well, this might surprise you, but your professor is not assigning arbitrary letter grades based on whether or not they like you or your essay. Your professor is actually measuring your essay against a standard set by the college. This standard usually takes the form of a rubric: a tool used to assess the quality of individual components in a college essay. These components include how well you address the purpose and audience... read more