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Here is information on what I do, how I bill, and what I need from you. Feel free to read the entire blog, or just skim the bold headings until you see the type of proofreading you need. I look forward to working with you! For $5 per unit, I will do the following: Proofread your paper for grammar, spelling, and punctuation. ($5 per 1200 words)  Provide notes explaining the changes I suggest. Make these changes (tentatively) in your paper and mark them in red print. I am: Certified in Teaching English as a Second Language Experienced in proofreading college-level academic writing, having done so as an employee of a nearby college and as a professional tutor Ethical and attentive to detail How it works: Message me and let me know what you are looking for in a proofreader. See the “extras” below for more options, and let me know if you need a service that is not listed. Charges: o $5 per 1200 words for basic... read more

I was asked once by a Japanese ELL (English Language Learner) how she could improve her speaking.  I told her that if you want to improve then you need to speak!  Talk to everyone.  Don't worry if you screw up or if your pronunciation isn't perfect.  The only way to become better at speaking a language, and to gain confidence, is to practice.   How does an ELL improve their speaking when they are living in a peripherary country?  A country where the language is not spoken as an official language?   That can be a bit more tricky, but immersion is not a guarantee that an ELL will gain proficiency in a language either.  I recommend finding an app or make an online friend that will give you opportunities to practice speaking.   I myself am a language learner.  I would like to go back to Japan and teach, but I would like to improve my speaking skills before I go.  I like using an app called Mango Languages. ... read more

Years ago, there was never any dispute: when you listed a bunch of things in a sentence and finished with the word 'and ________.', there should always have been a comma before the 'and', i.e. "I have lived in France, Germany, Italy, and China." The modern grammarians (is that even a word, haha) seem to think that the final comma should be omitted because they claim it is redundant. They claim that without the comma, everything should be adequately clear, for example: "I have lived in France, Germany, Italy and China." Is that really clear? I beg to differ, and for two reasons. First, the comma's use is not just as a separator of things; it is also used as a pause device. Without the last comma, that sentence reads: "I have lived in France (pause) Germany (pause) Italy and China (said quickly together)." That's not correct at all and we all know it. It should read: "I have lived in France (pause) Germany (pause) Italy (pause)... read more

It does happen sometimes- you've met a new student once, or twice, and they don't return. There are many possible reasons for this; it could be the tutor's approach, the student's expectations, or other external factors. This happened to me recently, despite all my tutoring experience, and I'll explain why. This college student came to me two days before an essay was due, with a poor first draft full of grammatical issues along with a poor grasp of the topic and supporting readings for it. She was desperate, and I believe expected me to just fix her paper for her. When I asked her how she deals with her second-language grammar problems, she explained that she uses an online program that supposedly corrects her grammar on her submitted draft. That is, she isn't really learning the grammar herself, but depending on a software program. In addition, she didn't grasp the admittedly-hard readings assigned in her text, and was very vague on her thesis. I reviewed the essay and suggested that... read more

Every one of us was taught grammar in grade school. We learned the rules of writing, how to construct sentences properly, when to use commas, how to avoid run-on sentences, proper diction and word choice and tons of other rules regarding how the English language "properly" works. But there's one thing we weren't really taught. In fact, most of us unquestioningly accepted these rules, rules like you should use "fewer" for countable items and "less" for things you can't count. We know how to use these rules, and by virtue of being able to speak the language, we also know how to use the grammar. But these two concepts of grammar are not the same. This raises so many questions. Where did these rules come from? What is grammar, really, and how do we define it from a linguistic point of view? Is there some kind of supreme authority on the English language that imposes these rules on all its speakers?    In a Tarantino-esque fashion, we'll... read more

Hi everyone,   I hope all is well. Recently, I realized I am able to tutor full time. It is my hope to do so, but I need to start marketing. Sadly, just having a MA in Teaching and near completion of a MA in English will not suffice. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.   Thank you!

I always stress the importance of organization and preparation with my students. Being consistent, clear, concise, and on time, are vital steps that will lead to a more effective and fulfilling learning experience. Ever sat through a class that was so boring you couldn't pay attention? Ever listened to an extensive lecture from a teacher with a dull, monotonous, voice? Aside from individual success, my main motive is to help others raise their self-confidence and self-esteem as much as possible; I plan to do this in an exciting manner that will keep your attention because it will be fun! Be open-minded, hopeful, have a sense of humor, and stay motivated! I look forward to meeting with you and syncing our experiences in a spontaneous manner! 

Have you ever been in a situation when you have several alternatives for what you want to say in a second language but you are still not entirely sure which one to use? A lot of times, people find that they have several alternatives for what they want to say, and are not sure which one to choose for a particular situation. The good news for language learners is that its getting easier and easier to check exactly how to use a word correctly. Tools like corpora are becoming increasingly user-friendly and can be extremely useful for this. A corpus is a large set of linguistic data drawn from a particular area. This might be scientific journals, newspapers, novels, annual reports, or even conversation transcripts. To run a check on a corpus, simply write in your search term (go/salt/timely) and the corpus will show you the top 50 examples of this word in context. This means that one can easily read through and see not just the word, but the words which are most likely... 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

You have one hour with a college prep specialist who can help make your admissions/scholarship essays award winning.  How can you maximize your time?  Here are five tips to get the most out of your time:   Come Prepared. - Bring the essay prompts from each of your colleges.  Bring a sample personal statement and resume.  Be sure to have any information necessary to complete an admissions essay, to include your GPA, test scores, and any major accomplishments. Know Thyself - Always know your stats.  During this time, knowing your GPA and SAT score is as important as knowing your name and birthdate.  Also, know (and have a list of) your interests, hobbies, favorite subjects, etc.  Have an idea of at least 3 possible majors and careers you would like to explore. Be on Time - There is a lot to cover!  The better prepared and earlier you are, the more likely we are to get a lot done. Also, I tend to take my time... read more

Tonight I met with one of my students, who is in 6th grade, and we are working together to tackle proper essay structure.    This can be a tough issue for students, especially the really creative ones. These are the students that are FULL of ideas, and all of them are equally good, so why can't they just put them all into one essay or story? Trust me, it's not easy to kill your darlings, but it must be done (until you get a blog, of course).    In general, all essays, or even stories should be structured in a similar fashion: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Or, a beginning, a middle, and an end.    The introduction will include the visuals, the details to get the reader completely hooked into the story. If this is an analytical essay, the introduction will include the argument, or the point you're trying to prove.    Next comes the body, or the middle of the essay/story. This will typically be the longest... read more

I remember taking some courses in my early years of undergrad that were pretty awful. The teaching wasn't that bad, and I was definitely awake for them (two key points to getting decent grades) but the subject matter just wasn't something I could ever see myself using. Sound familiar?    Interestingly though, after changing my attitude, I saw that I can indeed use most things learned in most classes, if I am looking for the beneficial parts of each subject. I'm not saying that if you hate science you'll want to start studying the makeup of dirt all of a sudden, but I can definitely assure you that there is a way to dislike things less.    So...how? We have to find ways to connect what math, science, English, or the like teaches us (even if it's under the surface) to what we love in life.    I love children with cancer. You can see more about that here. And even though I had to write that on the front of a lot of notebooks over... read more

Practicing for the speaking part of the IELTS English proficiency exam is daunting, to say the least. There are so many elements of a good speech that you have to remember to score the necessary band to get into your English-speaking university of choice. If you are not sure where to start, take a look at these tips: 1.) Don’t worry so much about your speed. More important are your abilities to speak without grammatical mistakes and to have few pauses or hesitancies in your speaking. Pronunciation is also negatively affected by speaking too quickly. So slow down, and concentrate on making yourself understood. 2.) Choose your higher-level vocabulary carefully. Many students end up sounding like they are living 150 years ago because their vocabularies are so formal. Choose a few (about three or four) words that are higher-level in your interview to use. Don’t overdo it. 3.) Use transitions. The flow of ideas from one part of the speaking prompt to another is important... read more

http://www.wyzant.com/resources/video/322097/Introducing_myself   Are you looking to learn English as a second language? Or do you want to learn Chinese? Whether you are a college student learning English or a professional seeking to learn Mandarin Chinese, I can help you make real progress in the language learning process. As a native speaker of English, I have lived abroad and experienced what it's like to learn a second language. in the process I have gained many insights into the language learning process and this experience has better prepared me to help tutor students seeking to learn English. If you're seeking to learn Mandarin, I understand where you're coming from and I share your native language and cultural perspective so that I can explain things to you in a way you will understand. I can also share tips for helping you to learn Mandarin. For Chinese-speaking students learning English I can explain difficult concepts to you... read more

My emerging tutoring passion is assisting ESL college students with their coursework. Most of them must also hold full-time jobs to support themselves and often their families as well. Many require online courses to get college educations. They could not earn a college degree any other way. Do textbook publishing companies realize how much cultural bias is written into their online ancillary (supplemental) materials? Do teachers of online college courses realize how hopeless these students feel about merely passing a class when their grades depend on online multiple-choice exams consisting of 60 items to be completed in 60 minutes (60 in 60), for example? This may be a subtle form of cultural bias, but bias it is. Frankly, as a native speaker of American English with a master’s degree in journalism from University of Wisconsin—Madison, I’m not sure I could pass a 60 in 60 exam. I would like to challenge the instructors who teach these online courses and college administrators... read more

I know how they told you to write it. Now let me tell you how it's really done. Popular misconception is that because you read a paper from start to finish, that the best way to write it is from start to finish. This is, of course, nonsense. The best way to write a thesis paper is as follows.   Write your conclusion first. That's right... the easiest way to write a 5-paragraph thesis paper is to start with your conclusions first. This is how we think, anyway. When we read about a subject,  we are thinking while we read, so that by the time we've finished reading, we already know what we think about it. Those are our conclusions about what we just read/watched/experienced. We're already there, so why not start there? When you start the conclusion you should say something specific about your topic. By then end of your conclusion, you should show how the specific nature of your topic says something large, say, about the nature of life itself. Write... read more

Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language.  Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?"  Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience.  Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning.   DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is not... read more

Since I've been tutoring English literature students, I've noticed a pattern: every time we read a book that I remember reading in my high school classes, I enjoy it far more as an adult than I ever did as a teenager. Time and time again I pick up a book I remember hating in class, resigned to slog through it and discuss metaphor and symbolism with my student, only to find that I thoroughly enjoy it. Each time I come out of the unit with a fresh new appreciation for the work in question. As this happens more and more I've come to the conclusion that there are whole worlds of theme and subtext in many novels that are only apparent to a reader who has reached adulthood, because they require the reader to have experiences beyond those of an average high-school student. In today's Literature Spotlight I'd like to illustrate this point using a recently-transformed work for me, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. One of the main themes in A Doll's House is the idea of Nora's reluctance to... read more

Statisticians say that the average person writes about 55,000 words per year. That's enough to fill a novel. This statistic measures everything from thank you notes to work emails. However, I'm sure the average college student far exceeds this number. Therefore, it's no wonder that most students I work with are seeking help with their writing. Needless to say, with such a word filled future on these students' horizon, I take this responsibility seriously.  Most students think they need to start with grammar in order to improve their writing. They are baffled by the pesky rules that spell check doesn't catch but that their teachers always find. They think that the key to their writing is unlocking the comma, semicolon, and split infinitive. However, I'd argue that unless you have the time and patience, and the student has the dedication, to teach him or her Latin (where many of these rules have been super imposed from), it will be hard for them to master grammar at this... read more

After several months of carrying some pretty heavy textbooks around with me, I recently decided to switch to a Kindle Fire and start using electronic textbooks. Although there are times when a good old-fashioned book really cannot be replaced, I'm very pleased with the weight of my tutoring bag now, and my students seem to be enjoying the switch as well.   I'm able to download textbooks for free in some cases ("Boundless" publishing), and I also have several different dictionaries and other reference books a tap away! Any other books I might find helpful for my students? Just a few clicks away. This also frees up my paper textbooks to loan to my students in-between sessions. Using a Kindle gives me the added benefit of being able to load educational applications to use for practice and reinforcement. Since we are in the 'computer testing' age, this also gives my students some extra practice in preparing for computerized exams. I'm sure you'll notice... read more

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