Tutor vs Academic Language

As high school students transition to college, they need to bring words they know and understand into their active writing vocabulary.   This means – bear with me here – proofreading and re-writing words.

So many people, when they reach the end of the conclusion, assume they are done. Nope. Every page should morph through two or three drafts before being handed in.

  • When writing the first draft, your brain comes up with the easy words while getting ideas down on the paper (or screen).
  • When re-writing, it’s time to look for those easy words and replace them with more sophisticated words.
  • Re-writing is NOT a bad word!

Here is a list of words to watch out for.

  • Being verbs: be, is-are, was-were.

They’re not -bad- words, but they are the weakest available verbs. Is there a more specific way to convey your information?

  • get-got

I got up in the morning, got dressed, got breakfast, got my shoes on, got rained on so I got wet, got on the bus, got to work, got busy, got done, got out, got home.

There has to be a better verb tucked away somewhere in you brain.

Don’t bother with synonyms on this one, you’ll need to think of something entirely new and more appropriate.

  • go-went

Another easy word. You can think of something stronger and more context-appropriate.

  • so

“It was so big” is not a college-level phrase. Use another descriptive word.

“They did this so I did that” isn’t college level either. Use therefore, thus, or google cause and effect synonyms.

Wordy words to avoid

  • ___ly words, or adverbs describing verbs. Use sparingly, and try to find a strong verb that (happily) (proudly) needs no help.
  • There is a __noun___ that _verb___.  Wordy phrase! Often you can rephrase it as “a __noun__ __verbs__.
  • “It” is a pronoun which refers back to the most recent noun. Check that your sentence makes sense, or if you need a better pronoun.


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