February 2010 Newsletter

  Dear English students,

Whenever I hire a new tutor, I always try to find one who is at least as good I am. That's a high standard, if I do say so myself. When you meet our new employees, however, I think you'll agree that we met or exceeded the mark.

I reviewed more than 575 resumes before asking Nat Crawford and Teresa Kim to join my team. If you or your child needs an English tutor, you'll find they’re the best there is.

I invite you to sign up for lessons or to refer someone you know.

Think of the importance of English skills in high school, in college, and in the workplace. Then please come back to study with us or tell a friend.

Thanks for reading, and please write to us if you wish. I'd love to read your comments.

Respectfully yours,

Steve High,

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Steve High, president


College Focus:
Harvey Mudd College

Misused Words:
Everyday vs. Every Day

Writing Tip:
Using Transitions
, Pt. 1

Harvey Mudd College
Home to Top Engineers and Scientists

Harvey Mudd College (HMC) is a member of the Claremont University Consortium, a group of undergraduate and graduate colleges in Southern California. Named for Harvey Seeley Mudd, a mining engineer, this college is one of the country’s best institutions for undergraduate education, according to Princeton Review. And in the 2009 edition of “America’s Best Colleges,” U.S. News & World Report ranks Harvey Mudd No. 2 in the nation for undergraduate engineering and No. 14 among all four-year liberal arts colleges.

An astonishing 35 percent of Harvey Mudd’s graduates have gone on to earn doctoral degrees, according to a 2008 study by the National Science Foundation. With a student-to-faculty ratio of less than nine-to-one and a quiet, nearly crime-free campus, Harvey Mudd should be on the short list of any student considering a scientific or technical major.

Although Harvey Mudd College specializes in the education of engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, all students also study the humanities and social sciences. “Good English and communications skills are critical to all our students for several reasons,” said Harvey Mudd’s director of admissions, Peter Osgood. “Scientists and engineers are at the cutting edge of their fields, meaning that they must not only be good problem solvers, but they must be able to communicate their work to others in clear English. Scientists rarely work in isolation; they are better served working in collaboration with others. In order to do this, as well as to be published, they need to learn to write well and to read closely.”

Juniors and seniors work on real-world technical projects for entrepreneurs, companies, and government agencies as part of Harvey Mudd’s well-regarded Clinic Program.

Harvey Mudd College is in Claremont, a quiet suburb 35 miles east of Los Angeles, less than an hour from the Pacific Ocean. Most of Harvey Mudd’s 756 students live on campus. According to Osgood, the makeup of the current student body is 60 percent white, 17-20 percent Asian American, 8 percent multiracial Asian and white, 6 percent Hispanic, and 2.5 percent other.

Next time: San Jose State University

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“Everyday” Versus “Every Day”

Nat Crawford,
director of tutoring

by Nat Crawford

Everyday is an adjective.

It sometimes means "ordinary."
I put on a pair of everyday jeans and went to the grocery store.

Click to enlarge.

Sometimes everyday means “happening daily.”
I did some everyday chores and then went to bed.

Every day is an adverbial objective.

It means “each day.”
Every day, I go to the grocery store.

Click to enlarge.
For answers to specific writing questions, email us here. Who knows? Your question may inspire our next article on Misused Words.

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Cue Your Reader With Transitions
Adverbs That Indicate a Narrative

by Teresa Kim

Writing a grammatical sentence is the necessary beginning for any writer. A simple sentence conveys a piece of information; when you write a simple sentence or even a string of simple sentences, you are making logical or narrative statements. The proper transitions, though, help readers follow your story or your argument. As your writing (and therefore your thinking) grows more sophisticated, the right cues can help readers follow your story, your line of reasoning, or your train of thought.

It is easy to cue readers in narrative writing with conjunctive adverbs. A list of the most common ones appears in the glossary of Write it Right With Strunk & White. Others include the following:

so far

Teresa Kim,
As with any other device, use these tools as needed. It may be tempting to use them everywhere, to ensure that your readers are following you. But if the information you’re conveying is simple, you should avoid excessive and unnecessary transitions. Consider this example:

First, I ran down the stairs and headed straight for the Christmas tree. Next, I sorted all the presents into piles. Then, I counted how many presents I had. Eventually, I was sad to find my brother had more presents than I!

Even without the boldfaced adverbs, the events flow easily for a reader because (a) the information is simple and predictable and (b) the sentences are grammatically uncomplicated. Using too many unnecessary adverbs makes your writing sound elementary, as if your intention were to write from the perspective of a stuffed teddy bear “of very little brain”:

Winnie-the-Pooh sat down at the foot of the tree, put his head between his paws, and began to think.

First of all he said to himself: "That buzzing-noise means something. You don't get a buzzing-noise like that, just buzzing and buzzing, without meaning something. If there's a buzzing-noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee."

Then he thought another long time, and said: "And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey."

And then he got up, and said: "And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it." So he began to climb the tree.

A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


Next time: Using Transitions Pt. 2: Adverbs & Conjunctions that Indicate a Sequence in Logic
(like the underlined words in the Milne quotation.)

For answers to specific writing questions, email us here.
Who knows? Your question may inspire our next article on Writing Tips.

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