by Sonia Epstein “a thesis statement shouldn’t be a teaser-trailer; it should be the ‘tl;dr’ of your paper” I’m finishing up an essay about a 19th century British novel, a pretty typical “marriage plot” novel whose curtain closes on a headstrong female protagonist, now with a ring around her finger, ready to live out her … Continue reading Your Essay’s Argument Might Be Hiding in Your Conclusion →
by Raymond DeLuca, English Grammar and Language Tutor Students bring all sorts of different essays to the Writing Center, and each discipline has its own conventions when it comes to writing numbers. People are always surprised to learn that, yes, there are good and not so good ways to write numbers in English. So, this … Continue reading One hundred percent? Or 100%? Tips for writing numbers. →
by Raymond DeLuca, English Grammar and Language Tutor The comma splice is a common mistake that I often find in student writing. It is, by no means, a catastrophic mistake, but it tells me that the writer is still trying to figure out what to do with commas, which play a really, really important role … Continue reading Stop splicing those commas! →
by Nicole Kagan and Nicolas Yan What are topic sentences? Topic sentences are sentences that lead each paragraph of an essay. Think of them as flags: at the beginning of each paragraph, you are “flagging” to the reader what the direction of the paragraph will be (more concretely, what the claim you are making in … Continue reading When you don’t have much time to revise, focus on topic sentences. →
by Elliot Schiff My first year of college, in Expos and other humanities classes, I would get this feedback from my instructors: “Elliot, could you make your thesis statement more argumentative?” Or, “Elliot, this is a good paragraph but it’s missing an argumentative topic sentence.” I couldn’t help but think, “Why does everyone think this … Continue reading Why does everything have to be an argument? →
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The Harvard College Writing Center offers one-on-one conferences to all Harvard undergraduate students. For more information, please visit our website at writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu.
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