Jenifer Paquette

Jenifer Paquette is an English Instructor at Hillsborough Community College. She is the editor of the faculty-created textbook Composition and Grammar for HCC by HCC. She enjoys teaching students about composition, literature, and grammar.

  1. Active vs. Passive Voice

    Active and passive voices are two ways of describing how sentences create relationships between actors, actions, and objects of actions: Sentences in active voice put those elements in this order: Actor + Action + Object of Action. Sentences in passive voice put those elements in a different order, and sometimes even leave out the actor element: Object of Action +...

    Published on Feb 27th 2020

  2. Archaism

    An archaism is an out-of-style word or phrase, such as “whilst,” “thusly,” or “thou.” Key Concepts: Diction When cultivating your own personal writing style, it’s important that you avoid sounding artificial. And one surefire way to sound artificial is to produce stilted writing by loading your text with old theatrical-sounding words. Here are some archaisms commonly found in student writing (ones to...

    Published on Mar 07th 2012

  3. Articles

    English has three articles: a, an, and the. These little words are used to introduce certain nouns, but there are specific rules regarding the use of each one. When do I use an article? "A" is used before a general noun that has not been introduced to the reader. A cat walked by my door. (Note: I don't know this...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  4. Brevity

    Brevity is an aesthetic judgment made by a reader, audience, or user about the absence or presence of wordiness in a text. Rhetors achieve brevity by eliminating unnecessary abstractions, jargon, clichés, awkward sentence constructions, weak verbs, tangled sentence patterns, unnecessary nouns, and overuse of prepositional phrases. The term brevity is synonymous with succinctness, terseness, and conciseness. Brevity is one of...

    Published on Sep 10th 2019

  5. Choppy Writing

    Choppy writing uses short words and simplistic diction. short, primer-style sentences (i.e., sentences that don't connect to each other). How can I improve choppy writing? Connect some of your ideas together with conjunctions and/or segues. Make two short sentences into one longer one. Writing feels choppy when the sentences are very short, and the sentences do not connect to each...

    Published on Feb 27th 2020

  6. Conjunctions

    Conjunctions are words that connect words, phrases, or clauses. IOWs, words that show relationships between ideas, across words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. a part of speech Key Concepts: Flow, Coherence, Unity; Grammar; Organization; Organizational Schema & Logical Reasoning; Parts of Speech; Sentences; Writer-Based vs. Reader-Based Prose Writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . use conjunctions to aid coherence--especially to join...

    Published on Feb 14th 2020

  7. Coordinating Conjunctions

    Coordinating conjunctions are words that are used to join two sentences together. Example: I'm reading, and I'm writing. Key Concepts: Flow, Coherence, Unity; Grammar; Organization; Organizational Schema & Logical Reasoning; Parts of Speech; Sentences; Writer-Based vs. Reader-Based Prose Commas are used when two independent clauses are connected by coordinating conjunctions: Ex: She was tired, so she went home.She was tired...

    Published on Feb 24th 2020

  8. Dangling Modifiers

    A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that describes, strengthens, or clarifies another word (or group of words) in a sentence.  A modifier may be considered dangling when the word that is meant to be modified is missing from the sentence. A dangling modifier can weaken or twist the intended meaning of the sentence, thus creating a sense of...

    Published on Mar 30th 2012

  9. Edit for Diction

    A diction problem happens when you use a word in the wrong context or use a word that does not mean what you intended it to mean in that situation. Key Concepts: Register; Rhetorical Reasoning Writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . are wise to engage in self critique of their writing. It's particularly important for writers to consider the...

    Published on Apr 13th 2012

  10. Edit for Point of View

    To identify ineffective uses of point of view, 1) identify the various points of view in your writing; and 2) decide if the points of view achieve their purpose and will not inadvertently alienate the reader. 1. Identify the various points of view in a piece of writing. Ex: The American public is underinformed about important news from other countries....

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  11. Edit for Pronoun Agreement

    To successfully edit your usage of pronouns in a document, you first may find it useful to review our article on Pronouns. Subsequently, below is an outline of different ways you can read your document to check for pronoun problems. How can vague pronoun references be clarified? Search the document for the words it, this, which, and that, and circle...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  12. Edit Primer Sentences

    How can short sentences be effectively combined? Use Coordinating Conjunctions Simple sentences about a single topic may also be combined by using coordinating conjunctions (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) and/or modifying clauses. Series of related sentences: Central Park is an urban park that is 843 acres. It is located in New York City. The park has several attractions...

    Published on Feb 08th 2020

  13. Flow, Coherence, Unity

    Flow, Coherence, Unity are stylistic terms used by people to describe how well a rhetor develops a single topic before moving on to a new topic how well a rhetor relates elements of discourse within a text (e.g., sentences or paragraphs) to other elements of discourse within the same text (i.e., other sentences or paragraphs) and the topichow well focused...

    Published on Sep 10th 2019

  14. Hyphens

    A hyphen (-) is used in the middle of a multi-word idea or joins two related words together. (The hyphen key is next to the +/= key on your keyboard (the same key with the underscore _ ) Use hyphens to join compound words and avoid awkward or confusing word combinations. A hyphen (-) is used in the middle of...

    Published on Sep 11th 2019

  15. Misplaced Modifiers

    A modifier is called misplaced modifier (or separated) when it has been separated in a sentence from the word it modifies. This separation causes confusion, leaving readers unsure what work the word, phrase, or clause is intended to be modified. Misplaced modifiers can be fixed by placing the modifying word/phrase/clause near the word it modifies. A modifier is a word,...

    Published on Mar 30th 2012

  16. Modifiers

    A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that describes, strengthens, or clarifies another word (or group of words) in a sentence. When a modifier is placed in its proper position in a sentence, a sense of clarity is established for the reader. Generally, English places modifiers as close to the word (or group of words) they modify as possible....

    Published on Feb 21st 2020

  17. Parallelism (Parallel Structure)

    Parallelism (Parallel Structure) is a grammatical concept refers to repetition of two or more parts of a sentence take the same grammatical form. Parallelism fosters reading comprehension because it enables readers to chunk information -- elements of a sentence (e.g., words, phrase, sentence) -- as coequal and related. Errors in Parallelism errors are serious because then impede communication, resulting in...

    Published on Apr 02nd 2012

  18. Pronoun

    Pronouns are words that replace nouns. People use pronouns to avoid repeating the same noun over and over again (which can become cumbersome). Thus, pronouns allow for a more interesting and concise paper as long as pronouns and antecedents (i.e., the word pronoun refers to) agree in person, number, and gender. Pronouns are an important part of speech because you...

    Published on Feb 14th 2020

  19. Revise for Thesis or Research Question

    First, make sure that the paper actually has a thesis that predicts what the rest of the paragraphs will be about. Once your thesis is clear, read each paragraph; this would be an ideal time to consider topic sentences (those sentences that control the focus of the paragraph) and ask yourself if those points are introduced or referenced in the...

    Published on Feb 20th 2020

  20. Sentences

    A sentence is a grammatically independent unit that contains (1) a verb (AKA predicate) and (2) a subject wherein the verb is an action and the subject is a nounat least one word long yet typically composed of at least two words in one-word sentences either the subject (noun) or action (verb) is implied. Example: Go!started with a capital letter...

    Published on Feb 23rd 2020

  21. Subject-Verb Agreement

    Subject-verb agreement happens when the subject and verb of a clause agree in number. For the subject and verb to agree, both must be either singular or plural. A single relationship lies at the heart of every sentence in the English language. Like an indivisible nucleus at the center of an atom, the subject-verb pair unifies the sentence. It can...

    Published on Jul 17th 2012

  22. Subordinating Conjunctions

    A subordinating conjunction connects an independent clause to a dependent (subordinate) clause: an independent clause is a sentence that is a complete thought and therefore can stand aloneExample: I survived the class.a dependent clause is an incomplete sentence, a fragment. It cannot express a complete thought. It cannot be punctuated as a sentence. Example: Although I survived the class. Key...

    Published on Feb 24th 2020

  23. Thesis, Research Question, Hypothesis, Title

    Thesis, Research Question, and Title are expressions of focus: The Thesis Statement expresses the gist of the author's message: the primary reason for writing, the core argumentThe Research Question expresses the question the author is exploring.The Hypothesis is the educated guess or insight the researcher is testingThe Title is an abbreviated expression of the thesis, research question, or hypothesis. The...

    Published on Feb 10th 2020

  24. Vague Language, Generalizations

    Vague Language refers to language that is underdeveloped, lacks substance, and is needlessly abstracthas an excessive number of non-specific adjectives like good, bad, okay, pretty, happy, and sad, which give an audience only a superficial and general sense of emotion or description.lacks concrete and sensory languageuses qualifiers like sort of, kind of, and generally without further explanation. Vague Generalizations refers...

    Published on Mar 01st 2020

  25. Verb-Tense Shift

    A verb-tense shift occurs when a writer changes tense within a single piece of writing. Tense is the term for what time frame verbs refer to. Standard American English has a number of tenses, each of which is a variation on past, present, or future. Any switching of tense within a sentence, paragraph, or longer piece of writing is a...

    Published on Feb 24th 2020