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 refers to an out-of-style word or phrase, such as “whilst,” “thusly,” or “thou.” 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 paper with old theatrical-sounding words. Here are some archaisms commonly found in student writing (ones to avoid): Thusly:...

    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, Clutter, Concision

    Brevity, Clutter, Concision are synonyms used to contrast wordy writing with concise writing. Note: concise writing should be distinguished from equivalent with simplistic prose or a Writer-Based Prose Style. What distinguishes the presence of these stylistic attributes is not necessarily the length of a sentence. In fact, extremely long sentences--sentences with many words--maybe considered concise. In a world where everyone...

    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. Clarity, Simplicity

    These terms--Clarity, Simplicity--are used to describe texts that convey information as simply as possible. That said, this does not mean that the information being conveyed is necessarily simple. A topic may be extremely complicated, yet still presented as simply as possible. Clarity and Simplicity are highly prized attributes of 21st century discourse. Many global, rhetorical issues play a supersized role...

    Published on Jan 31st 2020

  7. 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

  8. Diction

    Diction refers to word choice. Word choice problems may confuse your reader or make your reader lose trust in your ability to write knowledgeably about your subject. 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. Diction or word...

    Published on Sep 10th 2019

  9. Edit for Diction

    Words that are missing, misplaced, or out of order reduce readability. Look for missing words or phrases: A missing word or phrase can obscure meaning and cause confusion. Insert missing words or phrases to complete the intended thought. Look at word order after revising: Minor revision of a portion of a sentence can cause a major problem with word order....

    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. Elements of Style

    The Elements of Style analyzes stylistic or linguistic attributes associated with highly-prized language practices. A rhetor's style plays an impactful role on comprehension. Thus, identifying stylistic or linguistic attributes associated with readability has been a long-term preoccupation of writers. Examples of valued language practices at the global/rhetorical level are whether a rhetor stays focused on unified topic, maintains a consistent...

    Published on Feb 12th 2020

  14. 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

  15. 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

  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. Sentence Structure

    The structure of a sentence affects comprehension. Somewhat surprisingly, short, simple sentences may win you a 6th grade reading score, yet they can be just as confusing as long-winded sentences. And sentences, which keep you hanging, which take forever to get to the point (like this sentence), which remind you it may be time to check the score on your...

    Published on Sep 10th 2019

  21. 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

  22. 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

  23. 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

  24. 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