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. Coordination & Subordination

    Coordination and Subordination, from the perspective of Standard Written English, concerns the ways writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . combine sentences. What is Coordination Writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . use coordination to join sentences when the ideas expressed in those sentences are coequal or equivalent. What is Subordination? In turn, writers use subordination to join sentences when...

    Published on Oct 21st 2021

  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. Independent Clauses, Dependent Clauses & Phrases

    What are Clauses & Phrases? Clauses & Phrases are the building blocks of a sentence in Standard Written English. Related Concepts: Modifiers, Modification Clauses A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a verb. Clauses are divided into Independent ClausesDependent Clauses. Independent Clauses An independent clause has a subject and a predicate and can stand on...

    Published on Oct 19th 2021

  16. Modifiers, Modification

    Modifiers are words, phrases, or clauses that describe another word in a sentence. Modifiers change the meaning of the sentence by adding details and qualifying information. Generally, English places modifiers as close to the word (or group of words) they describe as possible. When modifiers are placed in their proper position in a sentence, they add details and qualifying information...

    Published on Feb 21st 2020

  17. Parallelism, Parallel Structure

    What is Parallelism? Parallelism, aka Parallel Structure, is a grammatical structure in an English sentence. A part of a sentence is called parallel when two or more elements in the sentence are grammatically similar or identical in structure, sound, meaning, or meter, as illustrated below. Writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . use parallelism to achieve brevity, unity, simplicity and...

    Published on Apr 02nd 2012

  18. Parts of a Sentence

    The Parts of a Sentence (aka Sentence Parts) are generally conceived of as either Subjects (S)Verbs (V)Objects (O). Objects, as explained below, may be Indirect Objects (IO) or Direct Objects (D0). or as the absence or presence of Independent ClausesDependent ClausesPhrases Related Concepts: Parts of Speech When you hear a writer or editor talking about Sentence Parts, you might think...

    Published on Oct 22nd 2021

  19. 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

  20. Research Question

    What is a Research Question? The Research Question is the question the author is exploring. Related Concepts: Organizational Schema Research Question A research question is a guiding question that an author uses to guide his or her research while gathering information for a project. Research questions typically appear in an annotated bibliography or other summary of a writer’s research. Generally,...

    Published on Feb 10th 2020

  21. 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

  22. Sentence Patterns

    Sentence Patterns is a way of categorizing sentences in Standard English. The basic building block of a sentence in standard English, as illustrated by the article on Sentence Parts is "Subject + Predicate."The subject is the actor in the sentence. It is whatever is doing what the verb describes. The predicate includes the rest of the sentence—the verb or the...

    Published on Oct 20th 2021

  23. Sentence Structures

    What is Sentence Structure? Sentence Structure is a way of categorizing sentences by analyzing the types of clauses (independent and dependent) the writer, speaker, knowledge maker . . . uses in a sentence. From this perspective, the English sentence is perceived to have four major building blocks: Simple Sentence StructureCompound StructureComplex StructureCompound-Complex Structure Related Concepts: Sentence Type; Sentence Pattern Independent...

    Published on Apr 02nd 2012

  24. Sentence Types

    Sentences in Standard Written English may be categorized by their function—i.e., by what the sentence is doing. There are four major sentence types in English: DeclarativeImperativeInterrogativeExclamatory Technical Writers, Editors, Linguists may categorize sentences by analyzing what they are doing. In this sense, there are four options: declarative, imperative, interrogative, and exclamatory. 1. Declarative Declarative sentences literally declare something.   Ex: Today...

    Published on Oct 20th 2021

  25. 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

  26. Subjects, Verbs, & Objects

    Subject, Verbs, & Objects are the basic build blocks of a sentence in Standard Written English. Subject and Verb (SV) The subject is whom or what the sentence is all about. The subject performs the action of the verb. He or she (or it) is the actor, the protagonist. The predicate – says something significant (complete idea) about the subject. It must include a main verb....

    Published on Oct 22nd 2021

  27. 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

  28. 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

  29. 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