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TCC Writing Center

TCC Writing Center: Glossary


Abstract: This is a short statement that describes a larger work. In the social sciences, this text usually includes the scope, the purpose of the study, and the results. The abstract should follow the same format as your essay (double-spaced, 12 point font) and is usually between 150-250 words in length. 

Analysis: An examination of elements and/or structure, separating into smaller parts, usually for interpretation

Annotated Bibliography: A bibliography usually includes the bibliographic information (the author, title, publisher). However, an annotated bibliography is different than a Works Cited page. An annotation in a bibliography is a summary and/or an evaluation of each of the sources.

Antecedent: The word the pronoun refers to; the word identifying the person or thing for which the pronoun substitutes 

Cause and Effect: Explains the causes (what made something happen) and the effects (the results of why something happened or did not happen

Classification: Divide a particular topic into subgroups with reasons for division. These subgroups should not overlap, therefore they must be distinct  

Collective Nouns: Words that represent a group and are usually considered singular (class, society, school, government)

Comma Splice: This is similar to a run-on sentence because it incorrectly joins two independent clauses A comma splice occurs when these two clauses are joined by only a comma.

Compare and Contrast: Describe the similarities and differences of a subject with the help of specific examples. 

               point by point: Address these similarities and differences by each given point

               subject by subject: explain each topic separately

Conjunctions: Words that function as connectors between words, phrases, clauses, or sentences. These help to combine sentences with similar ideas. 

Dependent Clause also known as a Subordinate Clause: A clause that does not stand alone. It depends on another clause to complete its meaning. 

Description: Create visual/sensory experience for readers, generally to assert a dominant impression. 

Direct Quote: The exact words of a text, someone else's exact words (these words must be surrounded by quotation marks and cited when used in an essay)

Exemplification: Provide specific examples to support thesis statement. Organize essay by example and/or specific characteristic 

Gerund: The 'ing' form of a verb functioning in the sentence as a noun.

Independent Clause: A clause that can stand alone and make a sentence; also known as the main clause

Indirect Quote: Not using someone else's exact words, but keeping the meaning the same (You do not use quotation marks when using indirect quotes)

Infinitive: The word 'to' plus the base form of a verb.

Modifier: An adverb or a noun that restricts or adds to the noun before it. (example: a strong family household)

Narrative: A story, usually written to make a point. The story is written with the help of descriptions and specific details to tell a purpose of the story (sometimes a lesson learned)

Paraphrase: When you put another source's ideas into your own words. The idea belongs to the author; therefore, you must give the author credit or you will be plagiarizing. It is helpful to begin a paraphrase with a reference to the source it came from. Be sure to include a parenthetical reference at the end of your paraphrase, which usually appears at the end of the paragraph.

Participle: The verb form used as an adjective. 

Plagiarism: The use of someone else's words or ideas without citing, or giving credit, to the original author. The act of plagiarism is a serious offense, and it can result in serious academic and professional consequences. 

Process: Explaining how to do something in detail, usually by elaborating on specific steps in choronological order

Pronoun: A word that replaces a noun in a sentence (I, you, me, he, she, it, we they)

Research: Prove a thesis statement with accurate and credible primary and secondary sources by using direct quotes, paraphrasing, and then always citing the material. 

Signal Phrase: A clause, or even a sentence, which leads into a quotation or statistic. It helps to establish context for the quotation, and usually includes the author's name and some justification for using him or her within your essay.

Summary: A summary is similar to a paraphrase. When summarizing, a writer puts published information in his or her own words. This will include important ideas without changing its meaning. A writer will not be analyzing the information or placing his or her opinion or point of view in this short text.

Synopsis:  A brief statement or summary giving a general view on a subject

Theme: A dominant/main idea that ties supporting components together

Thesis: This is usually the last sentence within an introduction and presents the focus of an essay. A thesis statement helps give direction, and gives readers an idea of what to expect throughout the essay. The thesis statement is not a question, announcement, or fact.

Topic Sentence: A sentence in a paragraph that expresses the main idea/main point of the whole paragraph


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