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Can you please give me suggestions about how to improve this TV sitcom...

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rainbow224 | Student, Grade 11

Posted November 10, 2012 at 10:29 AM via web

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Can you please give me suggestions about how to improve this TV sitcom review?

Introduction: 

From break ups to dealing with emotional voids, 3rd Rock from the Sun depicts an outlook... [removed by Staff to avoid Internet plagiarism].

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:48 PM (Answer #1)

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First of all, you seem to be combining a review with an analysis. A review is 400-600 words that explains why someone should or should not see a film or a show. It includes identifying the film/show; a summary of the story; describing actors/acting, directing and one technical element; your opinion about whether or not it is worth spending money/time on. An analysis is an in-depth examination of the elements and techniques, including theme, social commentary, and directorial vision, that comprise the film/show.

Whichever one you mean to be writing, your Introduction does a good job identifying the program and episode (show titles are written in italics; episode titles are placed in quotation marks). Some sentences have clumsy wording though, for example, this one:

From break ups to dealing with emotional voids, 3rd Rock from the Sun depicts an outlook regarding society’s views and relationship breakdowns which are made evident in the episode Moby Dick.

Your difficulty seems to lie here, "depicts an outlook regarding," but let's look more closely. First, we'll define these words: depict (verb): to show as with drawing, to delineate, to portray; outlook (noun): attitude, view; regarding (preposition): about, concerning.

  • Paraphrase: 3rd Rock from the Sun shows an attitude about society’s views .... So these words are correctly used.

Looking more closely, you have two problems with parallel structure (writing related portions in the same form). [1] The first one is here (plus a spelling error; use your dictionary often): "From break ups to dealing with emotional voids." To change this to parallelism, it should be: From break-ups to emotional voids. [2] The second one is here: "society’s views and relationship breakdowns." To change this, it should be: society’s views and relationships.

Let's paraphrase your sentence to see where else it goes astray.

  • From break-ups to emotional voids, the program shows an attitude about society’s opinions and relationships which are dramatized in the episode "Moby Dick."

You have noun number / verb number disagreement: an outlook / an attitude is made evident; outlooks/attitudes are made evident. You have a poor vocabulary choice in "made evident." To avoid redundancy this should be changed to "evident" or "dramatized."

In the clause "which are made evident in the episode 'Moby Dick,'" you've turned a restrictive clause (defining, necessary, noun modifying clause) into a non-restrictive clause (non-essential, extra clause) by the incorrect use of "which." Which-clauses must be set off by commas, marking them as extra, nonessential information. To correct this and change it to a restrictive clause, change "which" to "that"; the clause will then correctly modify "outlook/attitude": that is evident in the episode "Moby Dick."      

My suggestion for this sentence is this rewrite:

  • From break-ups to emotional voids, 3rd Rock from the Sun depicts an outlook regarding society’s views and relationships that is dramatized in the episode "Moby Dick."

Now, you can follow this same process for your other sentences to see where they go astray.

  • Define words to insure correct usage.
  • Check for parallel structure (related parts must match in form).
  • Paraphrase what you mean to say in the simplest terms.
  • Check noun/verb agreement.
  • Check vocabulary choices and redundancy (undesirable repetition).
  • Check restrictive non-restrictive clauses.

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