Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: Click on questions for the answers.

Will you proofread my paper?

Hortense Parrish Writing Center staff members do not proofread papers nor do line-by-line editing; we do, however, discuss papers with you to help you improve as a writer.  Proofreading implies editing for perfection.

Can I leave my (or a friend's) paper up here for you to look at?

Staff members work only WITH students who bring their own papers to the center.  However, if a student has a particular question about writing and cannot come to the center, he or she can submit that question to

Will you write on my paper?

In order for full ownership of the paper to stay with the student, staff members typically do not mark on a student's paper.

I don't understand this reading passage, but I'm supposed to write about it.  What does it mean?

If the Writing Center staff member is able to establish that the reading passage is not part of an examination and that the student has tried to discern the passage, then the staff member will help guide the student to an interpretation by asking questions.

What should my thesis statement be?

Staff members help students during all phases of the writing process, from brainstorming to the final draft.  Because the thesis statement is a student's direct assertion, it is up to the student to form that assertion; however, the center assistants are here to help a student limit the selected topic and develop a workable thesis statement.

Another tutor has looked at my paper, but I don't want to make any changes until I get a second opinion.  Will you look at it?

Because the staff members focus on tutoring writing, twenty minutes is usually enough time to cover two or three major problem areas; therefore, a student should apply what has been learned in the session  before bringing the paper back to the center to be looked at again.

I brought my paper up here. Why didn't I get an A?

Because tutoring sessions are approximately twenty minutes in length, Writing Center staff members focus on recurring problems with content and organization. Writing Center staff members do not assign grades nor guarantee that students will leave with a perfect paper. The Writing Center is not a "quick fix" for a student's writing, but if students use their time in the Writing Center wisely, they can improve their writing.

Will you count up my hours for me?

Writing Center staff members do not count the required one-hour per week visits for individual English 100 and 110 students; although the Writing Center visit record forms are filed daily, it is the student's (and the instructor's) responsibility to keep track of hours.

I don't go to UTM, but can you help me with my writing/ speaking?

The Writing Center staff works primarily with UT Martin students, faculty, and staff. However, we encourage any interested person to come to the center for a visit and/or browse our website.

Can I send a question to OWL from my personal e-mail account?

Staff members will first answer questions sent from UT Martin accounts.


Sep. 04

Sentence Sense: Fragments, Comma Splices, and Run-ons
12:15 PM

Sep. 09

Developing Thesis Statements
12:15 PM

Sep. 11

Developing Thesis Statements
12:15 PM

View dates >


What should you know?

Things to Know Before Conferring with a Writing Center Consultant

Learn More >