Thought Co

Lifelong Learning

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ThoughtCo is a premier reference site with a 20+ year focus on expert-created education content. We are proud to be one of the top-10 information sites, as measured by comScore, a leading Internet measurement company. In 2018, ThoughtCo received a Communicator Award in the General Education category and a Davey Award in the Education category.

At ThoughtCo, we believe that great inspiration begins with a question, and we help 13 million users answer theirs every month. Whether yours is about science and math, humanities and religion, or architecture and the arts, our in-depth articles, written by literature writers, Ph. D.s, and experienced instructors, are designed to give you the answers and information you need in a clear, easy-to-navigate format. So whether you are asking for a class, that next conversation, or just because you want to know, ThoughtCo can help.

Let your curiosity lead the way. ThoughtCo, Lifelong Learning.
Our Writers

Our hundreds of writers have produced over 40,000 articles and have advanced degrees in their subject areas. Many of our literature writers, for example, have degrees in English or Classic Literature. Our language writers are not just native speakers of the language they write about — they’re also experienced instructors of that language. Meet some of our writers:

Allen Grove, Ph.D.

Allen Grove, Ph.D., is a professor of English with 25 years of experience, and a college admissions expert who has been helping students with the college admissions process for over a decade. He has been writing for ThoughtCo and Education since 2008.

For five years, Dr. Grove directed Alfred University’s First-Year Experience Program to help students make the challenging transition from high school to college. He is the Chair of the English Department, regularly teaching first-year experience courses, first-year composition, and British Literature. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and has edited several British novels.

Dr. Grove earned a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from M.I.T. and, with some coursework at Harvard and Wellesley, a B.S. in Literature from M.I.T. He then earned his master’s and Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., has extensive experience as a science writer. She has covered chemistry for ThoughtCo and Education since 2001 and has taught chemistry, biology, astronomy, and physics at the high school, college, and graduate levels. She has worked abstracting and indexing diverse scientific literature for the Department of Energy.

Dr. Helmenstine has a bachelor of arts degree in physics and mathematics with a minor in chemistry from Hastings College in Nebraska and a doctorate of philosophy in biomedical sciences from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In her doctoral work, Dr. Helmenstine developed ultra-sensitive chemical detection and medical diagnostic tests.

Jocelly Meiners, Ph.D.

Jocelly Meiners, Ph.D., is a language educator who has taught Spanish and French at the college level since 2008. She has been writing for ThoughtCo since 2018.

Dr. Meiners is a lecturer in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches introductory, intermediate, and accelerated Spanish language and writing courses. She currently specializes in courses for Heritage Spanish learners and co-directs the Texas Consortium for Heritage Spanish. Dr. Meiners has also served as a reader for the Advanced Placement (AP) Spanish Language and Culture exam.

Dr. Meiners earned a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics and M.A. in French Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Robert Longley

Robert Longley has covered the U.S. government, citizenship, and American history for ThoughtCo and Education since 1997.

Robert is a retired urban planning professional with nearly 30 years of experience in the areas of land use planning, zoning code development and administration, and geographic information systems. He has worked as a liaison with federal agencies such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Census Bureau.

As liaison for two cities, Robert worked directly with the U.S. Census Bureau on the completion of 1980, 1990, and 2000 Decennial U.S. Censuses. In addition, he has worked as an election official in several local, state, and federal elections.

Editorial Principles

Every piece of content on ThoughtCo is conceived and created with these core principles in mind:

Education never ends: Knowledge enriches all of our lives. Whether you are a student preparing for an exam, a teacher designing a lesson plan, a parent helping a child, or simply a curious reader looking to learn something new, we are committed to creating content that informs, educates, and fascinates you.

Our readers come first: We publish content that is clear and jargon-free, making even the most complex concepts understandable for all readers. Every aspect of our site is designed to support this goal, from the illustrations we publish to the organization of our articles. 

Objective and reliable: Our content is rigorously researched and written by writers who are experts in their fields. Articles are accompanied by source lists to support the writer’s claims and enable readers to continue exploring the topic. 

ThoughtCo content is for informational purposes and is guided by and upholds the Society for Professional Journalists’ foundations of ethical journalism: being accurate and fair, minimizing harm, acting independently, and being accountable and transparent. We also uphold the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines on disclosures, where applicable.

Editorial Guidelines

ThoughtCo’s in-house editorial staff oversees every article on our site. ThoughtCo articles are meticulously fact-checked, and writers are required to support all statements and claims with reputable sources. Priority is given to academic journals and educational institutions. Source lists are provided at the bottom of our articles. 

ThoughtCo contributors do not give preferential treatment to any outside resource (company, publication, video, affiliate, website) based on their relationship with the person or company who authors or owns that resource—even if that person is himself or herself. In cases when an outside resource is objectively relevant to an article and useful to a reader, appropriate disclosures are made in accordance with FTC guidelines.

Links are added to content with the sole purpose of navigating you to relevant content throughout our site that may help further your knowledge about your topic of interest. We may link to outside web pages if they relate to a source used to create our content or if we think they provide additional information that may be of assistance. These links are chosen carefully and point to academic journals, reputable organizations and institutions, news outlets, and other trustworthy entities.

Our product review articles are created, written, published, and managed by an independent product review team. We receive an affiliate commission on some, but not all, of the products that we recommend if you decide to click through to the retailer’s site and make a purchase. Point-of-purchase links are clearly labeled as such. If you have questions, comments, or opinions you’d like to share with our product review team.

Every article you see has several people behind it working to make sure that it is accurate, understandable, helpful, and reflective of our principles and editorial guidelines.

ThoughtCo staff members who work on content creation do not work on the advertising team. All staffers are responsible for disclosing any potential conflicts of interest.

Quality Standards

Our editors review and approve all article ideas independently. Each new article is rigorously reviewed and edited by our editorial team before it is published on our site. All visuals, tools, and videos are subject to the same approval process.

Update Methodology 

The editorial team also works to improve our library to ensure that it remains comprehensive and best in class. They evaluate existing content as a matter of routine to flag any articles that contain information that is known to be or is likely to be out of date. Among other factors, articles are assessed to ensure that a) they contain the latest and most accurate information and facts; b) statistics, if present, are up-to-date; c) they answer any new questions a reader may have as a result of changing times or expectations. If necessary, articles are re-edited. If an article has been modified, the date of the most recent update is provided at the top of the page.


If you notice something in one of our articles that needs to be corrected, please send us an email at We review all reader feedback and make updates to our content as needed.

Diversity & Inclusion

ThoughtCo strives to provide all readers with resources for lifelong learning. In June 2020, we made a pledge to diversify our contributor team, remediate our content for issues of representation and bias, and expand our library in topic areas where we can facilitate respectful conversations around race, including education, literature, history, and classroom resources. We are committed to being fully transparent about our work on these initiatives and will regularly update our pledge with information about our progress.

About Dotdash

ThoughtCo is part of the Dotdash publishing family.

Dotdash’s vibrant brands help over 100 million users each month find answers, solve problems, and get inspired. Dotdash is among the largest and fastest-growing publishers online and has won over 80 awards in the last year alone, including Digiday’s 2020 Publisher of the Year. Dotdash brands include Verywell, Investopedia, The Balance, The Spruce, Simply Recipes, Serious Eats, Byrdie, Brides, MyDomaine, Lifewire, TripSavvy,, Treehugger, and ThoughtCo.

Here is an overview of our properties:

Very well: The Verywell family of brands, including Verywell Health, Verywell Fit, Verywell Family, and Verywell Mind, take a human approach to health and wellness content and are a welcome alternative to hyper-clinical health sites. Over 38 million people use Verywell sites each month to feel better and be healthier.

Investopedia: Investopedia helps investors understand financial concepts, improve investing skills, and learn how to manage their money. Investopedia reaches over 20 million people each month.

The Balance: The Balance family of brands, including The Balance, The Balance Careers, and The Balance Small Business, deliver clear, practical, and straightforward personal financial advice to over 17 million people each month.

The Spruce: The Spruce family of brands, including The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, The Spruce Pets, and The Spruce Crafts combine inspiration with how-to advice to help users create homes they love. Collectively, The Spruce sites reach nearly 40 million people each month.

Simply Recipes: Simply Recipes, one of the original food blogs, helps 9.7 million people each month get easy, delicious food on the table for themselves and their families.

Serious Eats: Serious Eats delivers trustworthy recipes, rigorously tested techniques, and food science to over 4.4 million hungry readers each month. 

Byrdie: Byrdie is dedicated to all things beauty, inside and out. From hair and makeup to health and wellness, Byrdie takes a fresh, no-nonsense approach to feeling and looking your best. Byrdie reaches 10.5 million people each month.

Brides: Brides inspire and guide 4.6 million monthly users as they make decisions from pre-engagement through the honeymoon. Brides is committed to bringing you an inclusive look at the world of weddings, with every type of couple, every type of wedding, and every type of celebration.

MyDomaine: MyDomaine makes an aspirational life achievable—and affordable—with curated home-design inspiration, quick and fresh recipes, and healthy relationship advice that awaken a life well lived. MyDomaine reaches nearly two million people each month.

Lifewire: Lifewire provides helpful, actionable tech tips, advice, and answers, without confusing jargon. Lifewire helps 5.7 million people each month get the most out of their technology.

TripSavvy: TripSavvy delivers curated expert advice for family and vacation travelers. We help 3.8 million people each month have the best travel experiences. is dedicated to good drinking and great living. We inspire, entertain and educate 3.7 million people each month interested in what happens in the glass and out of it.

Treehugger: Treehugger is the only modern sustainability site that offers advice, clarity, and inspiration for both the eco-savvy and the green-living novice. With 2.6 million monthly users, Treehugger is one of the world’s largest information sites dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream.

ThoughtCo: ThoughtCo is one of the largest and most comprehensive learning, information, and education sites online. ThoughtCo helps 6.4 million people a month become lifelong learners.