Chapter 24

Chapter 24

Chapter 24 Working with Sentences Chapter overview Looks at strategies for composing sentences, and presents editing techniques Examines nonsexist and nondiscriminatory language Provides strategies for proofreading sentences by looking at 10 common problems, as well 10 problems for ESL writers Concludes by looking at logical fallacies

Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 2 Options for composing sentences Coordination links two or more clauses to show their equal weight in a sentence. Subordination links clauses in ways that show that some clauses modify, qualify, or comment on the main clause. See pages 650-652 for examples. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

24 | 3 Modification Another way to compose more interesting sentences is to modify, or add details, to some of the words. Modifiers are used with nouns, adverbs, verbs, phrases, and clauses. See the examples on page 652-653. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

24 | 4 Active and passive voice Active or passive voice refers to the way sentences are written. Joe hit the ball (active). The ball was hit by Joe (passive). The active voice is the best choice under most circumstances; however, scientific writing is often done in the passive voice. See pages 654-655 for more details. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

24 | 5 Diction and tone Diction refers to word choices made by the writer. These choices give writing its tone of voice: formal, informal or something in between. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 6 Informal to formal

Informal: The new Harry Potter movie is just totally awesome. (Okay to write in an e-mail to a friend). Formal: The recently released Harry Potter movie has done well in its opening weeks, and the general consensus of reviewers is that it has a strong plot and solid casting. (More appropriate for an essay). Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 7 Jargon

Jargon refers to the special terminology used by people in the same profession or group. Think of the terms that the following people might use: police officers, computer geeks, nurses, or teachers. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 8 Jargon, cont. The text comments that to speak and write in that vernacular is a sign of membership (689).

However, if your audience is not part of that group, your jargon will become barriers to their understanding your document. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 9 Two types of clauses A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and an object. There are two types of clauses. An independent clause stands alone; it

expresses a complete idea. A dependent clause must be combined with an independent clause. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 10 Nominalization Academic and professional jargon results from a number of strategies, including nominalization. This happens when new words are created by

adding tion, -ity, -ness, -ance, -ment, and ism to existing words. Unfortunately, too much of this packed into one sentence can turn a simple idea into one that is almost unreadable. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 11 Guidelines for editing sentences Editing a document by looking at individual sentences is an important part of the writing process. Three main guidelines to edit sentences include:

Clarity (clearness) Emphasis Variety Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 12 Clarity Refers to clearness of a sentence. Problems that interfere with clarity include: Confusing sentence structure Wordiness

Vagueness See pages 659-661 for examples and strategies for correcting them. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 13 Emphasis Direct the readers to the most important part of a sentence, which is usually the beginning and ending. To do so, look at: Word order

Parallelism and repetition Climatic order (saving the best for last) See pages 661-663 for examples and details. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 14 Variety Variety refers to having sentences that differ in their length and structure; otherwise, all of the sentences will start to sound alike, and can become monotonous.

See the text on pages 663-664 for an explanation of when shorter, middle length, and longer sentences are most effective. Two strategies: Vary sentence length, and add elements of surprise. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 15 Nonsexist language See the Ethics box, pages 667-668. certain words and phrases convey attitudes about racial, ethnic, and other social

groups (667). Writers have a responsibility to be aware of how their language choices reflect stereotypes and offend people. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 16 Three guidelines Replace masculine nouns with more inclusive words. Replace masculine pronouns when referring

to people in general. Use nongendered terms when discussing occupations and social roles. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 17 Fragments, Comma Splices, and Fused Sentences Sentence fragments do not express a complete idea. Comma splices join two complete sentences

using a comma. Fused sentences join two sentences but do not use a comma. See pages 665-666 and 669-670 for examples, as well as remedies. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 18 Agreement and verb shift Subject-verb agreement means that singular verbs go with singular subjects. Verb shift refers to changes in tense that are

not consistent or logical. See pages 670-671. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 19 Pronoun agreement Pronouns need to agree with their antecedents: Singular antecedents take singular pronouns. An antecedent is the word to which the pronoun refers. Jane always drinks milk with her meals; Jane is the antecedent for the

pronoun her. See page 670 for more details, including how to treat collective nouns. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 20 Pronoun reference, modifiers Pronoun reference: readers should be able to connect the pronoun with its antecedent. Modifiers can be problematic in three ways: Dangling modifiers use the ing ending, but their placement in the sentence is confusing.

Misplaced modifiers have a word or phrase that seems to be in the wrong place Disruptive modifiers separate the subject and verb. See pages 673-674 for more details. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 21 Mixed construction, faulty predication and parallelism Mixed construction refers to sentences that seem to shift sentence structure. Faulty predication happens when the second

part of a sentence seems to be on a different topic than the first part of the sentence. Parallelism refers to putting items in a list in the same structure. See pages 674-676 for more details. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 22 Ten common problems The text next discusses the 10 most common problems found with sentences. This section is one to which you will want to

refer as you look at your own papers, as well as those of your peers, because it gives examples and explanations of the errors, as well as ways to edit or fix them. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 23 Ten problems for ESL writers The next section of the chapter covers the 10 most common errors for ESL writers. ESL refers to English as a Second

Language. These writers share some struggles, which are not so much about how sentences are put together as they are about how to use specific types of words such as articles. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 24 Nouns, pronouns and articles Subject/pronoun repetition: Refers to repeating the subject, which is not done in English. Articles (a, an, the): Refers to knowing when

to use them. Singular and plural proper nouns: A proper noun is the capitalized name of a person, place, group, or thing. Singular nouns rarely use an article, but plural nouns often do. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 25 Nouns, pronouns and articles, cont. Singular- and plural-count noun: These terms refer to words for people and things that can be counted. Use a or an before a singularcount noun when it refers to something in

general. Use the when referring to something specifically. Noncount nouns name things that cant be counted and take no article or the. See pages 708-709 for more details. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 26 This, that, these, and those This, that, these and those: These words are sometimes called demonstrative adjectives or pronouns because they point at something

specific. This and that are singular; these and those are plural. Make sure they agree in number with the nouns they modify. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 27 Adjective form and sequence Adjective form: Adjectives never take a plural form to agree with nouns they modify. Adjective sequence: When using more than

one adjective to modify a noun, there are some guidelines to follow. See pages 709-710 for guidelines and examples. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 28 Prepositions at, on, and in

These prepositions indicate time and location. Time: use at for a specific time and on for days and dates. Use in for months, seasons, and times during the day. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 29 Prepositions at, on, and in, cont. Use at for specific addresses, named

locations, general locations, or locations for a specific activity. Use on for names of streets, modes of transportation, floors of buildings, pages, and tracts of land. Use in for the names of geographical areas of land (cities, states, countries, continents). Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 30 Participles Use the present (-ing) form to describe when

someone or something produces a result. Use the past (-ed) form to describe how someone or something experiences such results. See pages 711-712 for more details. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 31 Auxiliary verbs In the present tense, third person s endings are needed on verbs. Auxiliary verbs: do, does, did; and have,

has had. Use the base form of the main verb with do, does, and did. Use the past participle (-ed) form for have, has, and had. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 32 Conditional clauses Conditional (if) clauses allow a write to state a condition and then describe the result. See pages 682-683 for details on the proper tense

to use to convey the correct result. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 33 Idiomatic two- and three-word verbs Idiomatic two- and three-word verbs: Refer to verbs that take on a preposition or adverb, and change their meaning. Look into the means to investigate; see page 683 for more examples.

Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 34 Logical fallacies A flaw in reasoning that weakens the legitimacy of a writers argument (683). They are to be avoided; however, we see them used sometimes either intentionally or unintentionally in political campaigns as well as advertising. Here is a list of nine types of logical fallacies.

Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 35 Faulty cause and effect, false analogy Faulty cause-and-effect relationship: Mistakes a sequence of events for a causal relationship. False analogy: Makes the assumption that because things resemble each other in some ways, conclusions about one can be applied to the other.

Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 36 Slippery slope Slippery slope: Predicts a chain of events that is seen as unavoidable and catastrophic, so if we do X, Y will happen, and we will be doomed! Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 37

Red herring, ad populum and more Red herring: Something thrown into an argument to distract from the real issue. Ad populum: Refers to arguments that address bias and prejudice, not reasoning. Ad hominem: Refers to personal attacks on an opponent rather than rational debate on issues. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 38

Bandwagon, begging the question, and either/or Bandwagon appeal: Everyone else is doing it (used extensively in advertising) Begging the question: Refers to assuming something that needs to be proven. Either/or: Reasoning that polarizes people and issues with the idea that there are really only two options. Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 39

Student Companion Website Go to the student side of the Web site for exercises, chapter overviews, and links to writing resources for this chapter: http://college.hmco.com/pic/trimbur4e Copyright Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 24 | 40

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