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Sentence Level Revision. March 21, 2011. Agenda. Quiz Review of last week Revising for clarity Incorporating elegance. Quiz. What is the difference between coherence and cohesion? Name two of the five principles for writing concisely Name two coordinating conjunctions.

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Presentation Transcript
  • Quiz
  • Review of last week
  • Revising for clarity
  • Incorporating elegance
  • What is the difference between coherence and cohesion?
  • Name two of the five principles for writing concisely
  • Name two coordinating conjunctions
coherence and cohesion
Coherence and Cohesion
  • Cohesion- how well the sentences fit together
  • Coherence- the big picture, what it all ads up to.
    • Focusing on one common theme in a paragraph, and a paper as a whole.
revising for concision
Revising for concision
  • The five principles of concision.
    • Delete words that mean little or nothing
    • Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words
    • Delete words that are implied by other words
    • Replace phrases with words
    • Change negatives to affirmatives
coordinating conjunctions
Coordinating conjunctions
  • for
  • and
  • nor
  • but
  • or
  • yet
  • so
deleting meaningless words
Deleting meaningless words
  • Common meaningless words from page 263:
    • Kind of, actually, particular, certain, various, virtually, individual, basically, generally, given, practically.
    • Basically, this article discusses various ways to solve the various problems associated with fossil fuels.
    • This article discusses ways to solve the problems associated with fossil fuels.
deleting meaningless words1
Deleting meaningless words
    • Meaningless modifiers: absolutely, awfully, definitely, fine, great, interesting, quite, really, very
  • This is definitely a reliable source because…
  • This is a reliable source because…
delete doubled words
Delete doubled words
  • Full and complete
  • True and accurate
  • Hopes and desires
  • Hope and trust
  • Each and every
  • Any and all
  • Basic and fundamental
  • Various and sundry
  • First and foremost
avoiding redundancy
Avoiding redundancy

Redundant modifiers

Redundant categories

  • Terrible tragedy
  • Basic fundamentals
  • Final outcome
  • Various different
  • Future plans
  • True facts
  • Each individual
  • Double Bi-lateral
  • Large in size
  • Unusual in nature
  • Round in shape
  • Of a strange type
  • At an early time
  • In a confused state
  • Area if mathematics
  • Words, phrases, and clauses that describe other elements
    • These “other elements” are called referents
  • Restrictive modifiers
    • Provides crucial information about referent
  • Nonrestrictive modifiers
    • Does not restrict the meaning of its referent
modifying clauses
Modifying clauses


The paintings at the new museum make up a great collection.


The local meat market, first opened in 1955, has provided quality service for over a decade.

  • Misplaced modifiers
    • You can only stop forest fires.
    • Only you can stop forest fires.
  • Squinting modifier
    • I realized immediately that I needed more things.
    • I immediately realized that I needed more things.
    • I realized that I needed more things immediately.
  • Dangling modifier
    • Being in a hurry, traffic had to be avoided.
    • Being in a hurry, I had to avoid traffic.
dangling modifiers
Dangling modifiers
  • Having been thrown in the air, the dog caught the stick.
  • I gave some food to my kitten and chopped it up.
  • One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I don't know.
change negatives to affirmatives
Change negatives to affirmatives
  • Not different → similar
  • Not the same → different
  • Not allow → Prevent
  • Not many → few
wordy phrases
Wordy Phrases



  • at all times
  • at that point in time
  • at the present time
  • due to the fact that
  • for the purpose of
  • in order to
  • in spite of the fact that
  • in the event that
  • always
  • then
  • now, today
  • because
  • for
  • to
  • although
  • if
use a word to replace a phrase
Use a word to replace a phrase
  • We must explain the reason for the delay in the meeting.
    • We must explain why the meeting is delayed.
avoid clich s and euphemisms
Avoid Clichés and Euphemisms
  • Clichés can be confusing and often make your writing dull.
  • Say what you want to say in plain English
  • Euphemisms are a polite way of saying something generally thought of as uncomfortable
  • Using euphemisms can make writing awkward and unethical
common clich s
Common Clichés
  • There's no place like home.
  • As Easy as Pie
  • Time is money


What it means

  • Lose your lunch
  • Knocked up
  • Armed intervention
  • Vomit
  • Pregnant
  • War
  • Arrange the sentence to emphasize certain information
  • Focus on the subject and verb
  • Choose an appropriate length
  • Use parallel structure
  • Use effective modifiers
principles of clarity
Principles of Clarity
  • Make main characters subjects.
    • Active vs Passive voice.
  • Make important actions verbs
    • Avoiding nominalizations
choosing between active and passive voice who is the main character
Choosing between active and passive voice (who is the main character?)
  • Musical legends such as Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, and Johnny Cash have all influenced Norah Jones.
    • Who are the subjects in this example?
choosing between active and passive voice a caveat
Choosing between active and passive voice (a caveat)
  • Norah Jones has been influenced by such musical legends as Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, and Johnny Cash.
    • Who is the subject in this example?
emphasize important information
Emphasize important information



They will come if you build them.

The structure could fail in harsh environments.

Call Natalie for further help or more information.

If you build them, they will come.

In harsh environments, the structure could fail.

For further help or more information, call Natalie.

make important actions verbs avoid wordy noun forms
Make important actions verbs/ avoid wordy noun forms
  • The firm is now engaged in an assessment of its procedures for the development of new products.
  • The firm is now assessing the procedures for developing new products.
avoiding expletives
Avoiding expletives
  • In general, do not use expletive constructions (it seems, it is, there is, there are, or similar phrases) unless you are introducing an idea to give it extra emphasis:
    • There is nothing in the article that makes it useful.
    • Nothing in the article makes it useful.
choose an appropriate length
Choose an appropriate length
  • Long sentences
    • Difficult to read
    • Can be divided
    • Can be turned into a list
  • Short sentences
    • Often repeats key words
    • Can be combined
elegance great way to synthesize
Elegance (great way to synthesize)
  • Balance and Symmetry
    • Coordination
      • Compound sentences
    • Uncoordinated Balance
  • Unbalanced Emphasis
    • Subordinating clauses
      • Complex sentences
the coordinating conjunctions
The coordinating conjunctions
  • And, or, nor, but, yet
  • These can be used to show balance in a sentence and between ideas.
  • Smith asserts that fossil fuels must be abandoned by the year 2020, and Joseph expands this to include the combustion engine.
coordinated balance
Coordinated Balance
  • Smith argues for the expansion of alternative fuels and the reduction of fossil fuels.
  • Smith argues for the expansion of alternative fuels and the reduction of fossil fuels, but Joseph argues for the expansion of fuel cells and the reduction of combustive fuels.
uncoordinated balance
Uncoordinated balance
  • Scientists whose research creates revolutionary views of the universe invariably confuse those of us who construct reality from our common-sense experience of it.
  • Coordinate with parallel structure
    • Elements should have the same grammatical form
  • See diagram of this sentence on p. 281
using subordinate clauses to show emphasis
Using subordinate clauses to show emphasis
  • Though Joseph has very good suggestions, Smith’s research has more practical solutions that can be implemented now.
  • Get into groups of 3 and do exercise 10.17 on p.290
BA 6
  • Description: To complete this assignment, use the guidelines in Chapter 10 of First-Year Writing and Chapters 40-43 of The St. Martin's Handbook to revise one substantial body paragraph (i.e. between 6 – 8 sentences in length) from your 1.1 draft. Consider matters of organization, language, word choice, and grammar and mechanics as you revise. You will need to make significant revisions to your original paragraph. Include both the original and the revised paragraphs. You will also need to include 1) a statement of your thesis, so that your instructor knows the context in which these paragraphs were written, and 2) a paragraph evaluating the revisions you have made and their impact on the audience, purpose, and meaning of your draft as a whole.
format of ba6
Format of BA6
  • Thesis
  • Original paragraph (6-8 sentences)
  • Revised paragraph (consider word choice, organization, grammar & mechanics, and the other things we’ve discussed over the last two weeks)
  • Paragraph evaluating the benefits of the changes
  • Take out your draft.
    • Look at sentences individually.
      • What is the important action?
        • Is it in verb or noun form?
      • Who or what is the important character?
        • Is it the subject of the sentence?
  • Are your sentences coherent and cohesive?
  • Where might you show balance with coordination?
  • Where should you show emphasis with subordination?
  • What might you make elegant?
  • Chapter 5 of the St. Martin’s handbook has good tips for transitions and paragraph organization.
  • Chapters 40-43 have additional help with sentence level revision.
participation for next week
Participation for next week
  • Read your grader commentary and write a paragraph or list containing the things they say you need to work on.
  • Bring two copies of this along with two copies of your most recent version of the draft.
  • This is required