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Sentence Help. Developed from Purdue’s OWL. Sentence Fluency. Readers want to follow the shape of each sentence from beginning to end, trying to understand the single complete thought the writer is expressing .

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sentence help

Sentence Help

Developed from Purdue’s OWL

sentence fluency
Sentence Fluency
  • Readers want to follow the shape of each sentence from beginning to end, trying to understand the single complete thought the writer is expressing.
  • Your writing needs to flow smoothly from word to word, phrase to phrase, and sentence to sentence.
  • The term “sentence fluency” refers to the way individual words and phrases sound together within a sentence, and how groups of sentences sound when read one after the other.
the simple sentence
The Simple Sentence
  • The most basic type of sentence is the simple sentence, which contains only one clause. A simple sentence can be as short as one word:
    • Jump!
  • Usually, however, the sentence has a subject as well as a predicate (object)and both the subject and the predicate may have modifiers. All of the following are simple sentences, because each contains only one clause:
    • Melt!
    • Ice melts.
    • The ice melts quickly.
    • The ice on the river melts quickly under the warm March sun.
    • Lying exposed without its blanket of snow, the ice on the river melts quickly under the warm March sun.
compound sentence
Compound Sentence
  • A compound sentence consists of two or more independent clauses (or simple sentences) joined by co-ordinatingconjunctions like "and," "but," and "or":
    • Simple: China is a rich country.
    • Simple: Still, it has many poor people.
    • Compound: China is a rich country, but still it has many poor people.
  • A compound sentence is most effective when you use it to create a sense of balance or contrast between two (or more) equally-important pieces of information:
    • New York has better clubs, but Los Angeles has better restaurants.
the complex sentence
The Complex Sentence
  • A complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. Unlike a compound sentence, however, a complex sentence contains clauses which are not equal. Consider the following examples:
    • Simple: My friend invited me to a party. I do not want to go.
    • Compound: My friend invited me to a party, but I do not want to go.
    • Complex: Although my friend invited me to a party, I do not want to go.
complex sentences part 2
Complex Sentences (part 2)
  • Simple: My friend invited me to a party. I do not want to go.
  • Compound:My friend invited me to a party, but I do not want to go.
  • Complex:Although my friend invited me to a party, I do not want to go.
  • In the first example, there are two separate simple sentences: "My friend invited me to a party" and "I do not want to go."
  • The second example joins them together into a single sentence with the co-ordinating conjunction "but," but both parts could still stand as independent sentences -- they are entirely equal, and the reader cannot tell which is most important.
  • In the third example, however, the sentence has changed quite a bit: the first clause, "Although my friend invited me to a party," has become incomplete, or a dependent clause.
subordinate clauses
Subordinate Clauses
  • Avoid interrupting the main clause with a subordinate clause if the interruption will cause confusion.
  • clear (subordinate clause at the end):
    • Industrial spying is increasing rapidly because of the growing use of computers to store and process corporate information.
  • clear (subordinate clause at the beginning):
    • Because of the growing use of computers to store and process corporate information, industrial spying is increasing rapidly.
parallelism a good thing
Parallelism: A Good Thing
  • When you have a series of words, phrases, or clauses, put them in parallel form (similar grammatical construction) so that the reader can identify the linking relationship more easily and clearly.
  • Things to make sure are parallel: tenses (time), plural (number), objects (things)
parallelism good
Parallelism: Good
  • clear (parallel):
    • In Florida, where the threat of hurricanes is an annual event, we learned that it is important (1) to become aware of the warning signs, (2) to know what precautions to take, and (3) to decide when to seek shelter.
  • not as clear (not parallel):
    • In Florida, where the threat of hurricanes is an annual event, we learned that it is important (1) to become aware of the warning signs. (2) There are precautions to take, and (3) deciding when to take shelter is important.
parallel structure
Parallel Structure
  • With the -ing form (gerund) of verbs:
    • Parallel: Mary likes hiking, swimming, and bicycling.
  • With infinitive verb phrases:
    • Parallel: Mary likes to hike, to swim, and to ride a bicycle.

OR

    • Mary likes to hike, swim, and ride a bicycle.

Note: Use "to" before all the verbs in a sentence or only before the first one—don’t mix.

parallel structure clauses
Parallel Structure Clauses
  • Clause:
    • group of words containing S + V which forms part of a sentence
  • A parallel structure that begins with clauses must continue with clauses.
    • The coach told the players that they should geta lot of sleep, not eattoo much, and dosome warm-up exercises before the game.
parallel structure fixes
Parallel Structure Fixes

Which sentences show parallel structure?

  • Dino does not like to sing, dance, or acting.
  • Dino does not like singing, dancing, or acting.
  • The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly.
  • The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner.
  • Aldus was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study, completed his lab problems carelessly, and lacked motivation.
  • Aldus was a poor student because he waited until the last minute to study, was always completing his lab problems carelessly, and his motivation was low.
modifiers
Modifiers
  • Modifier
    • Describes, clarifies, or gives more detail about other words in a sentence
    • Can be a word or group of words (phrase)
  • Misplaced modifier
    • A modifier in the wrong place in a sentence
    • Makes sentences awkward, confusing, or (unintentionally) humorous
misplaced modifiers
Misplaced Modifiers
  • Do these sentences have different meanings? Why?
    • The dog under the tree bit Carrie.
      • The dog under the tree bit Carrie.
    • The dog bit Carrie under the tree.
      • The dog bit Carrie under the tree.
misplaced modifiers1
Misplaced Modifiers
  • How can you correct this sentence?
    • Buffy called her adorable kitten opening the can of food and filled the bowl.
      • Opening the can of food, Buffy called her adorable kitten and then filled the bowl.
      • Process:
        • What is the modifier?
        • What word does it describe, clarify, or give more detail about?
        • Where should the modifier be placed?
          • Modifiers go next to the word or phrase they modify.
misplaced modifiers2
Misplaced Modifiers
  • How can you correct this sentence?
    • Portia rushed to the store loaded with cash to buy Guy’s birthday present.
      • Portia, loaded with cash, rushed to the store to buy Guy’s birthday present.
      • Process:
        • What is the modifier?
        • What word does it describe, clarify, or give more detail about?
        • Where should the modifier be placed?
          • Modifiers go next to the word or phrase they modify.
modifiers review
Modifiers Review
  • Review
    • Misplaced Modifier:
      • modifier in the wrong place in a sentence
    • Process to correct misplaced modifiers:
      • What is the modifier?
      • What word does it describe, clarify, or give more detail about?
      • Where should the modifier be placed?
        • Modifiers go next to the word or phrase they modify.
dangling modifiers
Dangling Modifiers
  • Dangling Modifier:
    • does not sensibly modify anything in its sentence
      • modifier is present, but it has nothing to modify
    • often occur at the beginning or end of a sentence
dangling modifier pt 2
Dangling Modifier pt 2
  • What is the modifier modifying?
    • Having finished dinner, the rugby match was turned on.
      • Remember, modifiers go next to the words or phrases they modify.
dangling modifier fixes
Dangling Modifier Fixes
  • 3 ways to fix dangling modifiers:
    • Name the appropriate doer of the action as the subject of the main clause
      • Having finished dinner, Jude turned on the rugby match.
    • Place the subject of the action within the dangling modifier:
      • After Jude finished dinner, he turned on the rugby match.
    • Combine the phrase and clause.
      • Jude turned on the rugby match after finishing dinner.
dangling modifiers continued
Dangling Modifiers continued
  • How might you correct the following sentence?
    • Playing solitaire on the computer for three hours, Michael’s paper was not finished.
      • Playing solitaire on the computer for three hours, Michael did not complete his paper.
      • Because Michael played solitaire on the computer for three hours, he did not complete his paper.
      • Michael did not complete his paper because he played solitaire on the computer for three hours.
      • Process:
        • Do you need to insert doer?
        • Where should the modifier be placed?
        • Modifiers go next to the word or phrase they modify
dangling modifier questions
Dangling Modifier questions
  • How might you revise the following sentences?
    • To work as a loan officer, an education in financial planning is required.
      • To work as a loan officer, one needs an education in financial planning.
    • To improve her grade, the test was completed again.
      • She repeated the test to improve her grade.
    • After reading the original study, the article remains unconvincing.
      • After reading the original study, I find the article unconvincing.
modifier review
Modifier Review
  • Review
    • Dangling modifier:
      • modifier is present, but it has nothing to modify
      • often occur at the beginning or end of a sentence
    • Process to correct dangling modifiers:
      • Name the appropriate or logical doer of the action as the subject of the main clause
      • Place the subject of the action within the dangling modifier:
      • Combine the phrase and clause.
random student examples
Random Student Examples
  • Even though, people can judge Asian people they are the first one that graduate in high rate from high school and college. Also are extremely intelligent on math.
  • Why does Asian Americans strive hard to succeed in life?
  • Yang have a mind of his own, he did not want to be a follower he wanted to lead his own life by his own rules.
  • In the essay “Paper Tigers” narrated by Wesley Yang the narrator discussed how his race is being overlooked.