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English for Academic Study Dr. Shakir Al-Busaltan LECTURE 2: WRITING SENTENCES
2.1 Basic syntax The basic pattern of the English sentence structure is Subject – Verb – Object He’s painting a lion. This simple sentence can be expanded to form more complex sentences, adding adjectives, adverbs or relative clauses, for example Adjectives are generally placed before nouns. Adverbs of manner ( quickly, slowly ), place ( here, there, away ), and time ( today, last week, next year ) are placed at the end of the sentence, in this order: LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES
He’s painting a huge lion. He’s painting a lion slowly in his studio at the moment. He’s painting a lion which is running in the jungle. Adverbs never separate the verb and its complement: I love Shakespeare’s poetry very much. I studied the chapter very carefully.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 1: Put the words in the correct order to form a sentence. 1. a newspaper / reads / every day / John John reads a newspaper every day. 2. meat / don’t like / very much / I I don’t like meat very much. 3. such / beautiful / I / seen / have / never / a / film I have never seen such a beautiful film. 4. slowly / Jane / the letter / read Jane read the letter slowly/Jane slowly read the letter. 5. on / the shelf / he / the book / put He put the book on the shelf. 6. a lot of / homework / yesterday / did / I I did a lot of homework yesterday. 7. at the concert / met / some / friends / we We met some friends at the concert. 8. speak / don’t / very well / English / they They don’t speak English very well. 9. 1996 / we / since / have / worked / here We have worked here since 1996. 10. a present / her / I / sent I sent her a present.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES 2.2 Emphatic structures In written English, emphasis is placed on one element of the sentence by shifting the element to be stressed to the beginning or to the end of the sentence. Sometimes the Subject – Verb pattern remains the same: I’m working today. Today I’m working, but tomorrow I’m on holiday. She ran into the room: Into the room she ran. Sometimes the Subject – Verb pattern is inverted: He had never seen such a lovely painting. Never had he seen such a lovely painting. Different structures can be used to place focus on one element of the sentence: Paul won the prize. The prize was won by Paul. It was Paul who won the prize.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES Participial phrases can create more variety in a sentence. Present Participle: He stood outside the cathedral. He admired the statues. Standing outside the cathedral, he admired the statues. Past participle: The collection is housed in the local museum. The collection is priceless. Housed in the local museum, the collection is priceless.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 2: Complete each of the following sentences in such a way that it has the same meaning as the original sentence. 1.Christopher Wren designed this church. This church was designed by Christopher Wren. 2. If the present demographic trend should persist, the population will fall by 20 million. Should the present demographic trend persist, the population will fall by 20 million. 3. Galileo Galilei laid the bases of the modern science of mechanics. It was Galileo Galilei who laid the bases of the modern science of mechanics. 4. The film’s strengths are greater than its weaknesses. Greater are the film’s strengths than its weaknesses. 5. The National Trust, which was founded in 1895, is the largest independent conservation charity. Founded in 1895, the National Trust is the largest independent conservation charity.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES 6. The Tower, a famous landmark, can be seen for many miles. A famous landmark, the Tower can be seen for many miles. 7. I have never read such a good book. Never have I read such a good book. 8. The sculpture is again on show, as it has recently been restored. Having been recently restored, the sculpture is again on show 9. The radio broadcast an interesting play yesterday. An interesting play was broadcast by the radio yesterday. 10. The theory is extremely fascinating. What is extremely fascinating is the theory.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES Negative sentences are formed by adding not to the auxiliary verb : She isn’t a model. In formal English, the contracted form is generally not used: Students must not arrive late. In English, negative sentences usually contain only one negative element. In formal English, the verb may remain positive and another negative element is added to the sentence: I haven’t any time for you now. I have no time for you now. I can’t see anyone in the room. There is no-one in the room.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 3: Re-write the negative sentences in a more formal way. 1.I don’t know anybody. I know nobody. 2. He didn’t go anywhere. He went nowhere. 3. We haven’t done anything wrong. We have done nothing wrong. 4. Some people don’t have any respect. Some people have no respect. 5. They don’t have any money left. They have no money left.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 3: Re-write the negative sentences in a more formal way. 6. Firm evidence of prehistoric dwellings has not been found. No firm evidence of prehistoric dwellings has been found. 7. They haven’t said anything new about the subject. They have said nothing new about the subject. 8. We won’t be able to afford to live there any longer. We will be able to afford to live there no longer. 9. This book by the author is not any better than the last one he wrote. This book by the author is no better than the last one he wrote. 10. The use of the machine doesn’t require any prior technical knowledge. The use of the machine requires no prior technical knowledge.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES Direct questions are formed with the use of an auxiliary verb: Is he here? Can I come in? Does he like Matisse? Did they study in London? Wh- interrogative words are also used for content questions: Where is the university? Who did he draw? Where has the Mona Lisa been housed? Indirect questions retain the Subject – Verb pattern: “What did you study?” He asked me what I studied. “Can we help you?” They asked us whether we could help them.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 4 EXERCISE 4 ( Direct question forms) Complete the spaces with an appropriate question. Biography of Ian McKewan Ian McEwan was born on 21 June in 1948 in Aldershot, Hampshire, England. ( Where?__________ ) He spent much of his childhood in the Far East, Germany and North Africa where his father, an officer in the army, was posted. ( How long?__________ ) He returned to England and read English at Sussex University. ( What?__________ ) After graduating, he became the first student on the MA Creative Writing course established at the University of East Anglia by Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson. ( Who?___________ ) His first novel, The Cement Garden (1978), ( When?__________ )is the story of four orphaned children living alone after the death of both parents. ( What?__________ ) It was followed by The Comfort of Strangers (1981), set in Venice, a tale of fantasy, violence and obsession. His novels have won several awards, including the Whitbread Novel Award, the Booker Prize for Fiction, W. H. Smith Literary Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. ( What?____________ ) In addition to his prose fiction, Ian McEwan has written plays for television and film screenplays, including The Ploughman’s Lunch (1985), an adaptation of Timothy Mo’s novel Sour Sweet (1988) and an adaptation of his own novel, The Innocent (1993). ( Has?____________ ) He also wrote the libretto to Michael Berkeley’s music for the oratorio Or Shall We Die? and is the author of a children’s book, The Daydreamer (1994). Film adaptations of his own novels include First Love, Last Rites (1997), The Cement Garden (1993) and The Comfort of Strangers (1991), for which Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay, ( Who?___________ ) and Atonement (2007). Ian McEwan lives in London. His latest novel is On Chesil Beach (2007), ( What?___________ ) shortlisted for the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES Where was Ian McKewan born? How long did he live abroad? What did he study at University?; Who taught creative writing at the University of East Anglia? When did he write his first novel?; What is the novel about? What awards has he won? Has he written anything else? Who wrote the screenplay for The Comfort of Strangers ? What is the title of his latest novel?
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 5: ( Indirect question forms) Report the following questions. 1.“What is the time?”, Anne asked. Anne asked what the time was. 2. “Why did you run out of the room so suddenly?”, James asked. James asked why I had run out of the room so suddenly. 3. “Are we going to visit the castle?”, asked the student. The student asked if they were going to visit the castle. 4. “Did you see the new art exhibition yesterday?”, Clare asked. Clare asked if I had seen the new art exhibition the day before. 5. “What do you think of our new neighbours?”, my husband asked. My husband asked what I thought of our new neighbours.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 5: ( Indirect question forms) Report the following questions. 6. “Would you do it if you could?”, she asked. She asked whether I would do it if I could. 7. “Will nothing be done until tomorrow?”, John asked. John asked if nothing would be done until the next day. 8. “Do you know how many people live in this town?”, asked Robert. Robert asked if I knew how many people lived in this town. 9. “Can we postpone the meeting until next week?”, asked Jane. Jane asked if they could postpone the meeting until the following week. 10. “Where has the office been moved to?”, asked Susan. Susan asked where the office had been moved to.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES 2.3 Formal style 2.3.1 Syntax In informal English, sentences tend to be shorter, and basic punctuation is used (comma, full stop). In formal English, sentences are usually longer and more complex; the full range of punctuation devices is used (colon, semi-colon, quotation marks). In informal English, personal pronouns (I, we) are used: I think this is correct. You must be right. In formal English, personal pronouns are not generally used and are replaced by impersonal constructions: It is thought to be correct. He was believed to have died in Spain.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES In informal English, the active voice of the verb is used: He painted the portrait in three months. In formal English, the passive voice of the verb is often dominant: The portrait was completed in three months. In informal English, prepositions are placed at the end of the sentence: Who are you speaking to? The man he looked at. In formal English, prepositions precede relative and interrogative pronouns: To whom are you speaking? The man at whom he looked.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 6: ( Formal syntax) Rewrite the sentences in more formal English. 1.The professor, who I talked to, was very helpful. The professor, to whom I talked, was very helpful. 2. The hotel where we stayed was marvellous. The hotel in which we stayed was marvellous. 3. They believe he is writing another novel. It is believed he is writing another novel/ He is believed to be writing another novel. 4. That’s the book I’m interested in. That is the book in which I am interested. 5. They completed the restoration of the building in 5 years. The restoration of the building was completed in 5 years. 6. They will consider the issue of historical revisionism. The issue of historical revisionism will be considered.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 6: ( Formal syntax) Rewrite the sentences in more formal English. 7. That’s the university I’m studying at. That is the university at which I am studying. 8. This study’ll help us make connections which we were previously unaware of. This study will help us make connections of which we were previously unaware. 9. He’s a person I’m really proud of. He is a person of whom I am really proud. 10. They proved that the statements he had made were false. The statements he had made were proved to be false.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES 2.3.2 Lexis In informal English, the use of vocabulary is less precise; formal language is generally precise and avoids ambiguities. In informal English, short, vernacular words are used: to be sorry to go up to get. In formal English words of Latin and Greek origin are generally preferred: to regret to increase to receive. We were obliged to return earlier than planned due to poor weather conditions. We had to go back sooner than we’d planned because the weather was so bad.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES In formal written English idioms and slang are generally avoided unless they are introduced to provide ‘colour’, especially in titles to articles: Blakely’s arguments do not hold water. A new course is in the pipeline. Blakely’s arguments can be shown to be wrong. A new course is being planned. In informal English, emphasis is added using bold or italics, or CAPITALS, or an exclamation mark! Formal language avoids such devices. Other emphatic words such as great, terrific, amazing, awesome, should also be omitted.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 7: ( Formal lexis) Substitute the informal words in italics with the formal words below. demonstrated consequence comprehension investigating initially repeatedly incorrect decrease raised producing 1. The question of taxes was brought up at the students’ meeting. 2. The people have no understanding of what the issue is about. 3. At first the scientists were sceptical about the results of the experiment. 4. It would be wrong to suggest that the vaccine is harmless. 5. The lecturer showed that the impact on climate change was inevitable. 6. The death of the patient was a direct result of negligence. 7. The newspaper’s bias has been proved again and again. 8. There has been a noticeable drop in the number of museum visitors. 9. The staff is looking into the problem. 10. The University is turning out an online catalogue of ancient manuscripts.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 7: ( Formal lexis) Substitute the informal words in italics with the formal words below. demonstrated consequence comprehension investigating initially repeatedly incorrect decrease raised producing 1. The question of taxes was brought up at the students’ meeting. raised 2. The people have no understanding of what the issue is about. comprehension 3. At first the scientists were sceptical about the results of the experiment. initially 4. It would be wrong to suggest that the vaccine is harmless. incorrect 5. The lecturer showed that the impact on climate change was inevitable. demonstrated 6. The death of the patient was a direct result of negligence. consequence 7. The newspaper’s bias has been proved again and again. repeatedly 8. There has been a noticeable drop in the number of museum visitors. decrease 9. The staff is looking into the problem. investigating 10. The University is turning out an online catalogue of ancient manuscripts. producing
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES 2.3 Cautious language In academic writing, particularly when research is being undertaken, cautious language is adopted to show the writer’s position on the subject. Various forms can be used to convey caution: Cautious verbs: The presence of insects suggests / implies that food was consumed in the area. Hedging with modal verbs: Food could / may / might have been consumed. Impersonal statements: It is believed / It is alleged that food was consumed. It could be the case that / It might be suggested that / It may be said that food was consumed. Cautious adverbs: The presence of insects seems to be / is probably / is possibly / is perhaps the result of food consumption.
LECTURE 2:WRITING SENTENCES EXERCISE 8: Rewrite the sentences using more cautious language. The Portland Vase at the British Museum 1.The Portland Vase is the most famous and influential piece of ancient glass in the world. The Portland Vase is believed to be the most famous and influential piece of ancient glass in the world. 2. Its blue and white cameo appearance served as a source of inspiration for the potter Josiah Wedgwood. Its blue and white cameo appearance may have served as a source of inspiration for the potter Josiah Wedgwood. 3. The scenes on the vase are Roman and it is of Roman date. The scenes on the vase appear to be Roman and it is likely of Roman date. 4. The Vase was made by the skilled glassmakers of Renaissance Venice. The Vase was probably made by the skilled glassmakers of Renaissance Venice. 5. In 1845 the Vase was permanently damaged by a visitor to the Museum who was mentally unstable. In 1845 the Vase was permanently damaged by a visitor to the Museum who might have been mentally unstable.