Presentation on theme: "Introduction to sentences 1 Moira Peelo Student Learning Development Centre."— Presentation transcript:
Introduction to sentences 1 Moira Peelo Student Learning Development Centre
A sentence is …? a series of words that explore one idea and starts with a capital letter - a Capital letter. a series of words that end with a full- stop. It usually has a subject, an object and a verb (e.g. The dog bit the cat - dog is the subject, bit is the verb, cat is the object).
When in doubt... … write short sentences with a subject, a verb and an object (the dog bit the cat) - leaving out flowery or over-the-top descriptive words.
Short & long examples §“Bloggs’ theories are criticized by many as too obscure.” §This is short & its meaning is clear §The longer version is OK but holds some punctuation & language traps: §“Bloggs’ colourful theories are criticized by those who demand that academic language is exclusive.”
Making simple sentences longer - the cat sat on the mat §The tired cat sat on the mat. §The cat, which was wet and bedraggled, sat on the mat. §The old cat, which was wet and bedraggled, sat on the dusty rug in front of the fire. §In these examples, the sentence has been extended by qualifying the nouns (cat, mat, fire) & the verb (sat) §The nouns and the verb have been qualified with descriptive words or phrases.
So what about your earlier advice? §“Write short sentences with a subject, a verb and an object (the dog bit the cat) - leaving out flowery or over-the-top descriptive words.” §Absolutely true - when in doubt, leave out all the excess & stick to simple sentences.
At least take care §Extra descriptive words (in this case tired, wet, bedraggled etc.) give the reader a vivid sense of place, mood & state. But this style of writing is more usual in fiction than academic writing. §So if you are going to qualify simple sentences, do it in an academic style.
Some hints about ‘qualifiers’ §Colourful words that give a strong sense of mood or place tend to be found in fiction. §Academic writing usually includes qualifiers that add precision, evidence or technical information to your writing §Avoid using ‘very’ in academic writing. Eg. ‘very hot’, ‘very cold’, ‘very difficult’, ‘very complex’. It is fine in speech, but in academic writing it weakens your point - it is not precise enough nor is it technical.
Extending simple sentences …in an academic style
1st. the simple sentence §Migration theorists have shown that sheep move from east to west.
Extending the sentence in an academic style Migration theorists, who developed ‘movement mapping’ in the nineteenth century, have shown systematically that feral sheep move from east to west. §The qualifying words expand & explain the sentence in a technical way, plus use ‘bracket commas’ for extra words.
Bracket commas? §When a group of words is separated from the main sentence by a pair of commas - because these words are extra or additional to the main sentence §Migration theorists, who developed ‘movement mapping’ in the nineteenth century, have shown systematically that feral sheep move from east to west.
Dangers of over-extending simple sentences §If you attach too many qualifiers, then the main message gets lost. §The reader can lose track of what the sentence is saying. §The reader can get bored & irritable if they have to re- read the sentence. §The writer’s ability to persuade the reader of the sense of their argument is lessened.
An example of over - extending a simple sentence §Migration theorists, who developed the technique of ‘movement mapping’ amongst other methods in the nineteenth century, have shown systematically that feral sheep, when left alone, naturally move from east to west rather than north to south.
So you can have too much of a simple sentence (and sheep)
So how do I cure an over- extended, simple sentence? Sometimes it is easier to make two, expanded sentences out of 1 over-extended simple sentence
Two new sentences §Migration theorists developed a number of research tools in the nineteenth century: movement mapping, which charted migration; comparative distribution, which noted changes in sheep production over time; and, less successfully, perceptual mapping. The systematic use of ‘movement mapping’ has shown that feral sheep, when left alone, naturally move from east to west rather than north to south (Bloggs, 1986; Jones, 2002).
Note... That a colon (:) is used to start the long list - Migration theorists developed a number of research tools in the nineteenth century: §the long list is separated by semi colons (;); and the last item on the long list begins with and (; and, less successfully, perceptual mapping.).
Or maybe it is time to think about writing more complex sentences Start by looking at ‘Introduction to Sentence Structure 2’