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The Paramedic Method Dr. David Blakesley Professor of English, Purdue.

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Presentation on theme: "The Paramedic Method Dr. David Blakesley Professor of English, Purdue."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Paramedic Method Dr. David Blakesley Professor of English, Purdue

2 The Problem How can two sentences that say virtually the same thing communicate differently? 1.An evaluation of the effect of Class C fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on the properties of ternary mixtures for use in concrete pavements was undertaken and is presented in this paper. (36 words! FAT! The “Official Style”) 2.This paper evaluates the effect of Class C fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on the properties of ternary mixtures in concrete pavements. (26 words! LEAN! “Clear and Readable Style”) Lard content of sentence 1: 10/36 = 28%

3 What’s the difference? The “Official Style” (Sentence 1) uses... 1)Lots of prepositions and prepositional phrases 2)“To be” verbs 3) Nominalizations 4) The passive voice 5) A long ‘wind-up’ or introductory phrase

4 What Is the Paramedic Method? Developed by Richard Lanham, the paramedic method is a set of clear steps for analyzing and revising wordy sentences. Writers use the paramedic method to improve clarity and readability so that their meaning is communicated concisely and effectively.

5 Paramedic Method Step 1 1.Underline the prepositional phrases* in the sentence. An evaluation of the effect of Class C fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on the properties of ternary mixtures for use in concrete pavements is presented in this paper. * Prepositions are words that indicate relationships between nouns and pronouns. Words like at, in, on, of, to, about, around, below, above, from, into, near, since, through, against, after, and outside are prepositions.

6 Paramedic Step 2 2. Circle the ‘to be’* verbs. An evaluation of the effect of Class C fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on the properties of ternary mixtures for use in concrete pavements was undertaken and is presented in this paper. * “To be” verbs are conjugations of “to be”: am, is, are, was, were

7 Paramedic Step 3 3. Put a box around nominalizations* and (thus) identify the primary action. An evaluation of the effect of Class C fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on the properties of ternary mixtures for use in concrete pavements was undertaken and is presented in this paper. * Nominalizations are nouns that used to be verbs or adjectives, such as evaluation (n) for evaluated (v)

8 Paramedic Step 4 4. Write the nominalization/primary action as a simple verb. An evaluation… becomes evaluate or evaluates

9 Paramedic Step 5 5. Ask, “Who or what performs the action?” Then write the new base clause with the agent in the subject position. Use the simple verb form from step 4. …for use in concrete pavements is presented in this paper. This paper evaluates… agent action

10 Paramedic Steps 6 and 7 6. Keep the base clause near the beginning of the sentence, if possible. 7. Eliminate unnecessary words and phrases.

11 The Final Product Original An evaluation of the effect of Class C fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on the properties of ternary mixtures for use in concrete pavements was undertaken and is presented in this paper. Revised This paper evaluates the effect of Class C fly ash and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) on the properties of ternary mixtures in concrete pavements.

12 Sample for Practice Original From the beginning, the writing of this research article was marked by reluctance. Revised I wrote the research article reluctantly.

13 Sample for Practice Original As a means of providing scientists with appropriate tertiary data, the conference is intended to serve as a communication medium for everyone involved. Revised The conference will provide scientists with appropriate tertiary data and a way to share their research.

14 Sample for Practice Original It was decided that the committee for road improvement would cease their activity for the term by the managers. Revised The managers decided that the committee for road improvement would cease activity for the term.

15 Sample for Practice Original After the process of mixing the chemicals, cooking the substances at an appropriate temperature, filtering the remaining silt, and pouring them into the moulds, the brackets are ready to be used. Revised The brackets are ready for use after the chemicals are mixed, cooked, filtered, and fit into the moulds.

16 Adapted by Joshua Prenosil and David Blakesley from The Thomson Handbook by David Blakesley and Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen

17 For More Information Contact the Purdue Writing Lab: –Drop In: Heavilon 226 –Call: – –On the web: http :// owl.english.purdue.edu


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