Writing Clear Sentences - Lincoln University ?· Writing Clear Sentences. Objectives discuss the structure…

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  • Writing Clear Sentences

  • Objectives

    discuss the structure of sentences

    identify clauses and phrases

    discuss how structure gives meaning

    identify errors and clarify meaning in

    your own sentences

  • Sentence structure

    What is a sentence?

    Stands alone as a complete thought

    Has a subject and complete, finite verb

    (actor + complete action)

  • Why is sentence structure


    Accurate structure makes your meaning


    Using different types of sentences will

    improve your writing style

  • Elements of the sentence

    subject (i.e. actor) who or what is doing


    verb (action) the event being done

    object - instrument or receiver of action

  • Clauses and Phrases

    Sentence elements are arranged into

    clauses and phrases.

    A sentence must have at least one clause,

    and may have phrases as well.

  • Clauses

    A clause is a group of words which has:

    A subject, i.e. an actor: someone or

    thing which does something in the


    A complete, finite verb, i.e. an action

    which has an actor and a sense of


  • example:

    Subject (actor) Verb (action)

    The lecturer started the class

    Pollution causes cancer

    New Zealand is in the South


  • Two kinds of clauses

    An independent clause

    - expresses a complete thought and

    - can stand alone as a sentence

    A dependent clause

    - needs to be joined to an independent

    clause to make a sentence

    - usually begins with a connecting word

  • examples

    Independent clause:

    - the plant grew

    - the weather was cold

    Dependent clause:

    - because growing conditions were favourable

    - although the weather was cold

  • Identify the independent and dependent

    clauses in the following sentences.

    Each discipline has its distinctive content, orientation, language and methodology which must be recognised and learned.

    Teleconferencing refers to a multi-party telephone call, which enables more than two callers to participate in a conversation.

  • more practice

    In virtual reality systems, the users are

    able to move through a virtual world,

    which is a model that exists in the

    computers memory, and make changes

    or modifications to the model.

  • Are these clauses dependent, independent

    or incomplete?

    1. The greatest danger that a species faces in a rapidly coevolving ecosystem

    2. Diversity has become a strategic imperative for corporations

    3. Her Maori name, Maata Mahupuku, inscribed on her headstone

    4. As profits fell and the government reduced internal prices to realign with export prices

  • Phrases

    A phrase is a small group of words which forms a unit within a sentence.

    Phrases are used to give extra information about the subject (actor), or the time, manner (how) or place of the action.

  • Match the phrase with the function

    a large city how

    every summer who/ what

    by 20% where

    in the South Pacific when

  • example

    The population of Auckland, a large city

    in the South Pacific, increases by 20%

    every summer.

  • practice

    Include these phrases in sentences of

    your own:

    by 10%, by air, as efficiently as possible;

    the general manager, an excellent result;

    at the annual meeting, in New Zealand;

    on October 31, over the last quarter, last


  • practice continued:

    Starter sentences add one or more of

    the previous clauses to these sentences:

    Ms Brown announced that profits had risen.

    Ms Brown congratulated the staff.

  • Practice continued

    Sample answers:

    Last week Ms Brown, the General Manager,

    announced that profits had risen by 10 %

    over the last quarter.

    At the annual general meeting, Ms Brown

    congratulated the staff on an excellent



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