Writing Clear Sentences
discuss the structure of sentences
identify clauses and phrases
discuss how structure gives meaning
identify errors and clarify meaning in
your own sentences
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.
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
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
- the plant grew
- the weather was cold
- 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.
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
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
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
The population of Auckland, a large city
in the South Pacific, increases by 20%
Include these phrases in sentences of
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
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.
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