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Academic Writing- Sentence Structure

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Meaghan Banham

on 1 September 2016

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Transcript of Academic Writing- Sentence Structure

Academic Writing- How to Improve Your Sentences
What is a Sentence
A sentence is a group of words which expresses a complete thought
A sentence must contain at least a subject (the person or thing doing the action or being described) and a verb (doing word)

Teachers mark a great number of essays
Make sure that your subject and your verb are in agreement

Academic Writing- Sentence Structure


How to write academic sentences
Different Kinds of Sentences- Declarative Sentence
Declarative sentences are used to convey information or to make statements. They end with a full stop and are by far the most common type.

Sarah plays the violin.
Tom hopes you can come on Wednesday.
I've left my wallet at home.




Different Kinds of Sentences-
An imperative Sentence
An imperative sentence is a command or a polite
request. It ends with an exclamation mark or full
stop.

Clear this desk by tomorrow!
Please tidy your room.
An interrogative sentence asks a question and ends with a question mark.

What time does the lecture finish?
When is the exam?
Different Kinds of Sentences-
An Interrogative Sentence
An exclamatory sentence expresses excitement or emotion.
It ends with an exclamation mark.

We won!

Different Kinds of Sentences-
An exclamatory Sentence
“A clause is a group of words that contains a verb (and usually other components too). A clause may form part of a sentence or it may be a complete sentence in itself. He was eating a bacon sandwich. [clause] She had a long career [clause] but she is remembered mainly for one early work. [clause]”
(Oxford Dictionary, 2014)
What is a clause
An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence (makes sense on its own) and has a subject and a verb. When there are no dependent clauses in the sentence, the independent clause is a simple sentence (only one clause).


I have a cat
(simple sentence)

I am a teacher, and my husband is an engineer
(a compound sentence made up of two independent clauses)

An Independent Clause
A dependent clause (or a subordinate clause) is a clause that cannot stand alone as a sentence. It does not express a complete thought. Dependent clauses either modify the independent clause of a sentence or serve as a component of it.

Dependent Clause
Do you know the girl
that gave the oral
presentation? 
I am not tidying the dishes 
unless you help me.
Noun clause
Tom knows 
that Anne likes him
.
(The noun clause 
that Anne likes him
 serves as the object of the main-clause verb 
know
.)

Adjective clause.
The bike 
which your brother gave to me
 has broken down.
(The dependent clause 
which your brother gave to me
describes the bike. It is an adjective clause.)

Adverbial clause
Wherever Tom goes
, he leaves his books behind.
(The adverbial clause 
wherever he goes
 modifies the verb
leaves
.)

Types of dependent clauses
To sum up
What is the difference between independent
and dependent clause?
A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence.
It usually lacks either a subject or a verb or contains only a dependent clause.

Incorrect:
Writing the essay during the weekend.
Correct:
I am going to write the essay during the weekend.

Common mistakes: Sentence Fragment
A run-on sentence is a sentence in which two or more independent clauses are written one after another with no punctuation (fused sentences) or with incorrect punctuation (comma splice).

Incorrect:
The students were given five minutes to complete the exercise nobody finished on time.
Correct:
The students were given five minutes to complete the exercise. Nobody finished on time.


Common Mistakes: Run-on Sentences
Common Mistakes- Comma Splice
A comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses (a full stop should be used instead).

For example:
It is already three o'clock, I won't make it on time.
A choppy sentence is a sentence that is too short

Choppy:

Tom took creative writing classes. He had no talent with words. He finally gave up the idea of becoming a professional writer.

Revised:

Tom took creative writing classes, but he had no talent with words, so he finally gave up the idea of becoming a professional writer.

Common Mistakes: Too Short Sentences
A sprawl sentence is a very long sentence
with too many clauses (excessive subordination and coordination).

“Long sentences are also problematic in writing because, even if they are punctuated properly, they can be hard to read since readers often want a pause, and writers need to be aware of this and consider the effect that any writing has on the reader.  Writing that contains long sentences can seem wordy, even if this isn’t the case, for the information in long sentences, like in short ones, can be hard to understand and connect.” 
(Aims Community College, 2014)

Common Mistakes: Too long sentences
Long sentences are also problematic in writing. 
This is true even if they are punctuated properly since they can be hard to understand for readers, who often want a pause while reading.  Writers need to be aware of this and consider the effect that any writing has on the reader.  Furthermore, writing that contains long sentences can seem wordy, even if this isn’t the case.  This happens because the information in long sentences, like in short ones, can be hard to understand and connect.

(Aims Community College, 2014)

Better
Exercises
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/cgi-shl/quiz.pl/fragments_quiz.htm
Run-on sentences, comma splices and fragments:
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/quizzes/runons_quiz.htm
https://depts.dyc.edu/learningcenter/owl/exercises/run-ons_ex1.htm
http://www.shsu.edu/txcae/Powerpoints/prepostest/fragrunonpostest.html
Useful Websites on Grammar
Using English for Academic Purposes A Guide for Students in Higher Education

http://www.uefap.com/

Grammar Monster: Explain grammar clearly and includes everything you need to know about grammar

http://www.grammar-monster.com/
Full transcript