Good day everybody! This is our last session!
In this brief course, we have worked with strategies to focus on the reader, clarify purposes, typical phrases and formulas for usual letters and messages, ways to correct common mistakes, and a few issues about grammar and verb tenses, among others.
Today we are going to spend time with the basic elements to construct any text: The SENTENCES.
"I put the words down and push them a bit."
A sequence of words in English can be simple or complex.
It's a nice day.
The last two sentences combine two ideas and they are usually called "complex sentences".
I have a question.
Josh speaks five languages, and Spanish is one of them.
What you suggested is not what we want to do.
Taking into account the intention, a sentence can be:
- declarative -- a piece of information : "This button starts the machine."
- interrogative -- a direct question : "Does this button start the machine?"
-- an indirect question : I would like to know if this button starts the machine."
- imperative -- a command : "Press the button to start the machine."
- exclamatory -- an emphatic expression : "He pressed the button and started the machine!"
Elements of sentences in English :
The main elements of a sentence in English are:
- In English it is not possible to have a sentence without a subject:
"Is very intelligent and modest." (MISTAKE)
"He is very intelligent and modest."
All sentences need a subject, except imperative sentences.
- It is not possible either to leave out the verb:
"John good and interesting." (MISTAKE)
"John is good and interesting."
- Complements are optional, for example:
"I like oranges."
"I like oranges from California."
"Few things in this world are as beautiful
Common Sentence Problems
as a simple sentence - or as rare."
(a) Order of ideas /clauses : Both of the following sentences are gramatically correct and logical, but each makes a different point.
The difference is little, but if the writer's emphasis is that "the new plan is positive", the second sentence is better. If the main point is that "many people are unhappy", then the first example is better.
- Although the new plan is possitive, many people are unhappy.
- The new plan is positive although many people are unhappy.
In our last session we began working with links.
Learn more about them in the following capsule!
(b) Run-on sentences : A run-on sentence is the combination of two or more sentences without the correct punctuation.
Corrected versions :
- The company will offer a new course interested employees should sign up by Wednesday. (mistake)
- or : The company will offer a new course, interested employees should sign up by Wednesday. (mistake: the comma is wrong)
- The company will offer a new course. Interested employees should sign up by Wednesday. (a period)
- The company will offer a new course; interested employees should sign up by Wednesday. (semicolon)
- The company will offer a new course, therefore interested employees should sign up by Wednesday. (comma plus link word)
- Since the company will offer a course, interested employees should sign up by Wednesday. (link word and comma)
In English, sentences are shorter.|
Longer ones tend to be separated by punctuation marks.
(c) Readability : A sentence with several "long" or presuntuous words is difficult to read.
How many long words can a person tolerate?
- In order to effectively manage and control the company's present
organization and to ensure future growth occurs in an orderly and
profitable manner, the company should consider developing formalized
All the words in italics are really superfluous and can be erased.
"I live on good soup and not fine language."
(d) Misplaced or Ambiguous Words : Phrases with an ambiguous subject reference.
A sentence can be illogical and confusing if the subject reference is not clear.
Corrected examples :
- "Karen met me going to the office." (Who was going to the office, Karen or I?)
- "After two weeks abroad, my brother was glad to see me." (Who was abroad, my brother or I?)
- "Karen met me when I was going to the office."
- "After I spent two weeks abroad, my brother was glad to see me."
Last but not least, don't leave today's class without visiting the practice area!
Well, this is the end of the course. I hope you found it useful. Keep on practicing; it is the best way to learn! Send emails to companies, organizations, and the like and learn from their answers too!
Until our next course,
Your electronic teacher
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