TalonRider Posted January 29, 2007 Report Share Posted January 29, 2007 As I stated previously, the Seminar was geared more towards business writing, but the information is still useful. We'll begin with Common Sentence Problems. I will include the key points for each type of problem and occasionally give an example. Sentence Fragments A dependent clause standing alone, trying to act as an independent idea, is not a complete sentence. The sentence does not contain a complete thought. Simply finishing the thought will correct the problem. Example: Because it was raining. Better: We left early because it was raining. Note: If you reverse the sentence order so that the dependent clause comes first, always place a comma after the dependent clause. Because it was raining, we left early. Run-on sentences This kind of sentence is longer than usual, contains several connected ideas, and lacks correct punctuation. Note: The average sentence today has approximately 16 to 18 words. You can write a sentence of up to 20 words with no loss of comprehension by you reader. If a sentence goes beyond 20 words, however, many readers may have difficulty understanding it. Modifier problems Dangling modifiers: If the noun or pronoun being described (or modified) is not specifically named, the result can be confusing or silly. Incorrect: Walking through the office, the computer was turned on. Correct: Walking through the office, Mary stopped to turn on the computer. Misplaced modifiers: If the modifier is not located near the noun or pronoun it is describing, the meaning may be ridiculous, vague, or confusing. Incorrect: When inflated with air, four people can be carried on this raft. Correct: When inflated with air, this raft can carry four people. Active vs. passive voice Verbs are at the heart of sentences and can express active, powerful thoughts. The passive voice weakens verbs. Voice means relationship. The two most powerful sentence elements, the subject and the verb, have a specific relationship. When the subject is the performer or "doer"of the verb, that active relationship is in the 'active voice." If the subject is not the performer or "doer" of the verb, but instead is acted on by some other "doer," that passive relationship is in the "passive voice." Active voice tends to be: clearer/simpler, more specific, shorter, easier to understand. Passive voice tends to be: vague, confusing, longer, dull, awkward. Sentence Parallelism: Sentences without good parallelism may be technically grammatically correct, but lack style, polish and clarity. Parallel sentences use the parts of speech consistently. Incorrect: The starlet demanded Golden Mountain spring water, eating freshly-picked fruit, and a Swedish massage every day. Correct: The starlet demanded chilled spring water, fresh fruit and her own masseuse. Dangling prepositions: It is common to ask, "Who are you going to lunch with?" or "Who should the report go to?" While this is acceptable in casual, informal, "slangy" conversation, writing requires a higher standard. In writing, place the noun or pronoun at the end of the sentence. Double negatives: Using two negatives--known as double negatives--is generally considered incorrect as it conveys a meaning opposite of what the writer intended. Double negatives are not always inappropriate. They may occasionally be deliberately employed to express a positive or to denote sarcasm or irony. I was not entirely unhappy to see him leave. Incorrect reflexives: Memo writers frequently use the reflexive pronoun -self incorrectly as a subject or a verb. A reflexive pronoun cannot not serve as a subject. It must "reflect" back to another pronoun that has already been used in the sentence. At this point, I am including Exercise 1 - Parallelism. Feel free to post your answers here, or you can PM them to me. I will post the answers in a few days. Rewrite these sentences that have faulty parallelism in a form that reflects consistent grammatical construction. Express parallel ideas in parallet form. 1. There is a market for stylish mobile communication among the French, the Italians, Spanish, and Portuguese. 2. It was both a long meeting and very productive. 3. Either you must file his request or act on it now. 4. The new accounts director has experience, dedication, and she has an extremely professional demeanor. 5. The national office rewarded Region Three for its high sales and going beyond the call of duty. 6. Antonio?s motivation to succeed in this position seems to be greater than his predecessor. 7. I have no doubt about your care and interest in the project. Quote Link to comment
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