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Open a word file for today's writing. Send it to your email or save it on your disk.

To make sentences more effective it is important to place the information correctly.
Put the most important information in the independent clause.


Old to new information

Also, put the most important information at the end of the sentence.
Information that is familiar can go in the beginning. - flow


TASK: Choose a complex sentence. Move a clause from the beginning to the end of the sentence.
Does it  change the meaning of the sentence?


TASK:  Choose a complex sentence.
Change the information from the main clause to the dependant clause.

Does the meaning of the sentence feel different to you?


Sentence Emphasis

1. Short sentences have more power.
They should be used to make important  points and to provide emphasis.

2. Ending a sentence with prepositional phrases makes sentences that have conclusions weaker.

Writing well
SENTENCES with TO show the purpose of doing something.
They are often used in methods sections of papers and to explain 
why research is  being done.

TASK: Open a word file and rewrite this sentence so that the purpose of the method is clear.

We generated data drawn from different classes and used the proposed method to learn the parameters
and to classify the data to demonstrate the performance of the algorithm.

ANSWER: Highlight with your cursor: To demonstrate the performance of the algorithm, we
generated data drawn from different classes and used the proposed method
to learn thparameters and to classify the data.

When we are describing the purpose of a process or method we can place the "to phrase" in the beginning of the sentence.
This makes the purpose clear. Otherwise it can get buried in many infinitive forms or prepositions at the end of sentences.
 "In order to" is another very useful phrase.

TASK: Skim your Model paper quickly and underline any sentences with this structure.

They are often found in the introduction or methods section of the research paper.

TASK: Save these sentences into a file for future use.

TASK: Open up a text file and write three sentences of your own using this structure.  

Write one sentences on improving your English and two sentences from your field.

 Put your hand up when you are done and I will check your sentences.

Learn how to use Reduced relative clauses

TASK: find some reduced relative clauses in the introduction of your model paper.

Copy and paste them to a file. Expand them to normal relative clauses.

Keep subjects close to verbs

This is especially a problem with long adjective clauses beginning with which in much scientific writing.

TASK: rewrite this sentence more clearly.

Some sentences, by placing a phrase or clause between a subject and its verb, break their momentum.

Do not combine long strings of prepositional phrases at the end of sentences.

Sentence errors

These sentence errors are more serious. They are grammar mistakes.
Look at your corrected papers and  revise any of these types of mistakes.
When you are done  put up your hand  and I will check it.

Parallel form

TASK: Take this quiz

Read this page if you find it difficult:

TASK: Take this quiz. If you have any incorrect answers refer to the following pages.


There are four ways to fix run on sentences.



Run-on sentences

Dangling Participles


TASK: Rewrite this sentence.


After reading the original study, the article remains unconvincing.


Refer to this site for the answer:

Weak writing

Here are some examples of writing that is weak, but not grammatically wrong.


TASK: Skim these pages to quickly get the idea. - stacks

Expletives, there is, there are: - explet

Weak "be" verbs - weakbe

Misplaced modifiers

What is a sentence?

Everything between the capital letter and the final period (.) question mark (?) or Exclamation mark (!).  In many grammar books you have been told that a Sentence has a subject and a verb.

Optional  If you need to review the basic grammar terms you can do this exercise:

But I think it can be better understood as a complete thought. Oh, no. is a sentence.

Review of basic sentence structure
In order to be able to improve your sentence structure, you must understand:

  • The four basic types of sentences
  • the difference between a clause and a sentence
  • the difference between a dependant and an independant clause
  • the difference between a phrase and a clause
  • three ways to combine compound sentences

Take these quizzes if you are not sure if you need to review this:

There are many possible parts of the sentence but understanding clauses is what will really help you to improve your writing rather than just your grammar. You will see why soon.

Clauses are the building blocks of sentences.

Make sure you understand the difference between a main clause (independent) and a subordinate clause (dependant) clause.

Read if necessary
Read if necessary

How can I tell the difference?

Sub means under  like in the word Subway
- The way under!  Just like a general gives orders to his subordinates,
a subordinate clause supports the main clause in order to be effective.

In some books the subordinate clause is also called the dependant clause
because it depends on the main clause to have meaning.

Why is this important?

Two of the most common sentence structure mistakes result from
not truly understanding what a clause is.
A fragment means a piece of something. In this case only a piece of a sentence.

A run on sentence means that two clauses have been improperly combined.
Usually by only having a comma between them.

Task if you are not sure about clauses:
Copy and past a short paragraph from your model paper into a word file.
Highlight independant clauses yellow and dependant clauses green.

What is the difference between a clause and a sentence?

An independent clause can be a whole sentence.  A dependant clause cannot.
A train (sentence) can pull one or more cars (clauses).
It doesnt matter how many. It is still a train.

Optional  If you need to review clauses consult this great site

It is also important that you understand PHRASEs

Optional   (Read Later)
Advanced sentence structure reading. 

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