Wednesday, 26 July 2017

A Review of Fine Tune Your English: notes, MG University First Semester English Common Course Fine tune Your English Module 1simplified Notes, Chapter 1

Chapter One
How to Write Effective Sentences

What is an Effective Sentence?
   A sentence is said to be effective when it serves the purpose for which it is meant; the purpose can be anything, sometimes to describe something, argue a point or expound a theory. Whatever be your objective, it should serve the purpose for which it is meant. In short, an effective sentence is the one that imparts sense to the listener and at the same time the one that follows the right grammatical syntax.

1)An effective sentence should impart meaning to the listener .
2) It should be free of solecisms( grammatical errors).

Basic Structure of a Sentence

The basic structure of a sentence is SVO; that is Subject -Verb- Object or Subject -predicate pattern. So every sentence has two parts- the subject and the predicate.
Just have a look at a very simple example:

    " Children play"
Here "Children" is the subject and "play " the verb. The subject is always a noun or noun equivalent. The predicate consist of verb or words that are dependent on the verb.
Any sentence can be made more complicated by enlarging the subject and extending the predicate by adding modifiers.

Tips for Constructing Effective Sentences.

    Do you know why a sentence fails to be effective? There may be many reasons for it. But mainly it becomes so due to the improper ways of expressing a particular idea; for the way in which an idea is expressed matters a lot. Behind every bad sentence there is a bad writer. You can improve your writing skills by simply following the tips given below:
1) while you construct a sentence be cautious to be positive rather than negative by avoiding "no" "not" etc except when the negative idea seems very emphatic. For example prefer one word substitutes like "disliked" instead of negative usages like " did not like" as in " he disliked experimental novels" for " he did not like experimental novels". The second sentence is simple and colloquial by the first one is ornamental. The first sentence has ascribed a positive quality to the negative idea presented in it.

2). Always prefer specificity to generality. Specificity gives precision. Just compare the two sentences:
a)The fearful sounds of the night kept me awake.
b) The fearful sounds of the night- the hooting of the owls, the baying of the wolves not to mention the screeching of the foraging bats, kept me awake during the night.
Now just ask yourself, which one is more effective. You can feel that the second one is more effective than the first one. The first one is a general statement. But the second one is a specific one providing all minute details thereby enhancing assimilation.
3) You can employ figurative language for improving your style. An abstract idea becomes concrete when couched in figurative language. Compare the two sentences.
a) she sang very sweetly.
b) She sang like a nightingale
Sentence b has a similie in it which triggers the imagination of the listener thereby allowing him to compare the girl's song to that of a nightingale's.
4) Monotony should be avoided at any rate. It can instill boredom and make a sentence dull.
5) A judicious use of "periodic" sentences can improve the quality of your writing.A periodic sentence keeps the reader in suspense by placing the verb at the very end of the sentence. Though periodic sentences are not common in modern literature it was popular in old English.
You can place the important ideas and words either at the beginning or at the end of a sentence. Relatively less important ideas may be relegated to the middle of the sentence.
6) Always give the most appropriate word for an idea. Your sentences get improved when less appropriate words are replaced by more appropriate ones.
Example "I heard from the kitchen the sound of the cutlery falling on the plates"
Now look at the improved version:
 I heard the clatter of the cutlery falling on plates.
7) Learn the art of subordinating the less important ideas to the more important ideas. For that avoid short, choppy sentences. Use subordinate conjunctions to combine ideas.
8) Avoid faulty parallelism and mixed metaphors .All ideas of the series should be of the same word class.
For example, look at the sentences.
John was taciturn, shy and lacked the courage to face people.
John was taciturn shy and timid.
The latter is more effective than the former.
Also avoid mixed metaphors.
9).place the modifiers as close to the referent as possible.Also avoid dangling modifiers.
10) Use passive voice only if there is real need for it.
11) Avoid slangy and informal expressions
12) Choose a style that is appropriate to the occasion
13) Do not modify the idea to accomodate the words you like.

Model Questions
1) What is an effective sentence?
2) what is a periodic sentence?
3) What is a mixed metaphor?
4) what is the basic structure of a sentence?
5) what is a modifier?
6) what are the tips for writing effective sentences?

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