PE3011 English Language Studies and Teaching 1 Grammar Lecture 10 : Style

(Reading : Greenbaum, ch.9)

What is one important goal we want to achieve when we pass a message to another person? How can we achieve this goal?

The focus of a message carried in an English sentence can be placed at: End normal position of focus  end  new information beginning of a sentence or clause typically contains  general knowledge / known information • as such beginning  unmarked (default, normal) theme ending  unmarked (default, normal) rheme
• •

Theme -----------rheme e.g. I am painting my living room blue. People who strive to become better-off are "upwardly mobile". The American public is not interested in foreign policy. Foreign policy does not interest the American public. Teenagers are difficult to teach. Fronted

If we place an expression in an abnormal position (usually front), the effect is to make the expression more conspicuous. Attitudes will not change overnight, but change they will. Easily recognizable was the leader of the wolf pack. Here they are.

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End - Weight

When there is a choice, it is normal for a longer structure to come at the end. She visited him that very day. She visited her friend that very day.

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She visited that very day an elderly and much beloved friend. weight) Which of the following pairs of sentences is better? 1. That he was prepared to go to such lengths astounded me. 2. I was astounded that he was prepared to go to such lengths.

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3. Einstein's theories have made many important technological developments which we now take for granted possible. 4. Einstein's theories have made possible many important technological developments which we now take for granted. There - Structures and Cleft Sentences

There - Structures give greater prominence to the subject. There were some students who refused to show their ID card. Cleft sentences provide greater prominence to one part of the sentence. It was a human error that caused the explosion.

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How can we avoid ambiguities? How can make our writing clear to understand?

Nouns to be replaced with other word classes (in speaking at least)

It is often possible to make a sentence clearer by eliminating unnecessary abstract nouns.

Which of the following sentences are easier to decode? They should lessen their self-centredness and increase their assistance to others. They should be less self-centred and more helpful to others. The charge that the industry is making excessive profits does not stand on a valid foundation. The charge that the industry is making excessive profits is not valid.

Repeated Sounds

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Avoid putting words near each other if they sound the same or almost the same but have different meanings.

Which of the following is easier to decode?
1.

Industries and the professions are finding it increasingly difficult to find people qualified in basic writing skills. Industries and the professions are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit people qualified in basic writing skills.

2.

Nonessential Words

Avoid using too many nonessential words.

Which of the following is easier to decode? It seems to me that it doesn't make sense to allow any bail to be granted to anyone who has ever been convicted of a violent crime. 2. I think bail should not be granted to anyone ever been convicted of a violent crime.
1.

The antique dealer who is on Allen Street has a pair of silver candlesticks that were designed by Paul Revere. 4. The antique dealer on Allen Street has a pair of silver candlesticks designed by Paul Revere.
3.

Because I chose the field of chemistry as my major, the whole character of my attitude towards the area of learning has changed. 6. Majoring in Chemistry has changed my attitude towards learning.
5.

The curriculum was of a unique nature. 8. The curriculum was unique.
7.

What makes a non-essential word here? Parallelism Which of the following sentences are easier to decode? What makes them easier to decode?

1. 2.

You will find long lines in the bookstore and to pay your tuition. You will find long lines in the bookstore and at the cashier.

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3. 4. 5.

His collages derive from both art and from popular culture. His collages derive from both art and popular culture. His collages derive both from art and from popular culture. I prefer the novels of Hemingway to Faulkner. I prefer the novels of Hemingway to those of Faulkner. They discontinued the production of the paint because the results of the field tests were unsatisfactory and a lack of interested customers. They discontinued the production of the paint because the results of the field tests were unsatisfactory and there was a lack of interested customers.

6. 7.

8. 9.

Parallel structures provide a pleasing balance between the parallel units, and they emphasize meaning relationships between the units such as equivalence and contrast.

Week 12 ends here Pronoun Reference

The antecedent of a pronoun should be made clear. The students worked during the vacation for individuals who were fussy about their work. (unclear) The students worked during the vacation for individuals who were fussy about their own work. (clear) Do not use a pronoun to refer vaguely to an antecedent that is implied but is not actually present. The airlines and the airports are unable to cope with the flood of passengers. Delays and frustration affect travellers daily. No one saw it coming. (unclear) The airlines and the airports are unable to cope with the flood of passengers. Delays and frustration affect travellers daily. No one anticipated the problem. (clear) Use "this" or "that" to refer to the whole of the previous sentence, not "it". *Many Hong Kong people have emigrated. It has caused a number of problems. Many Hong Kong people have emigrated. This (situation) has caused a number of problems. *Some people think that the fall of man had something to do with sex, but it is a mistake.
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Some people think that the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake.

Avoid broad reference to an expressed idea. When class attendance is compulsory, some students feel that education is being forced on them . This is not true. (unclear) When class attendance is compulsory, some students feel that education is being forced on them . This feeling is not true. (improved) Avoid the awkward placement of "it" near the anticipatory "it". It would be unwise to buy the new model now, although it is a superior machine. (confusing) It would be unwise to buy the new model now, although the machine is superior. (improved) Avoid unnecessary pronouns. *In our book, it says that we should ... Our book says that we should ... *According to the author, he says that we should ... According to the author, we should ....

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Consistency

Be consistent in the use of pronouns. *Get a university map because they really help. Get a university map because it really helps. *Every day you are bombarded with advertisements. It is up to us to decide what is worth buying. Every day you are bombarded with advertisements. It is up to you to decide what is worth buying.

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Be consistent in the use of tenses. *Although I worked until midnight, I can't finish all my assignments. Although I worked until midnight, I couldn't finish all my assignments.

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Faulty Predication

Avoid faulty predication. Verbs should indicate actions that are possible for the subjects. Faulty predication occurs when the subject and predicate do not fit each other logically. *One book I read believes in eliminating subsidies. The author of one book I read believes in eliminating subsidies.

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*An example of discrimination is an apartment owner, especially after he has refused to rent to people with children. An example of discrimination is an apartment owner's refusal to rent to people with children. *An examination is when you are tested on what you know. An examination is a test of what you know. In an examination you are tested on what you know. *The reason we were late is because we had an accident. The reason we were late is that we had an accident. Linking Words

There are many problems with the use of linking words. Many people use linking words at the beginning of almost every sentence, which is inappropriate and distracting.

e.g. Now there are many experienced people in the field of advertising in china. Moreover, the level of technology is rising in the media. However, China is still an underdeveloped country. Moreover, the closed policy will hinder the inflow of foreign technology.

Some people always place linking words at the beginning of a sentence. Although some linking words like "furthermore" or "moreover" are always put at the beginning, others like "however" or "on the other hand" can be put at other places. That is one reason why their economic policies are unlikely to restore full employment. However, it is not the only one. cf. That is one reason why their economic policies are unlikely to restore full employment. It is not, however, the only one.

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