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Climactic Word-Order
Sometimes it is necessary to employ a climactic word-order in English.
"Climactic" means that the most important thing comes at the end, thus
keeping the reader in suspense:
The speaker commented that even if no one else yet realised it the fall of Honecker
meant that the nation's principal long-term objective was now within their
grasp - German unification.

Compare this with the anticlimactic:

The fall of Honecker, as the speaker commented, meant that German unification ­
the nation's principal long-term objective ­ was now within their grasp, even if
no one else yet realised it.

S u g g est e d Ex e r cis e s:
How can the following sentences be made more effective?

1. For a good meal quality and quantity are the only ingredients which are necessary.
2. Hemingway, he said, was basically unworthy of the Nobel Prize, even though he
had written one or two readable little books and his exploits as war correspondent
and bullfighter had made him into something of a legend.
3. The judge finally pronounced the sentence - death - which was the only thing
he could do, given the heinous nature of the crime and the enormous pressure of
public opinion:


Good English is generally very careful to express things which are parallel
in thought in a way which is correspondingly parallel in form. This is
especially important when enumerating lists of items:

The constitutional functions of H M the Queen include opening Parliament,

receiving new ambassadors, giving her consent to new legislation, as well as
being the supreme head of the Church of England.

This sentence, listing the Queen's constitutional functions, is clearly and

consistently organised by means of a series of gerunds (opening...receiving ...
giving... being...). An equally possible alternative would have been a sen­
tence like:

Among her various constitutional functions, H M the Queen is expected to open

Parliament to receive new ambassadors, to give her consent to new legislation,
or even a sentence like:
The constitutional functions of HM the Queen include the opening of Par­
liament, the reception of new ambassadors, the granting of her consent to new
legislation~ etc.

One of the most common mistakes is to list items in a grammatically
inconsistent manner, using different grammatical categories, as in the
following sentence:
The Roundtable recognises three projects - to cross the Channel by bridge, the
tunnel between Denmark and Sweden, and developing a new European
high-speed rail network.

Here the three projects are not expressed in any coordinated way. The
sentence needs to be rewritten in a consistent manner - either: to cross the
Channel..., to build the tunnel..., and to develop ..., or: the bridge across the
Channel, the tunnel..., and a new European high-speed rail network.
S u g g est e d E x e r cis e s:

Rewrite the folloyving in more coordinated English:

1. She gave a talk on the shortage of school teachers and how children were suffering
as a result.
2. Languages are disparate not only in regard to grammar and vocabulary but also
they differ phonetically.
3. Australians almost venerate sports heroes irrespective of their worth as individual
people and without distinguishing the importance of their achievements.
4. The book was written not only for the entertainment of young people but also to
remind adults of their own youth.
5. The police do not only not want to protect black people but sometimes even beat
them up.

Similarly one should avoid making the verb-form change unnecessarily

within the same sentence, as in the following:

These refugees had known degradation, for every conceivable injury had been
inflicted on them.

This sentence is confusing because the subject of the first verb is not the
subject of the second, even though the switch in subject seems to serve little
purpose..Better would be a sentence like:

These refugees had known degradation, having been subjected to every con­
ceivable injury.

Much the same can besaid about the following sentence, where the switch in
subject makes the sentence especially unclear:

Research has been done on this virus by scientists at our department, but it still
remains an enigma.

Perhaps the worst thing about the sentence is that it can refer to "research" ,
"virus", or "department" . A possible way of improving the text would be to

Scientists at our department have been conducting research into this virus, but so
far they have not met with much success.

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S u g g est e d Ex e r cis e s:

Rewrite the following sentences in more coordinated English:

1. The book was well received by critics, and they praised the scrupulous scholarship
of the author.
2. They discussed the matter for three hours, but no consensus was reached.


When writing academic English consistent vocabulary is crucial; a num­

ber of items are generally considered to be unacceptable in such a context:

1. a bit
Use instead slightly, to some (small) degree, somewhat, rather,
perceptibly, tangibly, marginally, etc.

2. very much
This phrase tends to be used in a very clumsy manner. Very often it is better to
use enormously, a great deal or even very considerably. Best of all
may well be a complete paraphrase. Thus a sentence like:
They contributed to European culture very much.
can be replaced with:
They made an enormous contribution to European culture.

3. a couple of
Use instead a few, a number of, several, etc.
4. a lot of
Use instead many, a large (very considerable) number of (arguments,
etc.), a mass of (supporting evidence), numerous, countless (books,
arguments, ideas, etc.), a whole range (variety) of, all manner of
(arguments, positions, theories, etc.).
5....and so on
This word needs to be paraphrased:
One must preserve old churches, city walls. burghers' houses, hospices and
buildings of this nature.
Another possible way of avoiding and so on is etc.. although it is often
perceived as being rather slovenly. Alternatively, the problem could be
avoided by writing:
... and such buildings.
... and similar buildings.

6.. get
See pp. 29-32.