|IMPROVING SENTENCE STRUCTURE AND STYLE
Who is this for?
Effective writing is based on proper knowledge of sentence structures
and sentence style. Without the clear idea of sentence structures
and style, bits and pieces of grammar rules will be of no use. Constructing
simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences correctly
and using these sentence types appropriately are pre-requisites
of becoming an effective writer.
The aim of this leaflet
This leaflet is for those who want to improve their sentence construction
skills and to achieve sentence variety and effectiveness. It introduces
you to some learning tips and materials in the SAC related to sentence
construction skills and effective style.
Useful materials in the SAC
The following worksheets are on the worksheet shelf under 'Grammar'
in the SAC Area A.
- Under 'Sentence Patterns', look for G/SENT/GSEN/1, 8, 10,
11 or G/SENT/REFE/1 to find out different types of sentences
and ways of constructing them. (G/SENT/GSEN/10 would
be a good start as it gives a good overview and exercises
for different kinds of English sentence structures.)
- Under 'Connectives', look for G/CONN/GCON/2 to practise
the use of general connectives.
- Under 'Clauses', look for G/CLAU/ADVC/1-6 to study various
types of clauses, and try G/CLAU/RELC/1-2, 18-21 to find out
more about relative clauses.
The following books are located on the shelf named 'Grammar
Practice' and 'Grammar Reference' shelves in the SAC Area A.
- The Scribner Handbook for Writers
Read Chapter 13 for an overview of sentence structures and
different types of sentences.
Read Part VII for sentence revision.
Read Part VIII for sentence style, variety and conciseness.
- Prentice Hall Handbook for Writers
Read Chapter 8 & 9 for sentence construction skills.
Read Chapters 10 & 11 for style, variety and effectiveness
Read Part 3 for sentence style, variety and conciseness.
- Collins Cobuild English Grammar & Collins Cobuild English
Excellent explanation on how to construct different English
sentence structures in Collins Cobuild English Grammar and
corresponding exercises in Collins Cobuild English Grammar
Exercises (Read Chapter 8).
- English Guides 9: Linking Words (Collins Cobuild)
Read Chapter 1 for an overview of compound, complex and compound-complex
sentences. Also read Chapters 2 & 4 for more information
on complex sentences.
- Collins Cobuild Student's Grammar
Read the section named 'Sentence Structure'.
- The Written Word (Book 1 & Book 2)
Excellent books for improving sentence construction skills.
Read Book 1, sections 2.3, 3.3, 3.4, 5.4.
Read Book 2, sections 1.4, 2.4, 4.6, 5.4, 5.5, 6.3.
Issues in English
Select any topic à Go to
teaching points à Choose
level 3, Conjunctions.
Some useful materials on the web:
à Check 'sentence construction'
- Word Neighbors and WordPilot
Word Neighbors (online version) and WordPilot (stand alone version) give
you access to large collections of English texts, allowing you to search
for contexts and grammatical patterns. Word Neighbors is frequently
updated. You can use Word Neighbors together with Check My Words to check
your use of words and expressions in context as you write.
You can access Word Neighbors anytime/anywhere from the Check My Words toolbar (download from http://mywords.ust.hk) or directly from http://wordneighbors.ust.hk/
You can access WordPilot through the computers in the SAC or download it to your own computer: http://home.ust.hk/~autolang/
- Choose a material you find easy to use to practise different
kinds of English sentence structures noting conjunctions, connectors,
relative pronouns and punctuation.
- Whenever you read something written in English, pay attention
to sentence patterns and jot down examples from your reading that
exemplify patterns you are working on.
- Expose yourself to many different types of written English
to enhance your awareness of style.
- When you write in English, try to put into practice different
kinds of sentence structures you have learned considering appropriateness,
effectiveness, and variety.
Evaluating your progress
- Whenever you work on a particular sentence pattern, try 'pre'
and 'post' self-testing with the answer key in the material.
- When you find it difficult to evaluate your own progress, seek
help from your English course instructors, SAC
Advisers consultants to comment on your sentence construction
If you would like any help or advice, or just a chat about your
progress, please get in touch - we are here to support your
independent learning! To contact us:
- see an Adviser,
on duty at the SAC Advice Desk (for details of advisers and their availability, please go to http://lc.ust.hk/~sac/sacadviser.html)
- e-mail lcsac (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your query;
- ask at the reception counter of the SAC — if the receptionist cannot help you directly, s/he will pass your query on to one of the SAC advisers.
The introductory leaflet in this series is the leaflet Improving
Your Grammar (G1).
This advice sheet is part of the Grammar series of leaflets supporting
independent learning, produced by the HKUST Center for Language Education SAC
team. This leaflet was written by Kyungnan Park, and revised by
Jacqueline Lam Kam-mei, 2000. Version 2. Last updated: 19 February
2001. If you copy from this leaflet, please acknowledge the source.