Archive for July, 2011

BUILDING TEXTS


building texts
When we write any text that consists of more than one sentence we use a number of techniques to ensure that it holds together. This is done in two main ways:
■ Structure
■ Cohesion
Structure
Different kinds of writing require different structures. A personal letter is organized very differently from a newspaper report. But all have a structure and most use paragraphs. The way in which one paragraph leads into the next is an essential part of the way in which text is built.
Cohesion
We also use vocabulary and grammar to help ‘glue’ our sentences together and make life easier for the reader. There are three main devices we use:
1. Reference. We use certain types of word to refer back to things that have already been explained. The commonest of these are pronouns. For example:
When we write any text that consists of more than one sentence we use a number of techniques to ensure that it holds together. This is done in two main ways …
The words it and this make the sentence shorter. Otherwise we would have to write:
When we write any text that consists of more than one sentence we use a number of techniques to ensure that the text holds together. Making sure that the text holds together is done in two main ways …
Using pronouns in this way not only makes the writing shorter, it also links sentences closely together.
2. Ellipsis. It is also possible to miss out single words and phrases or replace them with much shorter forms. For example:
As it turned out, I knew the Bible better than he did.
This is a shorter version of the much more long-winded:
As it turned out, I knew the Bible better than he knew the Bible.
Again, not only is it shorter, but also by referring back to the reader’s previous knowledge, it gives the sentence cohesion.
3. Sentence adverbials. These are words or short phrases that show how parts of a text link together. They do this in a number of different ways. For example:
■ Making lists
First you have to think of it and secondly you have to say it.
■ Giving examples
In addition, students choose from other units in which the emphasis is on a particular aspect or approach to history, for example the history of the Origins of Modern Science.
■ Explaining cause or result
Unemployment rises and so increases the army of industrial reserves: as a result wages are driven down even further.

INFINITIVE CLAUSE


infinitive clause
A clause in which the verb is not a finite verb, but an infinitive. The following examples show the similarities and differences between the two types of clause:
type of clause
finite clause
infinitive clause
Noun
I want what is best for my little girl.
All I really want is to have a home of my own.
Relative
And that was another thing that was troubling her.
There was only one thing to do in these circumstances.
Adverbial
Physiotherapy is important so that hands, arms, legs, etc. are kept mobile.
I need a couple more calls to finish off the programme.

CONCESSION


concession
To concede something is to admit its truth, usually after you have originally denied it or refused to admit that it may be true. An adverbial or adverbial clause of concession is one that says in effect, ‘Yes, even though A was true, B happened.’
Adverbial clauses of concession
There are three main types:
■ Beginning with the conjunction although:
Although she always
the theatre has claimed
wanted to be a writer,
a lot of her energy.
subordinate clause
main clause
The writer finds the information contained in the main clause (that she has worked a lot in the theatre) surprising in the light of the subordinate clause (that she wanted to be a writer).
■ In another type of concession clause the information contained in the subordinate clause may well be true, but it doesn’t affect the truth of the information in the main clause:
Even if she took it into her
she wouldn’t be back till half
head to come back early,
four at the earliest.
subordinate clause
main clause
■ In a third type the main clause contains information that is true, despite the truth of the information in the subordinate clause:
Tom supplements their pension by working part-time,
even though he is nearly 70.
main clause
subordinate clause
The main conjunctions used to introduce adverbial clauses of concession are:
although
despite
even if
even though
except that
not that
though
whereas
while
whilst
It is also possible to have non-finite clauses of concession. For example:
In spite of being so fair, his skin had taken on quite a deep tan in the few days they had been there.
There are also verbless clauses of concession:
Although a competent fighter, Stretch was not considered to be one of the game’s bigger pyunchers.
Adverbials of concession
Sentences may also contain phrases which express similar ideas to clauses of concession.
It had been a happy marriage, in spite of the difference in their ages.
This works even with the quickest and most agile spiders.
Even after her wedding, the Princess of Wales continued to shop at Laura Ashley, albeit with a bodyguard, and whatever items she bought received wide coverage.

CONCESSION


concession
To concede something is to admit its truth, usually after you have originally denied it or refused to admit that it may be true. An adverbial or adverbial clause of concession is one that says in effect, ‘Yes, even though A was true, B happened.’
Adverbial clauses of concession
There are three main types:
■ Beginning with the conjunction although:
Although she always
the theatre has claimed
wanted to be a writer,
a lot of her energy.
subordinate clause
main clause
The writer finds the information contained in the main clause (that she has worked a lot in the theatre) surprising in the light of the subordinate clause (that she wanted to be a writer).
■ In another type of concession clause the information contained in the subordinate clause may well be true, but it doesn’t affect the truth of the information in the main clause:
Even if she took it into her
she wouldn’t be back till half
head to come back early,
four at the earliest.
subordinate clause
main clause
■ In a third type the main clause contains information that is true, despite the truth of the information in the subordinate clause:
Tom supplements their pension by working part-time,
even though he is nearly 70.
main clause
subordinate clause
The main conjunctions used to introduce adverbial clauses of concession are:
although
despite
even if
even though
except that
not that
though
whereas
while
whilst
It is also possible to have non-finite clauses of concession. For example:
In spite of being so fair, his skin had taken on quite a deep tan in the few days they had been there.
There are also verbless clauses of concession:
Although a competent fighter, Stretch was not considered to be one of the game’s bigger pyunchers.
Adverbials of concession
Sentences may also contain phrases which express similar ideas to clauses of concession.
It had been a happy marriage, in spite of the difference in their ages.
This works even with the quickest and most agile spiders.
Even after her wedding, the Princess of Wales continued to shop at Laura Ashley, albeit with a bodyguard, and whatever items she bought received wide coverage.

CONCESSION


concession
To concede something is to admit its truth, usually after you have originally denied it or refused to admit that it may be true. An adverbial or adverbial clause of concession is one that says in effect, ‘Yes, even though A was true, B happened.’
Adverbial clauses of concession
There are three main types:
■ Beginning with the conjunction although:
Although she always
the theatre has claimed
wanted to be a writer,
a lot of her energy.
subordinate clause
main clause
The writer finds the information contained in the main clause (that she has worked a lot in the theatre) surprising in the light of the subordinate clause (that she wanted to be a writer).
■ In another type of concession clause the information contained in the subordinate clause may well be true, but it doesn’t affect the truth of the information in the main clause:
Even if she took it into her
she wouldn’t be back till half
head to come back early,
four at the earliest.
subordinate clause
main clause
■ In a third type the main clause contains information that is true, despite the truth of the information in the subordinate clause:
Tom supplements their pension by working part-time,
even though he is nearly 70.
main clause
subordinate clause
The main conjunctions used to introduce adverbial clauses of concession are:
although
despite
even if
even though
except that
not that
though
whereas
while
whilst
It is also possible to have non-finite clauses of concession. For example:
In spite of being so fair, his skin had taken on quite a deep tan in the few days they had been there.
There are also verbless clauses of concession:
Although a competent fighter, Stretch was not considered to be one of the game’s bigger pyunchers.
Adverbials of concession
Sentences may also contain phrases which express similar ideas to clauses of concession.
It had been a happy marriage, in spite of the difference in their ages.
This works even with the quickest and most agile spiders.
Even after her wedding, the Princess of Wales continued to shop at Laura Ashley, albeit with a bodyguard, and whatever items she bought received wide coverage.

PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE


prepositional phrase
A phrase with a preposition as its headword. The preposition comes at the beginning of the phrase and is followed by:
■ a noun:
preposition
noun
below
ground
■ a pronoun:
preposition
pronoun
after
me
■ a verbal noun:
preposition
verbal noun
without
leaving
■ a noun phrase:
preposition
noun phrase
during
the last month
Uses
Prepositional phrases have two main uses:
■ To modify a noun. When they form part of a noun phrase they normally come after the noun. (So they are, technically, ‘postmodifiers’.) For example:
Court actions in foreign countries
expose a company to a number of risks.
noun phrase
■ As an adverbial. When they are used as adverbials, they give information about:
place
time
manner
reason
purpose

Sentence adverbial


sentence adverbial
Conjuncts and disjuncts are described as sentence adverbials. They are used in a piece of continuous writing to link different parts together. They work in a variety of ways, including:
Adding and listing
In narratives, explanations, and arguments we often want to place items in a particular order. We indicate this fact and show the order by using words like ‘firstly’:
Firstly, the feeling for the tradition is very strong in the village; secondly, Gawthorpe is an ancient settlement — its history can be traced back to a Viking chief named Gorky and there is evidence that it existed in Roman times; thirdly, the original custom was to bring in a new May tree each year.
Sometimes the sequence is less important, but we still wish to make it clear that items are linked:
Cynics may scoff that he is yet another stiff-upper-lip, old-soldier type, having come like so many of the august men of the Club from a military background before moving on to the sugar industry. And, as he admitted yesterday, he has little knowledge of the racing industry, apart from having been ‘a very amateur rider’. Furthermore, the fact that Haines must report to the Jockey Club Stewards and has no authority to act unilaterally has inevitably led to suggestions that his is merely a token appointment.
Sentence adverbials used in this way include:
also
as well
at the same time
besides
finally
first
furthermore
in addition
last
meanwhile
moreover
next
soon
then
too
Giving examples
Sometimes we wish to introduce an example or a list of material which exemplifies part of the argument:
These birds are not evenly distributed along the coast. For example, scoter are mainly confined to East Sussex and mergansers to West Sussex …
Other words used in this way are:
namely  as follows
Saying things another way
We may also wish to restate something using different words:
Pagan festivals were incorporated into the church calendar, fertility rites becoming Christian processions. The yule log became a Christmas ‘ingredient’; many magic springs became holy wells, still capable of healing the sick. In other words, the church controlled popular magic by offering its own brand.
Cause and result
In texts that contain an argument one sentence is often the logical development of what has gone before:
The nation’s filmmakers, like its people, can’t express emotion; they lack drive and passion, they’re tame and repressed. As a result, the British can write novels and plays, even produce an occasional world-class painter but, when it comes to cinema, they might as well forget it.
Other sentence adverbials of this type are:
accordingly
as a result
consequently
hence
so
therefore
thus
Contrasts and alternatives
A sentence can be contrasted with what has gone before:
The speed of sound in water is roughly four times as great as it is in air. On the other hand, water is not much different for taste and smell, and much worse for vision.
Other sentence adverbials of this type are:
all the same
alternatively
anyway
by contrast
conversely
even so
however
instead
nevertheless
on the other hand
rather
yet
Concession
Another type of contrast is similar to that used in adverbial clauses of concession: despite this fact, the following is true. For example:
Anyone could have attacked Ella. Why should it be the O’Neills just because Ella had tried to befriend Kathleen? Nevertheless, she felt uneasy and was almost glad to hear that a second girl had been attacked in a different part of Liverpool.
Other sentence adverbials of this type are:
however  yet  even so