In this lecture we will learn:
•Lack of Parallelism
•Interrupted Sentence Structure
•Modifiers of Nouns
•Sequence of tenses
–Unclear Pronoun Reference
–Broad Pronoun Reference
Lack of Parallelism:
•Parallelism refers to the principle that parts of a
sentence that are the same in function
should be the same in structure.
•Words or phrases joined by coordinating conjunctions should
have the same form.
•Make sure all
headings and subheadings
are parallel with the other headings
subheadings of the same level.
•Make sure all entries of the same level in an
•Let us work an example of such a sentence.
•Avoid using too many short sentences that will create
choppy prose. Vary your
types and combine
short related sentences by making some elements dependent clauses or
•Compare the following choppy sentences and the revised
version (as the author actually
place your modifiers carefully.
•Make sure that your placement of modifiers does not
interrupt the sentence
Interrupted Sentence Structure:
between the subject and the
or between the verb and the
object can weaken the
structure of the sentence and make the sentence difficult to interpret.
•In general, the longer and more complicated the modifier,
the more it weakens the
•Although you can often get away with interrupting the
structure of the sentence with a short
(one-word) modifier, adding a longer modifier significantly
worsens the sentence.
Modifiers of Nouns:
should be placed either immediately before
or immediately after the
is allowed to separate the noun and its
modifier, the modifier may be
misinterpreted as applying to a noun in the separating
phrase rather than to the original
should be placed as close as possible
to the words or phrases that they modify.
•If you allow an adverb to be separated from the word or
that it modifies, the
interpretation of the adverb may become ambiguous.
•Always place a
immediately before the word it modifies.
modifier whose connection to the
sentence is implied or intended but not actually made
explicit is said to dangle.
•Dangling modifiers detract from the
of your writing, so you should make sure
modifiers are properly connected to the words they modify.
•To repair a dangling modifier, add the noun or
that the modifier was intended to
modify and rephrase the sentence accordingly.
•Use only one negative word to express a negative idea.
•In English, using two negative words to express one
negative idea creates a positive rather
than a negative interpretation.
•Comparing one item with another can be a very powerful way
to describe an objector a
process (see the discussion of comparison and contrast).
•To make your comparison effective, however, you must
maintain parallelism in your
include the basis of your
ensure that your comparison
•When you construct a
you must make the two items being compared
•Incomplete comparisons detract from the
of your writing.
•To be complete, a
must include both the item being compared
and the item it is
being compared with.
•If you leave out the item being compared with, the reader
may not understand your
••Be consistent in your choice of
•Shifting any of these categories without good reason will
detract from the
clarity of your
Inappropriate Shifts in Tense:
•As a general rule,
within a sentence or a paragraph should be
shift in tense without reason
distorts the sequence of events being described and will
confuse your reader.
•For example, if you begin a description with a verb in the
do not switch to a verb
Inappropriate Shifts in Mood:
•Be consistent in your choice of
•A shift in mood without reason will confuse your reader.
•For example, do not combine an
in the same
Sequence of Tenses:
of your verbs accurately to express the
timing or sequence of events
that you are describing.
•Often, the particular sequence of events that you are
describing will require you to use
several different verb tenses within a single sentence or
•Although it is appropriate to vary your verb tenses in
accordance with the actual timing of
the events, you should avoid shifting tenses unnecessarily.
Tenses and Timing of Events
–To emphasize that an event occurred or was completed before
another event, use a form
•Pronoun reference refers to the identification of a pronoun
with its intended
•Two common problems in pronoun reference are unclear
pronoun reference and broad
•Make sure all of your pronouns can be easily identified.
Unclear Pronoun Reference:
instead of a noun only if the connection to
the intended antecedent of the
pronoun is quite strong.
•Make sure no other nouns with the same
and number appear between your
pronoun and its intended antecedent.
may be unclear.
Broad Pronoun Reference:
only if the connection to the intended
pronoun is quite strong.
•Otherwise, your pronoun reference may be too broad, thus
pronoun can appear in one of three
–subjective, in which the pronoun functions as a subject;
–objective, in which the pronoun functions as an
–and possessive, in which the pronoun functions as a
possessor. The following list shows
the subjective, objective, and possessive forms of the personal pronouns.