Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.21. Use logical sequencing

ryanrori January 24, 2021

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Logical sequencing of ideas and overall unity are achieved through redrafting, for example:

Paragraph:

There should be evidence of a logical progression of thought, rather than an apparent fumbling around for anything that comes to mind regarding the particular point in focus. Within a paragraph, the sentences should fit together in an order that makes sense. The writer directs the reader by the construction of sentences and by choosing the order in which they should go. We have already established that the first sentence is usually the topic sentence and that all the sentences should seek to develop a key point summed up by the topic sentence. 

How did it feel reading the above paragraph? Confusing? You probably understood the main points and got the general gist of it, but it is likely that you felt that it did not flow, that it jumped around. The first sentence does not serve as a clear introduction to the theme of the paragraph; it is not the topic sentence. The points made are all valid and all with the same focus, but there is no clear, logical train of thought. Just as one paragraph needs to flow smoothly onto the next, so does a sentence need to connect with the one previous to it and the one that follows. 

Redrafted paragraph:

Within a paragraph, the sentences should fit together in an order that makes sense. We have already established that the first sentence is usually the topic sentence and that all the sentences should seek to develop a key point summed up by the topic sentence. The writer directs the reader by the construction of sentences and by choosing the order in which they should go. There should be evidence of a logical progression of thought, rather than an apparent fumbling around for anything that comes to mind regarding the particular point in focus. 

Correct grammatical and linguistic errors

Please bear in mind the following basic rules for correct sentences: 

  1. Every sentence needs a verb. If it lacks a verb, it is not a sentence.  “Verb” here means MAIN VERB, which cannot be in a tense or form which renders it a dependant clause rather than a main clause.
IncorrectCorrect
Twenty-seven different student errors of maximum violence. I counted twenty-seven different student errors of maximum violence. 
  1. The main verb in a sentence CANNOT be in the continuous form, i.e. it cannot have the -ing ending. The present continuous is a dependent tense, i.e. it must be attached to another clause with a proper, non -ing verb.
IncorrectCorrect
Placing themselves in the vicinity of bars. 
Even this is wrong:
The students placing themselves in the vicinity of bars. 
The students placed themselves in the vicinity of bars.
OR:
Placing themselves in the vicinity of bars, the students became extremely drunk and failed all their courses. 
  1. A sub-clause is not a sentence. A phrase which begins with, or includes, “although”, “since”, “because”, “which”, “who”, etc, cannot stand alone: it must be attached to a second phrase which completes the thought (and usually, contains the main verb).
IncorrectCorrect
The bar which the students frequent. This is the bar which the students frequent.
OR:
The bar which the students frequent is called The Mended Drum
  1. Please watch your tenses! The general convention when undertaking English analysis is to use present tense, and you should make sure that you stick to one tense throughout your essay! Moving from past to present within a few sentences, or sometimes within one sentence, is both inelegant and incorrect.
IncorrectCorrect
Smith believed that students liked to hang around in pubs.
OR:
Smith believed that students like to hang around in pubs. 
Smith believes that students like to hang around in pubs. 

In an age of word processing, there is no excuse for mis-spelling words. Run the spell-checker before you print out your text. 

  • You should make sure that your word processor is set to UK English, not American English; American spellings are not correct for the South African context. 
  • The major pitfall, spelling-wise, has become the one which your spellchecker cannot pick up: homophones and basic malapropisms. Homophones are words which sound the same but are spelt differently. Malapropism is the use of a completely incorrect word that often sounds only vaguely similar to the one you actually mean. Both are actual errors of knowledge, rather than errors of carelessness; most people seem to have two or three favourites which they consistently misuse. It is very much to your benefit to work out what your common errors are, and correct them when you write. 
  • If you’re not sure of the meaning of a word, LOOK IT UP! 
  • Very common and recurring problems include loose/lose, then/than, were/where, ones/once, cites/sites, opposed to/a pose to.
IncorrectCorrect
You will loose marks for doing this. You will not lose marks for doing this. 
Spell-check rather then handing in error-filled work. Spell-check rather than handing in error-filled work. 
I correct student errors were I can. I correct student errors where I can. 
Ones upon a time, students used to learn grammar at school. Once upon a time, students used to learn grammar at school. 
This page sites famous author Terry Smith. This page cites famous author Terry Smith.