Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

2.1. Use language structures and features to produce coherent and cohesive texts for a wide range of contexts.

ryanrori December 29, 2020

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Meaning is clearly expressed through the use of a range of sentence structures, lengths and types. 

“Contrary to what some people seem to believe, simple writing is not the product of simple minds. A simple, unpretentious style has both grace and power. By not calling attention to itself, it allows the reader to focus on the message.”–Richard Lederer and Richards Dowis, Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lay, 1999.

H.W. Fowler: “Anyone who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid.”

The ideal text is easy to understand. Even scientific texts are usually written in plain words. Try to keep sentences plain, clear and simple. When writing keep the following rules in mind:

Use simple language

Keep subordinate clauses short

Prefer verbs to nouns

Avoid slang

Make your text interesting  You can achieve this for example by varying the lengths of your sentences. An important statement is best emphasised in a short sentence, especially when that sentence is between two longer sentences. Do also vary the lengths of your paragraphs and avoid one sentence paragraphs.

Try using a variety of basic sentence structures. We can categorise sentences into four main types, depending on the number and type of clauses they contain:

  1. Simple (one independent clause):

We drove from Cape Town to Johannesburg in one day.

  • Compound (more than one independent clause):

We were exhausted, but we arrived in time for my father’s birthday party.

  • Complex (one independent clause and at least one dependent clause):

Although he is now 79 years old, he still claims to be 65.

  • Compound-complex (more than one independent clause and at least one dependent clause):

After it was all over, my dad claimed he knew we were planning something, but we think he was really surprised.