Style Lessons In Clarity And Grace Lesson 3 Homework

Syllabus

Course Objectives | Class Readings|Course Policies| Schedule       


Dr. Jan H. Spyridakis


Tues. and Thurs. 10:00-11:20


By appointment

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Write standardized American English prose correctly and effectively.
  • Identify syntactic elements of sentences.
  • Revise quickly and appropriately.
  • Articulate the logic behind revisions (as shown through assignments and in-class participation).
  • Construct syntactic structures that reveal intended emphasis.
  • Create cohesive paragraphs.
  • Punctuate sentences effectively.
  • Set an appropriate tone.
  • Create a style that is appropriate for specific purposes and audiences.
  • Williams, Joseph. Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, 9th Ed., New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2007. Buy the NEW EDITION--the 9th edition.
    Note: Starting on page 269, the Williams' book includes a section with answers to the exercises that are not assigned as homework (generally the odd numbered questions in each exercise). These answers can be helpful when you are doing the assigned exercises or seeking extra practice
  • Alred, G.J., Brusaw, C.T., and W.E. Oliu [ABO]. Handbook of Technical Writing, 9th Ed., New York: St. Martin's Press, 2009.
  • HCDE 401 Packet from the University Book Store. Note: Many exercises in the packet are designed for you to gain more practice on the principles taught in the course; therefore, many exercises with titles indicating "self practice" are followed by answer keys. Some packet exercises are to be turned in and some are for class discussion—pay attention to the instructions at the top of the exercises and on the syllabus. Ask questions in class or by GoPost if you are confused.
  • Information and exercises on Web-Based Learning.
  • Student samples: a sample of your writing for analysis and sharing with peers (please turn in 4-5 pages of your writing by Oct. 7). Any expository writing that you have done will work—letters, reports sections, part of a thesis or school paper, etc. Procedures and introspective personal analyses are generally ineffective (or inappropriate) as samples for analysis (and sharing with your peers) in this course.

   Grades
  • Exercises: Complete and turn in all assigned exercises from the Williams' book and course packet, and other exercises as assigned by the instructor. If you turn in all exercises and you have put effort into doing the work, you will a 4.0 grade for the exercises. Each missing exercise proportionately reduces the grade for exercises as will half-hearted effort or incomplete work. Weight = 15%.
  • Mini Quiz. Weight = 5%
  • 3 Quizzes. Quiz 1 = 23%, Quiz 2 = Weight = 27%, Quiz 3 = 30%
  • Attendance and participation in class discussions. Because active participation in class discussions is critical for your learning and the learning of your peers, class attendance is extremely important. Lack of attendance OR participation can negatively affect your grade.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the 4 point grading system, see the grade equivalents table.

General

  • Assigned exercises must be word-processed and submitted IN OR BEFORE CLASS on the day they are discussed in class. I will NOT accept late homework.
  • No homework accepted by email.
  • No make-up exams (if you believe you have extenuating circumstances, please talk to me).
Weeks 1 & 2

Sept. 30 & Oct. 7
Course introduction. The place of style in Technical Communication. Style versus grammar. Structural approach to grammar: the clause and its connections. Some punctuation. 

Read
Williams

  • Lesson One, pgs. 3-10; Glossary pgs. 261-268 (read definitions in this glossary as they become relevant to class discussion).

Packet

  • Grammar Review, pgs. 1-9.
  • Internet Writing Resources, pgs. 10-11.
    Dynamic links to relevant Web sites (see the online syllabus).
  • Structural and Semantic Links, pg.12.

Do
Packet

  • Identifying Subjects, Verbs, & Verbals--Self Practice Exercises, pgs. 13-20. (The amount of self practice you do is up to you, but I suggest you do as much as you need to become facile with the concepts. You can do more practice on the Internet--see pg. 10 of the packet for a list of relevant Writing Resources on the Internet.
  • Web-based Exercises designed to accompany HCDE 422. http://depts.washington.edu/wbt401/--for self practice.
  • Identifying Sentence Elements--Self Practice, pgs. 21-32. Please start working on these; we will start discussing them on 9-30 and continue with it on 10-07.
  • Identification of Clause and Sentence Types, pgs. 33-35. Please start working on this--for class discussion on 10-07.
  • Making Structure and Meaning Match, pg. 36, for class discussion on 10-07.
Week 3

Oct. 14
Mini-quiz on grammar terminology. Wk. 2 topics cont. Workshop on Student Samples (If you have a new sample, please bring it to class).
Handling Punctuation.

Read
Williams

  • Appendix on Punctuation, pgs. 236-260.

Packet

  • Punctuation Principles, pg. 38.
  • Colon and Semicolon use, pgs. 39-41.

Do
Packet

  • Style Analysis I, pg. 37, to be turned in.
  • Colon and Semicolon--Self Practice, pgs. 42-43.
  • Punctuation Questions to Accompany Williams, pgs. 44-46, for class discussion.
  • Punctuation--Additional Questions, pg. 47, for class discussion.
  • Punctuation Self Practice I & II, pgs. 48-59.
  • Punctuation Practice, pg. 60, to be turned in.
Week 4

Oct. 21
Usage. Quiz I on grammar and punctuation.

Read
Williams

Packet

Do
Packet

  • English Usage Table, pg. 62, for class discussion. Remember to look at Internet Writing Resources listed on pgs. 10-11 of the packet.
  • Usage Questions, pg. 63, to be turned in. Type your answers.
  • Usage Practice, pgs. 64-66 (hand-write your answers on the pages), to be turned in.
Week 5
Oct. 28
Action verbs. Nominalizations.

Read
Williams

From this point on, UNLESS SPECIFIED OTHERWISE:

  • Turn in all exercises assigned in Williams, unless otherwise specified. In all cases, regardless of how confusing Williams' instructions may be, revise the homework sentences using the principles discussed in the chapters, and all of the principles we have discussed so far this quarter.
  • Pay attention to the syllabus: some packet pages are to be turned in.
  • Underline all subjects and verbs on homework.
  • Type all homework unless otherwise specified.

Do
Williams

  • Exercises 3.1 & 3.2, for class discussion.
  • Exercises 3.4 & 3.5 (you may want to complete 3.4 and 3.5 in one read through as opposed to completing them as separate exercises) (even numbered items only, i.e., sentences 2, 4, 6, etc), to be turned in.
  • Exercises 3.6, 3.7 (even numbered items only, i.e., sentences 2, 4, 6, etc), to be turned in.

Packet

  • Nominalizations and Adjectivalizations—Self Practice, pgs. 67-73.
  • Style Analysis II, pg. 74, to be turned in.
Week 6
Nov. 4
Characters. Passive and active voice, concrete subjects and verbs. Noun stacks.

Read
Williams

Do
Williams

  • Reminder: underline all subjects and verbs.
  • Exercises 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.6 (even numbered items only, i.e., sentences 2, 4, 6, etc), to be turned in.
  • Exercise 4.5, for class discussion.

Packet

  • Passive/Active Voice--Self Practice, pgs. 75-79.
  • Revise the two paragraphs on pg. 36, to be turned in.
Week 7
Nov. 18
Quiz 2 on usage, nominalizations, passive/active voice, concrete subjects and verbs, and noun stacks.

Conciseness: Limits on short term memory. Affirmative vs. negatives. Sentence combining. Preview of Chapter 8 grammar issues for next class.

Read
Williams

Do
Williams

  • Exercises 7.1, 7.3, 7.4 (even numbered items only, i.e., sentences 2, 4, 6, etc), to be turned in.

Packet

  • Practice Sentences for Quiz 2, pgs. 104-111.
  • Sentence Combining, pg. 81, to be turned in.
Week 8
Dec. 2
Controlling Sprawl, managing long sentences: misplaced and dangling modifiers, pronoun reference, S/V agreement, and parallel structure.

Read
Williams

Do
Williams

  • Exercises 8.1 & 8.2 (even numbered items only, i.e., sentences 2, 4, 6, etc), to be turned in.

Packet

  • Style Analysis III, pg. 80, to be turned in.
  • Misplaced & Dangling Modifiers, Pronoun Reference, S/V Agreement, & Parallel Structure--Self Practice, pgs. 82-104.
Week 9
Dec. 9
Sentence topics: Cohesion and coherence. Old vs. new information, sentence beginnings, topic strings. Emphasis: sentence endings, topic/stress. Tone.

Read
Williams

  • Lesson 5, pgs. 74-90.
  • Lesson 6, pgs. 91-108.

Do
Williams

  • Exercises 5.1 (2); 5.2 (2); 5.3 (2), to be turned in.
  • Exercises 6.1 & 6.2 (even numbered items only, i.e., sentences 2, 4, 6, etc), to be turned in.

Packet

  • Coherence: Old and New Information, pgs. 113-114, to be turned in (a few questions are for class discussion only). Bring the pages to class.
Week 10
Dec. 16
Quiz 3: Comprehensive. Motivating Readers.

Read
Williams

  • Lessons 10 & 11, pgs. 185-210.

Do
Packet

  • Analysis of Williams' Revisions, pgs. 115-117.
  • Practice Sentences for Quiz 3, pgs. 118-131.

Last updated: Sept. 13, 2010.          
©Copyright 2010. Jan H. Spyridakis. All rights reserved

Unformatted text preview: Lesson 3 Actions 29 The problem is to understand what is in those two sentences at makes us feel as we do. Only then can we rise above our too— ounts as a well—told story. (To profit from this lesson and the next 3 U f ee, you must be able to identify verbs, SIMPLE SUBJECTS, and I '/ OLE SUBJECTS. See the Glossary.) elling Stories About Characters and Their Actions his story has a problem: 5'} s33 ' J M 2a. Once upon a time, as a walk through the woods was taking place on the part of Little Red Riding Hood, the Wolf’s jump out fforn behind a tree occurred, causing her fright. .\ e prefer something closer to this: $533. .. 1:” Suit the action to the word, the word to the action. —W1LL1AM SHAKESPEARE, HAMLET. 3«2 J 21). Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood waspwalkingthrough the woods, when the Wolf jumped out from behind a tree and fright- ened her. ost readers think (2b) tells its story an (2a), because follows two principles: I am unlikely to trust a sentence that comes easily. “WILLIAM GASS is §{ 0 Its main characters are subjects of verbs. lore/geflflh fig ° Those verbs express specific actions; UNDERSTANDING THE PRINCIPLES OF CLARITY é . free-“WW“‘TMMMHMM . «Those prmc1ples seem Simple, but they need some explanation. Making ludgmcnts rinciple of Clarity 1: Make main characters subjects. Look the subjects in (2a). The simple subjects (boldfaced) are not the ain characters (italicized): tinguish these two sentences: 2a. Once upon a time, as a walk through the woods was taking place on the part of Little Red Riding Hood, the Wolf’s jump out from 1a. The cause of our schools’ failure at teaching basic skills is n behind a tree occurred causing h er fright. understanding the influence of cultural background on learning. 1b. Our schools have failed to teach basic skills because they do n understand how cultural background influences the way a chil learns. he subjects in that sentence do not name its characters; they ame actions expressed in the abstract NOUNS walk and jump: SUBJECT VERB Most of us would call (1a) too comnlex. (1h) Clearer mnr'p rl -- - _ _ _ 30 Style: lessons in Clarity and Grace Lesson 3 ACtiOBS 31 Contrast those abstract subjects with the concrete subj e c i tendency of factions to further their self-interest at the expense of the (italicized and boldfaced) in (2b): common goal- ' J 3b. The Federalists argued that popular democracy destabilized gov- ernment, because they believed that factions tended to further their self-interest at the expense of the common good. 2b. Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood was walking throng the woods, when the Wolf jumped out from behind a tree and frigh ened her. The subjects and the main characters are now the same words: We can analyze those two sentences as we did the ones about Little ed Riding Hood and the Wolf. SUBiECT/CHARACIER VERB Sentence (3a) feels dense for two reasons. First, its characters Little Red Riding Hood was walkin e not subjects. Its simple subject is argument, but the characters the W If _ d g e Federalists, popular democracy, government, and factions (charac- O Jumpe - fters are italicized; the simple subject is boldfaced): Principle of Clarity 2: Make important actions verbs. No - 3a. The Federalists’ argument in regard to the destabilization of government by popular democracy was based on their belief in the tem dency of factions to further their self—interest at the expense of the common good. look at how the actions and verbs differ in (2a): its actions are no : expressed in verbs but in abstract nouns (actions are boldfaced; verbs are capitalized): 2a. Once upon a time, as a walk through the woods was TAKING place econd, most of the actions (boldfaced) are not verbs (capitalized), on the part of Little Red Riding Hood, the Woif’s jump out from ut abstract 110111153 behind a tree OCCURRED’ causing her fright. 3a. The Federalists' argument in regard to the destabilization of government by popular democracy WAS BASED on their belief in the tendency of factions to FURTHER their self-interest at the expense of the common good. Note how vague the verbs are: was taking, occurred. In (213), the clearer sentence, the verbs name specific actions: / 2b. Once upon a time, Little Red Riding Hood was WALKING through the woods, when the Wolf JUMPED out from behind a tree and FRIGHTENED her. Notice how long and complex is the whole subject of (3a) and how ttle meaning is expressed by its main verb was based: WHOLE SUBIECT VERB Y The Federalists’ argument in regard to the " destabilization of government by popular democracy was based Readers think (3b) is clearer for two reasons: first, the actions boldfaced) are verbs (capitalized): 3b. The Federalists ARGUED that popular democracy DESTABILIZED government, because they BELIEVED that factions TENDED T0 roman: their self—interest at the expense of the common good. 1311;1“7 TG‘FIO 0hr: ‘fiTr;l—:nn— rnv- nvflrrrn 11nn 32 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace ‘ Lesson 3 Actions 33 Note that all those subjects are short and specific: We can also nominalize a verb by adding -ing (making it a GERUND): She flies -* her flying We sang -> our singing WHOLE SUBJECT/CHARACTER WERE/ACTION Some nominalizations and verbs are identical: the Federalists argued . . s; Popular democracy destabilized hOPe —> hope result "3' result repair ”l rep air [38 Ll they believed We REQUEST that you REVIEW the data. 1" 1 E’ factions tended to further Our request what you DO a review of the data. -- -.~r—,.':?"'.".'= Some actions also hide out in adjectives: It is applicable ~+ it applies. angle In the rest of this lesson, we look at actions and verbs; in the ome othersz indicative, dubious, argumentative, deserving.) » next, at characters and subjects N0 element of style more characterizes turgid writing, writing % that feels abstract, indirect, and difficult, than lots of nominaliza— 'ons, especially as the subjects of verbs. s. VERBs AND ACTIONS Our principle is this: A sentence seems clear when its important actions are in verbs. Look at how sentences (4a) and (4b) express their actions. In (4a), actions (boldfaced) are not verbs (capitalized); they are nouns: 4a. Our lack of data PREVEN‘I‘ED evaluation of UN actions in targeting funds to areas most in need of assistance. In (4b), on the other hand, the actions are almost all verbs: / 4b. Because we IACIGED data, we could not EVALUA'I‘E whether the UN HAD TARGETED funds to areas that most NEEDED assistance. Readers will think your writing is dense if you use lots of ab-_ stract nouns, especially those derived fi-om verbs and ADJECTIVES,- nouns ending in -tion, -ment, —ence, and so on, especially when you make those abstract nouns the subjects of verbs. V A noun derived from a verb or adjective has a technical name nominalization. The word illustrates its meaning: When we norm-- nalize nominalize, we create the nominalization nominalization. Here are a few examples: ' Exencz'se 3.1 VERB ~29 NOMINAI {73.11070 ADH-‘F‘TIVE . \ 'Mr‘nnnnn 1711-17“: 34 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace Lesson 3 Actions 35 E were we 3 . 2 b. Then look for two things: if you aren't sure whether you can distinguish verbs, adjectives, and 0 Did you underline abstract nouns that are simple sub- nominaiizations, practice on the list below. Turn verbs and adjectives jects (boldfaced)? into nominalizations, and nominaiizations into adjectives and verbs. The outs o um." of hi h—tech work t A - b - Remember that some verbs and nominalizations have the same - “——g g— 0 81a 1 corporanons form: .means the loss of gobs for ma can workers. ?"8 . . ' Did you reach beyond seven or eight ords before get— Poverty predictably CAUSES socual problems. ( ting to a verb? Poverty 15 a predictable cause of social problems. T he outso ' of hi h—tech work to Asia ‘0 corporations \ - . anajysis beneve attempt conclusion evajuate (10 worQi megs the loss of Jobs for many American workers. suggest approach comparison define discuss ' Analyze H expressmn failure intelligent thorough appearance 3.. Decide who your main Characters are, particularly the decrease improve increase accuracy caran' flesh-and-blood ones (more about this in the next lesson). ' ‘ ' t' Ie r examine , , _ emphasaze explanation descrip [on c a The outsourcmg of hlgh-tech work to A51a by corporations means the loss of jobs for many American workers. Exercise 3.3 h. Then look for the actions that those characters perform, as Create sentences using verbs and adjectives from Exercise 3.2. Then pecially actions in nominalizations, those abstract nouns rewrite them using the corresponding nominalizations (keep the derived from verbs. meanin the same. For exam le, usin su est, discuss, and . . . careful gwrite' ) p g 99 The outsourcmg of high-tech work to ASia by corporations means the loss of jobs for many American workers. I SUGGEST that we Discuss the issue CAREFULLY. _ . Rewrite a. If the actions are nongnalizations, malgthem verbs. J \/ Then rewrite that sentence into its nominalized form: My suggestion is that our discussion of the issue he done with care. outsourcing “t outsource ioss -> lose Only when you see how a clear sentence can be made unclear will ‘ ‘ - _ y0u understand why it seemed clear in the first place. 19' Make th‘: characters the SUbJeCtS Of those verbs. [6 Q’ 1 5+ corporations outsource American workers lose DIAGNOSIS AND REVISION c. Rewrite the sentence with SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS like because, if, when, although, why, how, whether; or that. You can use the principles of verbs as actions and subjects as J Many mid d1 e-class American workers are losing their jobs, characters ‘30 eXplain Why your readers judge your P‘rose .35 they _ because corporations are outsourcing their high—tech work to do. But more important, you can also use them to identify and Asia. revise sentences that seem clear to you but not to your readers. Revision is a three-step process: diagnose, analyze, rewrite. w__.___ :Somc Common Patterns 36 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace Lesson 3 Actions 37 r f a. Change the nominaiization to a verb: .4. A nominalization follows there is or there are: byte 3 j intention -> intend There 18 no need for our further study of this problem. b. Find a character that would be the subject of that verb: 3.. Change the nominalization to a verb: The intention of the committee is to audit the records. need -> need study —> study c. Make that character the subject of the new. verb: b. Identify the character that should be the subject of the verb: J The committee IN‘I‘ENDS to audit the records, There is no need for our further study of this problem. 2_ The nominalization follows an empty verb: c. Make that character the subject of the verb: The agency CONDUCTED an investigation into the matter. no need ~> we need “011 our StUdy " we Study a. Change the nominalization to a verb: '/ We NEED “Qt STUDY thls problem further. investigation—+jnvesfigate '5. Two or three nominalizations in a row are joined by re ositions: b. Replace the empty verb with the new verb: 1) p d t d —+ _ t' t d We did a review of the evolution of the brain. con me e inves iga e f The agency INVESTIGATED the matter a. Turn the first nominalization into a verb: review -+ review 3. One nominalization is the subject of an empty verb and a second nominalization follows it: b. Either leave the second nominalization as it is or turn it _ _ into a verb in a clause beginning with how or why: Our loss in sales WAS a result of their expansmn of outlets. ' evolution of the brain -* how the brain evolved a. Revise the nominalizations into verbs: _ . . / first, we REVIEWED the evolution of the brain. 1035 w lose expansion 6 expand ./ First, we REVIEWED how the brain EVOLVED. b Identlfy the characters that would be the subjects of those verbs QUICK TIP: When you revise a complicated sentence, you will have more than one character—action clause. Decide Our loss in sales was a result of their expansion of outlets. _ c. Make those characters subjects of those verbs: how the clauses fit together, then try out these patterns: X be— ‘ cause Y;- Since X, 1’} If X, then Y; Although X, Y; X andfbut/so Y. \ "1 I, is ‘5 we lose they expand { Jail at" L ,. d. Link the new CLAUSES with a logical connection: 9 def “7 3, - To express simple cause: because, since, when some Happy Consequences A“ 0 To express conditional cause: if; provided that, 50 long as When you consistently rely on verbs to express key actions, your 38 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace 2. Your sentences are more concise. When you use nominaliza— tions, you have to add articles like a and the and prepositions such as 015 by, and in. You don’t need them when you use verbs and conjunctions (italicized): A revision of the program WILL RESULT in increases in our efficiency in the servicing of clients. ./ If we REVISE the program, we can SERVE clients ‘more EFFICIENTIX 3. The logic of your sentences is clearer. When you nominalize verbs, you link actions with fuzzy prepositions and phrases such as of, by and on the part of. But when you use verbs, you link clauses with precise subordinating conjunctions such a because, although, and if: Our more effective presentation of our study resulted in our suc- ; cess, despite an earlier start by others. / Although Others started earlier, we succeeded because we pre I sented our study more effectively. 4. Your sentence tells a more coherent story. This next sequence of actions distorts their chronology. (The numbers refer to the real sequence of events.) Decisions4 in regard to administration5 of medication despite in- ability2 of an irrational patient appearing1 in a Trauma Center to provide legal consent3 rest with the attending physician alone. When we revise those actions into verbs and reorder them, we get a more coherent narrative: I When a patient appears1 in a Trauma Center and behaves2 so irra- tionally that he cannot legally consent3 to treatment, only the at- tending physician can decide“ whether to medicate5 him. A COMMON PROBLEM SOLVED You’ve probably had this experience: you think you’ve written something good, but your reader thinks Otherwise. You wonder whether that person is just being difficult, but you bite your: tongue and try to fix it, even though you think it should already be 39 Lesson 3 Actions avriting what we want readers to get out of it. That explains why i §tWC_) readers can disagree about the clarity of the same piece Of éwritlng: a reader who knows its content better is likely to think the k éor less informed beholders. i That is why we need to look at our owu writing in a way that is 25L almost mechanical, that sidesteps our too-good understanding of ' . The quickest way is to underline the first seven or eight words WWW of every sentence. If you don’t see 1n those wor s a c aracter as a subject and a verb as a specific action, you have a candidate for revision. Mt FD QUICK TIP: When you revise a longer piece of work, look first at those passages that were hard to write because you didn’t fully understand your ideas. We all tend to write badly when we’re unsure about what we want to say or how to say it. Exercise 3.4 One sentence in each of these pairs is clear, expressing characters as subjects and actions as verbs; the other is indirect, with actions in nominaiizations and characters often not in subjects. First, identify which is which. Then circle nominalizations and highlight verbs. If you are good at grammar, underline subjects. Then put a "c” over characters that seem to perform actions. 1a. Some people argue that atmospheric carbon dioxide does not elevate globai temperature. £0 There has been speculation by educators about the role of the family In improving educational achievement. 1b. 2-2. 2a. Smoking during pregnancy may cause fetal injury. 2b. When we write concisely, readers understand easily. C5 I 3a. Researchers have identified the A105 virus but failed to develop 40 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace 4b. Although critics claim that children who watch a lot of televi- sion tend to become less able readers, no one has demonstrated that to be true. lib 5a. The loss of market share to Japan Eiii/:domestic automakers re- sulted in the Hisfifiéa‘r‘apgéof hundreds of thousands of jobs. Mm—mMM—«mu. 5b. When educators discover how to use computer-assisted instruc- tion. our schools will teach complex subjects more effectively. 6a. We need to know which parts of our national forests are being logged most extensively so that we can save virgin stands at greatest risk. 6b. There is a need for an analysis of iibrary use to provide a reii- same for'the projection of needed resources. 7a. Many professional athletes fail to realize that they are unpre- pared for life after stardom because their teams protect them from the problems that the rest of us adjust to every day. 7b. Colleges now have an understanding that yeariy tuition in— creases are impossible because of st‘f'ofig parental resistafife to the soaring cost of higher education; Exercise 3.5 Now revise the nominalized sentences in Exercise 3.4 into sentences with verbs. Use its paired verbal version as a model. For example, if the verbal sentence begins with when, begin your revision with when: 2a. Smoking during pregnancy may lead to fetal injury. 2b. When we WRITE concisely, readers UNDERSTAND more easily. 2a. When pregnant women SMOKE . . . Sentence to revise: Model: Your revision: Exercise 3.6 0 {>0 («\ifle Revise these next sentences so that the nominalizations are verbs and characters are their subjects. In (1) through (5), characters are italicized and nominalizations are boldfaced. 1. Lincoln’s hope was for the preservation of the Union without war, but the South’s attack on Fort Sumter made war an Lesson 3 Actions 41 4. Yourragajysjs of my report omits any data in support of your critIcIsm of my; findings. " MW“ ”- 5. The health care industry’s inability to exert cost controls (could lea o the publrc’s W" that Congressional aCti”fi‘isufieeded. [M In sentences 6 through 10, the character are italicized; find—the ac- tions and revise. M M 6. A papal appeal was made to the world's rich nations for assis— tance to those facrng the threat of African starvation. 7. Attempts at explaining increases in voter participation in this years elections were made by several candidates. 8. The agreement by the class on the reading list was based on the assumption that there would be tests on only certain selections. 9. There was no independent business-sector study of the cause of the sudden Increase in the trade surplus. 10. An understanding as to the need for controls over drinking on campus was recognized by fraternities. in 11 through 15, only the nominaiizations are boidfaced; find or invent the characters and revise. 11. There is uncertainty at the CIA about North Korean intentions as to cessation of missile testing. 12. Physical conditioning of the team is the responsibility of the coaching staff. ' r»: j 13. Contradictions among the data require an explanation. . H 0 U 6" 14. The Dean‘s rejection of our proposal was a disappointment but not a surprise because our expectation was that a decision had been made. ‘15. Their performance of the play was marked by enthusiasm but lacked intelligent staging. Exercise 3. 7 Revise these sentences. At the end of each is a hint. For example: Congress‘s reduction of the deficit resulted in the decline of interest rates. {because} I interest rates osctmso because Congress REDUCED the deficit. 1. The use of models in teaching prose style does not resuit in r l s a"; 'n\3 - ' I" (é JrThe fact that she ACKNOWLEDGED the problem impressed me. ‘ “‘ Q- xv» 42 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace 3. Any departures by the members from established procedures may cause termination of membership by the Board. [If members. . .] 4. A student's lack of socialization into a field may lead to writing probiems because of his insufficient understanding about argu- ments by professionals in that field. {When . . ., . . . , because. . .] 5. The successful implementation of a new curriculum depends on the cooperation of faculty with students In setting achievable goals within a reasonable time. [To Implement: . ., . . .] "v Two QUALIFICATIONS Useful Nominalizations I have so relentlessly urged you to turn nominalizations into verbs ‘ that you might think you should never use one. But in fact, you can’t write well without them. The trick is to know “duck to keep and which to revise. Keep these: 1. A nominalization as a short subject refers to a previous j tence: L/‘Sfimmx these arguments all depend on a single unproven claim. l'x _,-- i/ This decision can lead to positive outcomes. n a. m. ”ha—“rm"w'” ‘5 / Her acknowledgment of thiefroblem impressed me. a : \L; {33 ‘6? Jr”: ~13 l- . / She IMPRESSED me when she ACKNOWLEDGED the problem. w ____,,__,__._,....... ____... _, H.~m«-—-—- 3. A nominalization names what would be the OBJECT of th verb: But then, why not this: I accepted what she REQUESTED [that is, She requested something] I I accepted her request. Lesson 3 Actions 43 4. A nominalization refers to a concept so familiar to your readers that to them, it is a virtual character (more about this in the next lesson): I Few problems have so divided us as abortion on demand. J The Equal Rights Amendment was an issue in past elections. / Taxation without representation did not spark the American . Revolution. Those nominalizations name familiar concepts: abortion on demand, amendment, election, taxation, representation, revolu— tion. You must develop an eye for distinguishing nominaliza— tions expressing a common idea from those that you can revise into a verb: There is a demand for a repeal of the inheritance tax. / We DEMAND that Congress REPEAI. the inheritance tax. 1 CLARITY, NOT SIMPLEMINDEDNESS : Your readers want you to write clearly, but not in Dick-and—Jane sentences. This was written by a student aspiring to academic sophistication: After Czar Alexander II's emancipation of Russian serfs in 1861, many freed peasants chose to live on communes for purposes of cooperation in agricultural production as well as for social stability. Despite some communes’ attempts at economic and social equalization through the strategy of imposing low economic status on the peasants, which resulted in their reduction to near poverty, a centuries—long history of social distinctions even among serfs prevented social equalization. In his struggle to write clearly, he revised that paragraph intoI In 1861, Czar Alexander II emancipated the Russian serfs. Many of them chose to live on agricultural communes. There they thought they could cooperate with one another in agricultural production. They could also create a stable social structure. The leaders of some of these communes tried to equalize the peasants economically and SOCiaHY- AS one strategy, they tried to impose on all a low economic Rffi‘i‘lt‘: Tl‘laf rprlnnnrl Hung-h iv. “a”... __.-......-_. 1'1- _____ .1 omething that sounds as if it were written by a 12-year—old: a in. of?" 44 Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace Lesson 3 Actions 45 ways to revise too-short, too—simple sentences into a style that is readable but still complex enough to communicate complex ideas. When that student applied those principles to his primer—style sen~ tences, he produced this: :3 When you frustrate those expectations, you make readers work arder than they should have to. So keep these principles in mind as you reuse: y L L a * . l 1. Express actions in verbs: CZ; 4" i Qw- g (1—0" V‘ “Wk 'U" h(\ . _ a, A. c. e, «awn-c i» The intention of the committee is improvem’ent of morale. / The committee INTENDS to improve morale. After Russian serfs were emancipated by Czar Alexander II in 1861, many chose to live on agricultural communes, hoping they could co« operate in working the land and establish a stable social structure. At first, some who led the communes tried to equalize the new peasants socially and economically by imposing on everyone a low economic status, a strategy that reduced them to near poverty. But the com- munes failed to equalize them socially because the serfs had for centuries observed their own social distinctions. Those sentences are lon but clear, because the writer consistently alignedfmajor charactew WW ' \ SUMMING UP 2. Make the subjects of those verbs the characters associated With those actions. I] . S t‘ I A decision by th . e311 in regard to the funding of the program by the departure t IS .ecessary for adequate staff preparation. / The staff CAN PREPARE adequately, only after the dean DECIDES whether the department WILL FUND the program. 3. Don’t revise these nominalizations: a. They refer to a previous sentence: / These arguments all depend on a single unproven claim. b. They replace an awkward The fact that: The fact that she strenuously objected impressed Inc. / Her strenuous objections impressed me. We can represent these principles graphically. As we read, we mentally integrate two levels of sentence structure. One is a rela tively fixed grammatical sequence of subject and verb (the empty box is for everything that follows the verb): The other level of sentence structure is based on its character and their actions. They have no fixed order, but readers prefe them matched to subjects and verbs. We can graphically combine 3 those principles: Character A0130” c. They name what would be the object of a verb: I do not know what she INTENDS. / I do not know her intentions. d. They name a concept so familiar to your readers that it is a Virtual character: ./ Few problems have so divided us as abortion on demand. Fixed / The Equal Rights Amendment was an issue in past elections. Variable Keep in mind that readers want to see characters 13015413? in subject, as in these two: “ ...
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