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Journalistic Writing

EFFECTIVE SENTENCE:PARALLELISM, NEEDED WORDS, SHIFTS

<< GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES II:SENTENCE FRAGMENTS
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
VU
LECTURE 17
EFFECTIVE SENTENCE
ISSUE 1: UNITY:
Rule: For unity, let your sentence express one main thought with less important thoughts clearly subordinate
to the principle idea.
Weak: Mr. Norris is a well known economist, and she will speak at the October meeting.
Better: Mr. Norris, a well known economist, will speak at the October meeting.
Weak: More people than ever before will be attending this conference and we suggest that you make your
reservations now.
Better: Since more people than ever before will be attending this conference, we suggest that you make
your reservations now.
ISSUE 2: COHERENCE
Rule: When a sentence has coherence, the parts of the sentence fit together in proper relationships so that
there can be no misunderstanding about the intending meanings. To achieve coherence place all modifying
adjectives, adverbs, appositives and prepositional phrases near the words they should modify.
He showed me several wool turtleneck men's sweaters. (Men's wool turtleneck sweaters)
Our team didn't even score once. (Even once)
The robber was described as a six foot tall man with a mustache weighing 150 pounds. (150 pounds six foot
tall man with a mustache.)
When watching a classic film such as Gone with the Wind, commercials are especially irritating. (Dangling
modifiers)
(I find commercials ...) OR (When I am watching ...)
(When the driver opened) Opening the window to let out a huge bumblebee, the car accidentally swerved into
an oncoming car. (Dangling modifiers)
Better: When the driver opened the window to let out a huge bumblebee, the car accidentally swerved into an
oncoming car.
Patients should try to if possible avoid going up and down stairs. (Split infinitive)
Football in America is different from the rest of the world. (Illogical comparison)
Better: Football in America is different from that of the rest of the world.
Private vehicles provide independent transport, freedom and many jobs and they cause pollution, traffic jams,
noise and death. (Illogical connecting)
Private vehicles provide independent transport, freedom and many jobs; however, they cause pollution, traffic
jams, noise and death. (Illogical connecting)
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
VU
ISSUE 3: EMPHASIS
Rule: Since the most emphatic positions in a sentence are the beginning and the ending, the less important
information obviously should be positioned in the middle.
·  Starting with `there', `here', `it' weakens the sentence by delaying the naming of the sentence.
·
Passives also weaken the sentence by shifting the focus on the action and not on the actor.
Before: The airplane reached the speed of sound and it was difficult to control it.
After: As it reached the speed of sound, the airplane was difficult to control.
After: The airplane, when reached the speed of sound, was difficult to control it.
There are several projects that we must finish within this week.
After: Several projects ...
The editor was sent the copy of the letter by the chief editor. (Passive)
After: The chief editor sent the copy of the letter to the editor.
ISSUE 4: PARALLELISM
E1-a
Balance parallel ideas linked with coordinating conjunctions such as and, but, and or.
Theft vandalism and cheating can result in suspension or even being expelled (expulsion)
from school.
David is responsible for stocking merchandise, all in store repairs, writing orders for
delivery, and sales (selling) of computers.
E1-b
Balance parallel ideas linked with correlative conjunctions such as either ... or
The shutters were not only too long also (but also) were too wide.
I was advised either to change my flight or take (to take) the train.
Balance comparisons linked with than or as.
It is easier to speak in abstractions than grounding (to ground) one's thoughts in reality.
Mother could not persuade me that giving is as much a joy as to receive. (receiving)
ISSUE 5 NEEDED WORDS
E2-a
Add words needed to complete compound structures
Some of the regulars are acquaintances whom we see at work or (who) live in our community
I never have (accepted) and never will accept at bribe
E2-b
Add the word that If there is any danger of misreading wrought it.
As Joe began to prepare dinner, he discovered (that) the oven wasn't working properly.
E2-c
Add words needed to make comparisons logical and complete.
Agnes had an attention span longer than her (that of her) sisters.
Henry preferred the restaurants in Pittsburg to Philadelphia.
Chicago is larger than any (other) city in Illinois.
ISSUE 6: SHIFTS
The point of view of a peace of writing is the perspective from which it is written: 1st, 2nd or 3rd person.
One week our class met in a junkyard to practice rescuing a victim trapped in a wrecked car.
We learned to dismantle the car with the essential tools.
You were graded on your speed and your skill in extricating the victim.
Everyone should purchase a lift ticket unless you plan to spend most of your time walking crawling up
a steep hill. (Correct: You should purchase ...)
A police officer is often criticized for always being there when they aren't needed and never being
there are. (Correct: Police officers are ...)
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Journalistic Writing ­ MCM310
VU
My hopes rise and fall as Joseph's heart started and stopped.
The doctors insert a large tube into his chest, and blood flows from the incision onto the floor. The
tube drained some blood from his lung, but it was all in vain.
E4-b
Maintain consistent verb tenses.
My hopes rise (rose) and fall (fell) as Joseph's heart started and stopped. The doctors insert (-ed) a
large tube into his chest, and blood flows (-ed) from the incision onto the floor. The tube drained
some blood from his lung, but it was all in vain. (Tense Shift)
E4-c
Make verbs consistent in mood and voice
The officers advised against allowing access to our homes without proper identification. Also, (They
also suggested that we) alert neighbors to vacation schedules.
E4-d
Avoid sudden shifts from indirect to direct questions or quotations.
I wonder whether the sister knew of the murder, and if so did (whether she reported) she reports it to
the police.
Mother said that she would be late for dinner and (asked me not to) please do not leave for choir
practice until Dad comes home.
Source: Hacker, Dianna. `A Writer's Reference' Boston: St. Martin's Press. 1992.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO JOURNALISTIC WRITING:Practical, THINGS TO KNOW
  2. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  3. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITERS
  4. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Achieve appropriate readability:
  5. QUALITIES OF GOOD WRITING:Be concise, Be creative, Be correct
  6. THE PROCESS OF WRITING:INVENTION, WHEN YOU START TO WRITE
  7. THE PROCESS OF WRITING II:ORGANIZING, DRAFTING, REVISING
  8. ALL ABOUT WORDS:HOW WORDS ARE FORMED?:SUFFIXES
  9. DICTIONARY-A WRITER’S LANGUAGE TOOL:KINDS OF INFORMATION
  10. PARTS OF SPEECH:Noun Gender, Noun Plurals, Countable Nouns
  11. BASIC CLAUSE PATTERNS
  12. ACTIVE AND PASSSIVE VOICE
  13. MODIFIERS AND SENTENCE TYPES:COMPOUND SENTENCES
  14. REPORTED SPEECH:Indirect Questions, Direct commands
  15. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES:SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT
  16. GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE – ISSUES II:SENTENCE FRAGMENTS
  17. EFFECTIVE SENTENCE:PARALLELISM, NEEDED WORDS, SHIFTS
  18. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS I:COLLOQUIAL VS FORMAL, CIRCUMLOCUTION
  19. STYLE: GUIDELINE AND PITFALLS II:AMBIGUITY, REDUNDANCY, EUPHEMISM:
  20. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:STRUCTURE
  21. PARAGRAPH WRITING: TYPES AND TECHNIQUES:Putting on Our Play
  22. ESSAY WRITING:VARIOUS STRATEGIES FOR ESSAYS, PROMPTS
  23. SIGNAL WORDS:Non word Emphasis Signals
  24. EXPOSITORY WRITING:LOGICAL FALLACIES, APPEAL TO EMOTION
  25. THE WRITING STYLES: REPORT and NARRATIVE WRITING, SHORT REPORTS
  26. THE WRITING STYLES: DESCRIPTIVE AND PERSUASIVE WRITINGS, Observation
  27. RESEARCH WRITING AND DOCUMNETING SOURCES:Handling Long Quotations
  28. Summary and Précis Writing:CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD SUMMARY
  29. Punctuation:THE PERIOD, THE COMMA, THE SEMICOLON, THE COLON
  30. MECHANICS:ABBREVIATIONS, NUMBERS, SPELLING, THE HYPHEN
  31. READING SKILLS FOR WRITERS:EDUCATED READING, STEPS
  32. PARTS OF A NEWSPAPER:Box-out, By-line, Caption, Exclusive, Feature
  33. THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEWSPAPERS II:BROADSHEET NEWSPAPER
  34. News Writing and Style I:WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A NEWSPAPER
  35. NEWS WRITING II:Accuracy, Clarity, Style, Qualities of Effective Leads
  36. EDITORIAL WRITING:WRITING AN EDITORIAL:STRUCTURING AN EDITORIAL
  37. WRITING FEATURES:GENERATING FEATURE STORY IDEAS
  38. WRITING COLUMNS:Column and a news report, Purpose, Audience
  39. WRITING ARTICLES FOR NEWSPAPERS:The Heading, The Lead
  40. WRITING ANALYSIS:purpose, scope, method, results, recommendations
  41. LETTERS TO EDITORS:Four important aspects about letters, Organizing letters
  42. BROADCAST AND WEB NEWS WRITING:WRITE CONCISELY, BROADCAST STYLE
  43. WRITING PRESS RELEASE, REVIEWS AND OBITUARIES:Summary of Content:
  44. THE ART OF INTERVIEWINGS
  45. FINAL THOUGHTS:Practical, Job-Related, Social, Stimulating, Therapeutic