Summary of Sentence Principles - 1
Fixed Subject | Verb | Complement
Variable Characters | Action | -
1. Express actions and conditions in specific verbs, adverbs or adjectives.
The intention of the committees is the improvement of morale.
The committee intends to improve morale.
There has been effective staff information dissemination control on the
part of the Secretary.
The Secretary has exercised effective staff information dissemination control.
The Secretary has effectively controlled staff information dissemination.
The Secretary has effectively controlled how his staff disseminates
2. When appropriate, make subjects of your verbs characters involved
in those actions.
A decision on the part of the Dean about funding by the Department of its
program must be made for there to be adequate staff preparation.
If the staff is to prepare adequately, the Dean must decide whether
the Department will fund the program.
It was found that data concerning energy resources allocated to the
states were not obtained. This action is needed so that determination
of redirection is permitted on a timely bassis when weather conditions
change. A system must be established so that data on weather conditions
and fuel consumption may be gathered on a regular basis.
We found that the Department of Energy did not obtain data about energy
resources that Federal offices were allocating to the states. The
Department needs these data so that it can determine how to redirect
these resources when conditions change. The Secretary of the Department
must establish a system so that his office can gather data on weather
conditions and fuel consumption on a regular basis.
Which of these better identify the appropriate characters
1a. Because we | knew | nothing about local conditions,
we | could not determine how effectively |
the committee | has allocated funds to areas |
that most needed | assistance.
1b. Our lack of knowledge about local conditions |
determination of committee action effectiveness in fund
allocation to those areas that | most needed | attention.
5a. The current estimate | is | of a 50% reduction in the
introduction of new chemical products in the event that
compliance with the Preliminary Manufacturing Notice
becomes a requirement under proposed Federal legislation.
5b. If Congress | requires | that the
chemical industry | comply with |
the Preliminary Manufacturing Notice,
we | estimate | that
industry | will introduce | 50% fewer new products.
Summary of Sentence Principles - 2
Fixed Topic | Stress
Variable Old/Familiar | New/Unfamiliar
1. Generally, use the beginning of your sentence to refer to what you
have already mentioned or knowledge that you can assume you and your
In other words, readers need familiar information at the beginning of sentences.
The huge number of wounded and dead in the Civil War exceeded all the other
wars in American history. One of the reasons for the lingering animosity
between North and South today is the memory of this terrible carnage.
Of all wars in American History, none has exceeded the Civil War in the
huge number of wounded and dead. The memory of this terrible carnage
is one of the reasons for the animosity between North and South today.
2. Choose topics that will control your reader's point of view.
This depends on creative verbs to make one or another of the characters
the seeming agent of an action.
Four score and seven years ago, this continent witnessed the birth of a
new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition of
our fathers that all men are created equal. Now this Great War that
engages us is testing that nation or any so conceived and so dedicated
can long endure. The War created this great battlefield. A portion
of it is now to be dedicated ...
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a
great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation
so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great
battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate ...
More on choosing topics: Which of these examples better serves the needs
the patient or the physician in the event of possible malpractice.
A patient whose reactions go unmonitored may also claim physician
liability. In this case, a patient took Cloromax as prescribed, which
resulted in partial renal failure. The manufacturer's literature
indicated that the patient should be observed frequently and should
immediately report any sign of inflection. Evidence indicated that the
patient had not received instructions to report any sign of urinary
blockage. Moreover the patient had no white cell count taken until
after he developed blockage.
If a physician does not monitor his patient's reaction, he may be held
liable. In this case, the physician prescribed Cloromax, which caused
the patient to experience partial renal failure. The physician had been
cautioned by the manufacturer's literature that he should observe
the patient frequently and instruct the patient to report any sign of
inflection. Evidence indicates that the physician also failed to
instruct the patient to report any sign of urinary blockage. Moreover,
he failed to take any white cell count until after the patient developed
When Tom and I bumped, my glass dropped, and the juice spilled.
When I bumped into Tom I dropped the glass and spilled the juice.
Your comments and
suggestions are appreciated.
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