Making your Writing Flow, Part I

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Making your Writing Flow, Part I

  1. 1. Making Your Writing Flow<br />A Writing Center On-Line Short Course<br />By John Tiedemann<br />University Writing Program<br />University of Denver<br />Part I<br />
  2. 2. What is “flow”?<br />
  3. 3. What is “flow”?<br />“Flow” refers to a combination of things.<br />
  4. 4. What is “flow”?<br />“Flow” refers to a combination of things.<br />Logic<br />
  5. 5. What is “flow”?<br />“Flow” refers to a combination of things.<br />Logic<br />Organization<br />
  6. 6. What is “flow”?<br />“Flow” refers to a combination of things.<br />Logic<br />Organization<br />Sentence-level composition: grammar and style<br />
  7. 7. Grammar and Style<br />
  8. 8. Grammar and Style<br />Grammar is about rules.<br />
  9. 9. Grammar and Style<br />Grammar is about rules.<br />Style is about choices.<br />
  10. 10. Grammar and Style<br />Grammar is about rules.<br />Style is about choices.<br />What follows are some principles for making good choices.<br />
  11. 11. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />WORDINESS: When there are words in your sentences that don’t add anything to the sentences’ meaning. <br />
  12. 12. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />WORDINESS: When there are words in your sentences that don’t add anything to the sentences’ meaning. <br />“Wordy” is the opposite of “concise.”<br />
  13. 13. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />Wordy: The dogs who were barking outside in the alley next to my house kept me up and awake all night long.<br />
  14. 14. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />Wordy: The dogs who were barking outside in the alley next to my house kept me up and awake all night long.<br /> <br />Concise: The barking dogs in the alley kept me up all night.<br />
  15. 15. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />Wordy: My sister is a nice, kind person who cannot understand or comprehend how other people in our town can be so mean and cruel to people.<br />
  16. 16. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />Wordy: My sister is a nice, kind person who cannot understand or comprehend how other people in our town can be so mean and cruel to people.<br /> <br />Concise:My sister is a nice person who cannot understand how others can be so mean. <br />
  17. 17. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />Wordy: The struggle for liberty and freedom is a struggle that has gone on for a very long time indeed.<br />
  18. 18. 1. Eliminate wordiness.<br />Wordy: The struggle for liberty and freedom is a struggle that has gone on for a very long time indeed.<br /> <br />Concise: The struggle for liberty has gone on for a long time.<br />
  19. 19. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />
  20. 20. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions . . . <br />
  21. 21. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions . . . <br />
  22. 22. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions . . . <br />
  23. 23. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions . . . <br />
  24. 24. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions AS WELL AS non-physical actions.<br />
  25. 25. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions AS WELL AS non-physical actions.<br />BELIEVING<br />
  26. 26. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions AS WELL AS non-physical actions.<br />BELIEVING CARING<br />
  27. 27. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term ACTION here includes physicalactions AS WELL AS non-physical actions.<br />BELIEVING CARING ANALYZING<br />
  28. 28. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term CONDITION refers to a “state of being.” <br />
  29. 29. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term CONDITION refers to a “state of being.” <br />The sun is larger than the moon.<br />
  30. 30. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term CONDITION refers to a “state of being.” <br />The sun is larger than the moon.<br />Tom is angry.<br />
  31. 31. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />The term CONDITION refers to a “state of being.” <br />The sun is larger than the moon.<br />Tom is angry.<br />Calculus is a challenging subject.<br />
  32. 32. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />ABSTRACT NOUNS are verbs turned into nouns.<br />
  33. 33. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />ABSTRACT NOUNS are verbs turned into nouns.<br />“investment”  “to invest” <br />
  34. 34. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />ABSTRACT NOUNS are verbs turned into nouns.<br />“investment”  “to invest” <br />“interpretation” “to interpret” <br />
  35. 35. 2. Be concrete.<br />To express actions and conditions, use specific verbs, adverbs, or adjectives rather than abstract nouns.<br />ABSTRACT NOUNS are verbs turned into nouns.<br />“investment”  “to invest” <br />“interpretation”  “to interpret” <br />“sight” “to see”<br />
  36. 36. 2. Be concrete.<br />Abstract: We had a discussion of the matter. <br />
  37. 37. 2. Be concrete.<br />Abstract: We had a discussion of the matter. <br />Concrete:We discussed the matter.<br />
  38. 38. 2. Be concrete.<br />Abstract: We had a discussion of the matter. <br />Concrete:We discussed the matter.<br />Abstract: A review was done of the relevant regulations.<br />
  39. 39. 2. Be concrete.<br />Abstract: We had a discussion of the matter. <br />Concrete:We discussed the matter.<br />Abstract: A review was done of the relevant regulations.<br />Concrete:The team reviewed the relevant regulations.<br />
  40. 40. 2. Be concrete.<br />Abstract: We had a discussion of the matter. <br />Concrete:We discussed the matter.<br />Abstract: A review was done of the relevant regulations.<br />Concrete:The team reviewed the relevant regulations.<br />Abstract: The intention of the committee is the improvement of the company morale.<br />
  41. 41. 2. Be concrete.<br />Abstract: We had a discussion of the matter. <br />Concrete:We discussed the matter.<br />Abstract: A review was done of the relevant regulations.<br />Concrete:The team reviewed the relevant regulations.<br />Abstract: The intention of the committee is the improvement of the company morale.<br />Concrete:The committee intends to improve company morale.<br />
  42. 42. 3. Match subjects and agents.<br />When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />
  43. 43. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />VERB: A word that describes an action or condition: “walking,” “raining,” “believing,” “analyzing,” “is [x],” “is [y].” . . . <br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  44. 44. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />SUBJECT: The word or phrase in the sentence that names who or what is doing/being what the verb describes.<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  45. 45. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />SUBJECT: The word or phrase in the sentence that names who or what is doing/being what the verb describes.<br />Ellen walked to class today.<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  46. 46. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />SUBJECT: The word or phrase in the sentence that names who or what is doing/being what the verb describes.<br />Ellen walked to class today.<br />“Ellen”  “walked”<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  47. 47. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />SUBJECT: The word or phrase in the sentence that names who or what is doing/being what the verb describes.<br />When she was a child, Jennifer believed in the tooth fairy.<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  48. 48. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />SUBJECT: The word or phrase in the sentence that names who or what is doing/being what the verb describes.<br />When she was a child, Jennifer believed in the tooth fairy.<br />“she”  “was” “Jennifer”  “believed”<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  49. 49. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />SUBJECT: The word or phrase in the sentence that names who or what is doing/being what the verb describes.<br />Martin is the funniest guy I know.<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  50. 50. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />SUBJECT: The word or phrase in the sentence that names who or what is doing/being what the verb describes.<br />Martin is the funniest guy I know.<br />“Martin”  “is” “I”  “know”<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  51. 51. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />In 1956, Elvis recorded the song “Blue Suede Shoes.”<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  52. 52. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />In 1956, Elvis recorded the song “Blue Suede Shoes.”<br />Subject = the word “Elvis” <br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  53. 53. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />In 1956, Elvis recorded the song “Blue Suede Shoes.”<br />Subject = the word “Elvis” Agent = <br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  54. 54. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />“Blue Suede Shoes” was recorded by Elvis in 1956.<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  55. 55. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />“Blue Suede Shoes” was recorded by Elvis in 1956.<br /> Agent = <br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  56. 56. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />“Blue Suede Shoes” was recorded by Elvis in 1956.<br />Subject = the word “Elvis” Agent = <br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  57. 57. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />The relationship between art and politics is always changing. <br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  58. 58. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />The relationship between art and politics is always changing. <br />Subject = The phrase “the relationship between art and politics”<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  59. 59. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />The relationship between art and politics is always changing. <br />Subject = The phrase “the relationship between art and politics”<br />Agent =<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />the idea of the relationship between two other ideas, art and politics<br />
  60. 60. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />It’s hard to define the relationship between art and politics. <br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />
  61. 61. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />It’s hard to define the relationship between art and politics. <br />Agent =<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />the idea of the relationship between two other ideas, art and politics<br />
  62. 62. When it is appropriate, make the subjectof your verb the agentof the action the verb describes.<br />AGENT:The actual who or what is performing the action or in the condition that the verb describes. <br />It’s hard to define the relationship between art and politics. <br />Subject = “It.”<br />Agent =<br />3. Match subjects and agents.<br />the idea of the relationship between two other ideas, art and politics<br />
  63. 63. End of Part I lecture<br />Complete the exercises you were emailed, and email the results back to me:<br />John.Tiedemann@du.edu<br />Key points are available as a PDF on Blackboard, in the Course Documents folder.<br />

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