A Clear and Logical Sentence
A clear and correct sentence is easily understood.
The statement that is inherent in every sentence
conveys facts and ideas that usually answer
certain essential questions posed by the five W’s
and the one H. Who? What? Where? When?
Why? and How?
A. Thousands of people jam lotto outlets
throughout Metro Manila every Wednesday
and Saturday in a last minute rush to buy
tickets for the day’s draw.
Who jam the lotto outlets ? Where are
these outlets? When does this happen?
What do the people want to buy?
B. Anybody can be a millionaire by winning the
Who can be a millionaire? How can anybody be
If the sentence gives confusing answers, it should
be rewritten. The sentence must be clear, direct,
logical. A sentence with mixed ideas not only
confuses the reader but also blurs the main point.
Therefore, you may have to spot what exactly is
the main idea and delete the irrelevant details.
Cause and Effect Relationship
Confusion may arise when two unrelated ideas are
mixed together in one sentence.
*It’s time to dust off those bathing suits or
swimming trunks because summer is here and
the terrorist are back.
(There is no connection between the coming of
summer and the return of the terrorist.)
* If you see her, she is beautiful.
(This implies that if you do not see her, she is not
These are statements that make use of faulty
generalizations with the use of words as all,
Some Filipinos have become so ultra-modern today
that they now favor living-in or trial marriage.
Some Filipinos, especially the youth, have
become so ultra-modern today that they now
favor living-in or trial marriage.
Use of Idioms and Figurative Language
The use of clinch in an effort to be colorful
may lead to non-originality or a dead language.
What is worse is when it results in confusion and
creates utter misunderstanding between writer and
Confusing: He is a nut hard to crack and life is no
bed of roses.
Corrected: He is a strong-willed fellow who knows
about life’s harsh realities.
Use of Context Clues
The cardinal word is: never define a word by
using the same word or its cognates. Certainly, you
should avoid repetitions of the word being defined.
Wrong: Democracy is a democratic government.
Correct: Democracy is a form of government whose
powers emanate from the people.
A Unified Sentence
This is a sentence which has only one
particular purpose. Whatever component parts a
sentence may have, everything results in only one
particular intention or impression. With simple
sentences achieving unity may not be so difficult.
All that may be done are:
1. Once a subject is used, see to it that the
predicates talks about it.
2. Make the verb agree with the subject and
the pronoun with its antecedent.
3. Put in parallel and uniform structures
compounded subjects, verbs and objects.
A Coherent Sentence
This means that a sentence should have all its
component parts hold on to each other. From
word to word, phrase to phrase, clause to
clause, between or among them, proper
relationships must always establish. Success in
unity leads to coherence. But more than that,
particularly in compound, complex and
compound complex structures, tense and voice.
This also requires proper coordination and
subordination of clauses as well as proper
positioning of modifiers to establish good
An Emphatic Sentence
Emphasis here means only one focus. Whatever
units of thought a sentence may contain,
everything must be so properly tied to reflect
only one developed thought. Whatever
grammatical parts it may contain everything must
be so positioned that the most important part
comes out dominant and the least important one
Again, in simple sentences, observance of
this may not be as much of a problem as that in the
compound, complex, and compound-complex
sentences, because as it is generally gives one
major thought. In compound sentences, in as much
as both or all the clauses involved are equal of
rank, parallel and uniform structuring is very
In complex sentences, there should be a
proper play-up of the more important thought over
the less important one through the use of effective
As defined, the above characteristics appear
very much related to one another. The
achievement of one appears to be the achievement
of the other.
An Accurate Sentence
Accuracy here refers to the sentence
grammatical correctness according to
standard English yardstick. This calls again
for agreement of subject and verb, of the verb
tense and the adverb of time, of pronoun and
its antecedent and other pertinent
An Appropriate Sentence
A good speech requires appropriateness. So
does a good sentence. This means speaking
or writing in sentences which consider well
status, age, sex, of the person talked to, and
the occasion, connection with appropriacy is
that what may be taken as appropriate in one
given communication situation may not be so
in another. Some typical examples are the
1. While in a Laboratory Room Jenny can say:
“Alice, look at the worms. They all enjoy
nipping the flesh of the durian. Let us
scoop a couple of them and examine them
through the microscope.”
In a dining room before the dining table
during mealtime. Jenny must not say
anything like that. That would be
2. While Terry can say: “Fely, come join me,”
because Fely is his friend, of his age, and a
fellow student., he cannot just say so the
same to Miss Vasquez because she is his
teacher. The appropriate approach would
be: “Would you care to join me, Miss
An Acceptable Sentence
It can be safely said that an appropriate
sentence is likewise an acceptable sentence.
Between and among bosom friends, anything
said, wise or otherwise, may just be
acceptable but in many instances, it may not
be so. Example of this may be as follows:
1. While Wilson can say, “You’re really
crazy,” to Rene and Rene may not mind it
at all, because they are old friends,
definitely Wilson cannot say that to
Lawrence, a new officemate.
2. To say “You look younger in short skirts,”
is acceptable than to say, “You look older
in long skirts.”
IMPORTANT WAYS TO A GOOD
This sentence, being rated here as good,
is that which is not only complete in thought
but also in part. Excluded here are those words,
phrases, and clause sentences can just be
accepted as appropriate, acceptable, and
accurate, depending on time, place, occasion,
and other communication circumstances.
Recommendations to make a good sentence are
Guard the sentence against being fragmentary.
Guard against run-on, over loaded or empty.
Do not shift into different perspectives.
Avoid misplaced and dangling modifiers.
Observe parallel and uniform construction.
Observe proper coordination and subordination.
Guarding against being Fragmentary
The ability to recognize sentence fragments will
help you write good sentences. As sentence
fragments not only break, grammatical rules but
also raise barriers to clear communication, one’s
ability to recognize said fragments can prevent his
falling into this communication barriers.
A sentence fragment is a part of the sentence that
is punctuated as if it were a complete sentence.
Often these fragments sneak into your
speech or writing and act as confusing breaks to
the smooth flow of your sentence.
Sentence fragments may be one of the
a. The statement that results from the dependent
clause is punctuated as though it were a complete
Sentence: Changed is a way of life.
Sentence: Because change is a way of life.
This may be corrected in two ways: by
eliminating the dependency word or by adding an
independent clause to make a complete sentence.
Change is a way of life.
Because change is a way of life, let us learn
how to adapt to it.
b. a group of words that has no subject or predicate
Incorrect : The office where my father works.
Correct : The office where my father works is
spacious and beautifully furnished.
Incorrect :Hoping that you’re enjoying your
Correct :Hoping that you are enjoying your
vacation, here’s some extra money for
more souvenirs, Or, I hope you are
enjoying your vacation.
Incorrect: To see you looking happy.
Correct: To see you looking happy is enough to
make me happy too.
Or, My one wish in life is to see you
c. A long infinitive phrase may sometimes be
mistaken for a complete sentence.
Incorrect : This is my dream. To see your prosper.
Correct : My dream is to see you prosper.
d. An appositive phrase may sometimes be written
incorrectly as a complete sentence.
Fragment :My health, the only precious possession
I have in this world.
Sentence My health is the only precious possession
I have in this world.
Fragment : Jocelyn, my very optimistic friend.
Sentence Jocelyn is my very optimistic friend.
Fragments with “…ing” “…ed”, verb forms but
with no predicate verbs are the trickiest kinds of
fragments to identify, in place of a verb a
participle is used.
Fragment: Raffy dribbling the ball in the
Sentence Raffy is dribbling the ball in the
Avoiding being Run-On, Overloaded, Empty
A run-on sentence is a sentence with two or more
sentences written as one sentence. If a sentence
fragment is less than a sentence, a run-on sentence
is more. There are two kinds of run-on sentence.
The fused sentence in which two sentences are run
together without any punctuation, and the comma
splice in which two sentences are linked with a
a. Two simple sentences may make up a run-on
Fused Sentence: The laughter drowned out the
speaker we could hardly hear him.
Comma Splice: The laughter drowned out the
speaker, we could hardly hear him.
b. A compound sentence can be run into a
Fused Sentence: She teaches literature and he
teaches humanities, they seldom see eye to
Comma Sentence: She teaches literature and
he teaches humanities, they seldom see
eye to eye.
A complex sentence can also be incorrectly
combined with a simple or compound
Fused Sentence: When insurgency first started
in this country, people were not keen on the
havoc it would bring they simply ignored it.
Comma Sentence: When insurgency first
started in this country, people were not keen on
the havoc it would bring, they simply ignored it
Here are some ways to correct each of these
1.Divide the run-on into separate sentences.
a)The laughter drowned out the speaker. We
could hardly hear him.
b)She teaches literature and he teaches
humanities. They seldom see eye to eye.
c)When insurgency first started in the country,
people were not keen on the havoc it could
bring; they simply ignored it.
2. You could use a semi-colon instead of a period if
the sentences are closely related.
a) The laughter drowned out the speaker; we could
hardly hear him.
b) She teaches literature and he teaches
humanities; they seldom see eye to eye.
c) When insurgency first started in the country,
people were not keen on the havoc it could
bring; they simply ignored it.
3. You could also correct a run-on sentence by
adding a coordinating conjunction (and, but,
or,) between clauses.
a) The laughter drowned out the speaker and we
could hardly hear him.
b) She teaches literature and he teaches
humanities but they seldom see eye to eye.
c) When insurgency first started in the country,
people were not keen on the havoc it could
bring and they simply ignored it.
Words like “however,” “also,” “therefore,” and
“thus,” are conjunctive adverbs. Use a semi-colon
before a conjunctive adverb and a comma after it
when it comes between two independent clauses.
The laughter drowned out the speaker;
therefore, we could hardly hear him.
4. In some cases you add a dependency word and
make one of the sentences a dependent clause.
a)Because the laughter drowned out the speaker, and
we could hardly hear him.
An Overload Sentence
When you try to cram too much information
into one sentence, the result is an overloaded
sentence. Overloaded sentences are so
crowded that too often important thoughts are
The reader’s attention is pulled in all
directions and he becomes distracted by the
many ideas presented to him.
To fix such sentences, study the following
a)Decide on the main ideas.
b)Decide which of them can be combined into
c)Write these ideas in one sentence.
d)Write a separate sentence for the other ideas.
e)Write simply and clearly, avoiding wordiness.
The following sentences try to say too much.
Notice the revisions and be sure you understand the
reason for the changes.
Overload : To me sleeping is fascinating because I
consider it as a time of sweet dreams that can come in
a very special place or it may be a place I am thinking
of, it may be a place that does not exist at all.
Revised : To me sleeping is fascinating because I
consider it as time of sweet dreams. These dreams can
come in a very special place or I happen to be
thinking of. They may even be a place that does
not exist at all.
Overloaded: I love all kinds of books, and it makes no
difference to me whether other people consider a
book. I may choose a drab, as long as I like it.
Revised : I love all kinds of books. It makes no
difference to me whether other people consider my
choices as drab.
We should eliminate words that add only weight to
our sentences and make them redundant and
boring. Look at these examples.
at eight P.M in the evening
return again next week
in my opinion, I think
green in color
a former ex-soldier
three-sided triangle 66
the surrounding environment
school drop-outs now of school
unmarried single girl
ancient antiques for sale
Some common phrases may also be eliminated
because they are considered burdensome and need
some substitutions. Study this list taken from the
at the present time
in the present circumstances use now, today 67
at this point or nowadays
in this day and age
at that point in time
in those days use then
in that period
in many cases use often
in some cases sometimes
in exceptional cases rarely, usually
in most cases
consider as/consider as being use: I consider a
I consider a college degree college degree
as being necessary to necessary to
Despite the fact that use: although
Regardless of the fact that
Due to the fact that
For the purpose of use: because
By virtue of the fact that
The reason is because
In a position to/in order to use: can
In the area of use: near or in
In the event that
In the event of use: if with a verb
In case of
In the final analysis use: finally
In no uncertain terms use: firmly or clearly
In the nature of use: like or
Things of that nature things like that
Refer back use: refer
She is of a generous nature she is generous
The car is of green color the car is green
The weather condition is bad the weather is bad
Traffic conditions are congested traffic is congested 71
An Empty Sentence
This is a sentence that says too little. Grammatically,
it is complete but it is lacking in ideas, in
substance. It contains words that repeat the idea
found elsewhere in the sentence. Here the writer
apparently does not take the trouble to think about
what he wants to say; therefore he actually ends
where he has started.
Empty: The Filipino teenager prefers rock
music to the kundiman because he really enjoys
Revised: The Filipino teenager prefers rock music
to the kundiman because he likes rock beat and its
lyrics express his feelings.
Clear sentences are a result of clear thinking.
Successful writers are people who have made efforts
to write sentences with sense. Their thoughts and
ideas are expressed in sentences that are neither
overloaded nor empty.
The facts and ideas that are conveyed are logically
arranged in compact statements which are just right
because the relationships of words are beyond
Empty sentences are a result of haste or careless
thinking. If you intend to be effective in your
sentences, fill in the empty ideas with logic and
C. AVOIDING SHIFTING IN PERSPECTIVES
This refers to a shift in voice, tense, person, and
number. It creates an imbalance that is clearly
related to faulty parallelism. An abrupt shift can
cause confusion and should, therefore, be
1. Shift from Active to Passive
If a sentence begins with the active voice, it
should finish in the active.
Confusing: I asked an intelligent question but no
answer was received.
Clear: I asked an intelligent question but received no
Confusing: She went up the stage and a song was
Clear: She went up the stage and sang.
2. Shift From Past to Present Tense
For clearness and consistency, a sentence that starts
in the present tense should continue in the present.
A sentence that uses the past tense in the beginning
should end with the past.
Confusing: I was reading my book quietly when the
stranger sits down next to me and starts whistling.
Clear: I was reading my book quietly when the
stranger sat down next to me and started whistling.
Confusing: Dodong was a strong farm boy who
falls in love and got married when he is only
Clear: Dodong is a strong farm boy who falls
in love and gets married when he is only seventeen.
3. Shift From Singular To Plural
You should also observe consistency in number.
Confusing: When a person is in trouble, they are
Clear: When a person is in trouble, he is usually
Confusing: If the ladies do not come on time, she will
be left behind.
Clear: If the ladies do not come in time, they will be
left behind. 79
4. Shift From One Person To Another
You should not shift needlessly from one person
Confusing: We love freedom but one does not
always cooperate to attain it.
Clear: We love freedom but we do not always
cooperate to attain it.
5. Shift From Statement to Question
Confusing: In the story “Footnote to Youth,”
Dodong had to decide whether he should give
Blas permission to marry or should he stop him.
Clear: In the story “Footnote to Youth,”
Dodong had to decide whether he should give
Blas permission to marry or whether he should
These shifts tend to occur most often in narrative
writing when you are asked to write a piece of
fiction, an autobiographical account, a précis or
summary of someone else’s ideas, or a plot
D. Avoiding Misplaced And Dangling Modifiers
These weaknesses in sentence building arise from
defective ordering of grammatical structures in a
sentence, particularly the ordering of the objectives
and adverbs in their word, phrase or clause forms.
Carelessness in positioning any of the modifiers
results in confusing and sometimes funny
Adjective Modifiers – these are words, phrases or
clauses that modify a noun or pronoun. The
general rule here is that the word adjectives are
placed immediately before the noun or the pronoun
being modified while the phrase or the close
adjective is placed immediately before the noun or
the pronoun being modified while the phrase or the
clause adjective is placed immediately after.
Television stations reported the good news.
Radio stations in the provinces broadcast the news
that may did not like.
The house which Joker built was sold to the
A case of a misplaced modifier therefore comes out
when any of these words, phrases or clauses are
placed distant from the noun or pronoun meant to
Consider this example:
“Radio and television stations reported the news
that the hijackers had freed their prisoners all
over the world.”
Because the student who wrote this sentence
separated the modifier “all over the world” from
the noun (stations) it is supposed to modify, this
sentence implies that the hijackers had freed
prisoners all over the world.
The corrected sentence would look like this:
“Radio and television all over the world reported
the news that the hijackers had freed their
If you read your sentence carefully, you can spot
most of the misplaced word, phrase, or clause
errors. It is very important that you make sure
your sentences say exactly what you want them to
– these are also words, phrases, or clauses that
modify the verb, the adjective, or another adverb.
Adverb modifiers of adjective and another adverb
also stand close or immediately before said
adjective and adverb. But adverb modifiers of a verb
find themselves in several junctions in the sentence
either after the object of the verb or between the
subject and the verb. Look at the following
I read an amazingly interesting book.
The terribly difficult question in the test caused a
The guest arrived early.
We met in the Conference room.
They often clash about principles.
I always feel the pressure of my major
Surprisingly, he showed up at the party.
Eventually, the moment of truth will come.
Cindy buys her stockings in Tokyo.
She sips her morning juice by the poolside of
Manila Fiesta Pavillion.
Clause adverbs are actually subordinate clauses in
the sentence; they may be placed before or after
the main clause.
When the shooting started, we stopped the car.
We stopped the car when the shooting started.
There is no difference in the basic meaning
between these two sentences. The important
difference between the two is the creation of
suspense in the first sentence.
When several clauses are used in one
sentence, place them one after another or one
clause within another. The reader, though,
must store in his memory, the beginning of the
clause so that he can integrate the whole
When a part of the sentence is left hanging in the
air, we have a dangler. A dangler modifier is a
participle, an infinitive, or an elliptical clause that
does not refer clearly to any word or phrase in the
sentence. The dangling construction which relates
to words it cannot logically modify not only
embarrasses the writer but also misleads the
Observe these sentences:
Reading the newspaper, the telephone rang.
(This sentence says that the telephone was
reading the newspaper)
To understand the subject the book must be
(This sentence says that the book must understand
Dangling Elliptical Clause
While waiting for a ride, the rain poured.
(This sentence says that the rain was waiting for a
To correct a dangling infinitive, supply a noun or
pronoun for the infinitive to modify by rewriting
the clause that follows:
Wrong: To understand the subject, the book
must be studied carefully.
Correct: To understand the subject, you must
study the book carefully.
To correct a dangling elliptical clause, supply the
missing words that made the clause elliptical.
Wrong: While waiting for a ride, the rain
Correct: While Jimmy was waiting for a ride, the
E.Observing Parallel And Uniform Construction.
In any context, it suggests similarity of angle,
direction, and form. When the parts of a sentence
match grammatically and uniform structures can
be identified as a repetition of words, phrases, or
clauses, it can be appropriately pointed out here
that not all repetitious writing is bad. It is not the
monotonous or needless repetitions that you
should avoid. Repetition of grammatical patterns
to express sameness of ideas so that parallel ideas
appear in parallel form is desirable. It makes your
Observe the parallel and uniform construction in the
Filipinos love freedom and democracy.
If we wish to succeed, we should be diligent,
conscientious, patient, and persevering.
I learned three things this semester: how to
organize a research, how to write a term
paper, and how to type a manuscript.
Beth is a popular with her friends, with her
teachers, and with her relatives.
In Subordinate Clause :
Because you have been a good athlete, and
because you have done your best, you
deserve a medal at the end of the
If I finish my work early, if you promise to
pick me up, and if it does not rain, I will
come to your concert.
She ran upstairs, turned on the radio,
gathered her favorite magazine and settled
on the sofa.
The man entered the bar, demanded a glass
of whiskey, drank it hurriedly, and left
without paying the bartender.
In Independent Clause :
I came, I saw, I conquered.
When we get sick, we want an uncommon doctor.
When we go to war, we yearn for an uncommon
general or admiral.
When we choose the president of a great
university, we want an uncommon educator.
The coordinating conjunctions and but
and or join structures of equal grammatical
value: that is noun and noun, verb and verb,
phrase and phrase, clause and clause and so
When the elements of a sentence are not
grammatically balanced faulty parallelism
Faulty: Cecile wants loyalty form her
friends and to be appreciated
for her efforts.
Correct Cecile wants loyalty from her
friends and appreciation for her
Faulty: Everyone needs love and to be
Correct Everyone needs love and
Faulty: Julie requested that I help her
with her Math problems and
another explanation to the
Correct: Julie requested that I help her
with her Math problems and that I
explain the procedure again.
Certain contexts, especially those that involve
comparison or contrasts, call for parallel and
uniform structures. A series of elements separated
by commas within a sentence should be parallel.
Faulty: The general was tall, intelligent,
and he was respected by all.
Correct: The general was tall, intelligent,
The two halves of a compound sentence should be
Faulty: Stevan Javellana wrote Without
Seeing the Dawn and Tree is by F.
Correct: Stevan Javellana wrote Without
Seeing the Dawn and F. Sionil
Jose wrote Tree.
Without Seeing the Dawn is by Stevan Javellana
and Tree is by F. Sionil Jose.
Certain sets of words or phrases signal a series
of related statements and call for parallel and
not only … but also
first … second
both … and
either … or
neither … nor
Faulty: The President not only vetoed the
bill but also he was against too
much government spending.
Correct: The President not only vetoed the
bill but also warned against too
much government spending.
To achieve parallelism and uniformity, you need to
match verbs, nouns, prepositions, phrases or other
elements of your sentence. See this work in
examination questions and classified ads.
Example of an examination question:
Discuss each character’s emotional problems,
describe his or her attempts to cope with
and evaluate the success of those attempts.
Example of classified ad:
College students with desire to learn sales
technique in cosmetics industry, ability
to make phone contacts, and interest to travel
some key cities.
F. Observing Proper Coordination And
Sentences are composed of a series of words,
phrases or clauses. The relationships between
these elements should be made clear to reader.
When these words, phrases, or clauses come in
equal rank or importance, they should be
coordinated. Coordination therefore, is the
process used when structures of the same kind are
joined in a sentence. The joiner word is called a
To link the coordinate elements of your
sentence, you may use the coordinating
conjunctions and, or, but, nor, yet; the correlative
conjunctions both, and, either…or, neither…nor,
so, not only…but also, weather…or; the
conjunctive adverbs accordingly, also, besides,
consequently, nevertheless, namely, indeed,
Words: Their business is buy and sell.
She loves ice cream and
Phrases: He came running down the
corridor and into the
All she wanted was to go
home and to brush her teeth.
Although the exam was difficult and although I was
feeling sick, I got a passing grade.
Since we are good friends and since she has no one
to turn to, I invited her to stay with me.
Either you sell your land or you give it free.
Not only is he intelligent but also good looking.
The boy is sick; therefore, he must rest.
I think you are right; nevertheless; I will not do as
Coordinating Subordinate Clauses
Coordinating conjunctions may also link two or
more subordinate clauses. They work the same
way for subordinate clauses as they do for phrases
or for independent clauses.
Observe the following examples:
Although I believe you are right and although
everyone also thinks so, I don’t think I will follow
Not only the way you speak but also the way you
walk make your appear very sexy.
After you finish college or after you become
financially independent, you may do as you
In front of our house but behind the school
building is the children’s playground.
Coordinating conjunctions connect similar
and but or for nor yet
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs:
not only…but also either…or
both…and whether…or 118
Conjunctive adverbs are used to join main
clauses. They are preceded by a semicolon and
followed by a comma.
Accordingly consequently furthermore
Hence however moreover
Nevertheless otherwise than
Therefore yet also
Subordinate Conjunctions – are used to
introduce adverb clauses and link them to the
main clauses. They make clear what exactly the
relation between the two clauses. The chief
relation they show are time, place, cause, result,
exception, condition and alternative.
after although as as long as
as though because if
in order that provided as if
so that than though
till before unless
until whatever when
since whenever where
Materials of less importance are subordinated (or
put in their proper place) by the use of clauses,
participial phrases and appositives. Subordinating
conjunctions introduce the adverbial clauses.
Writing the correct subordinating conjunction as a
substitute for the meaningless makes effective and
Weak: Bert knew all the answers and he recited
Better: Knowing all the answers, Bert recited
Weak: Rita was the prettiest and the most
intelligent and she easily won the
Binibining Pilipinas title.
Better: Since Rita was the prettiest and the most
intelligent, she easily won the
Binibining Pilipinas title.(adverb
Subordination may also be used to join related
Fair: The computer machine is a big office
aid. It makes an ordinary job exciting.
Improved: The computer machine, which is a big
office aid, makes an ordinary job
Fair: Erick wants to become a soldier. He
studies at the Philippine Military
Improved: Erick, who wants to become a soldier
studies at the Philippine Military
Academy. (adjective clauses) 123
Instead of writing short, choppy sentences, choose
one idea for the sentence of independent clause,
and subordinate the other ideas.
Choppy: The Philippines, discovered in 1521, is a
series of islands, the three biggest of which are
Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Subordination: The Philippines, discovered in
1521, is a series of islands, the three biggest of
which are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Choppy: Joey dela Cruz is the union president.
Joey dela Cruz is furious. He will lead
Subordination: The furious union president, Joey
dela Cruz, will lead a protest.
Faulty subordination results when an important
idea placed in the subordination clause.
Faulty: Dick suffered a big
disappointment, flunking his
Improved: Flunking his exams, Dick suffered
a big disappointment.
A paragraph is a sentence or a group of sentences
developing a single idea or unit of thought. A
sentence is also a unit of thought but while a
sentence expresses an idea, a paragraph develops
an idea. Although it is possible to have one
paragraph functioning as a whole composition, an
exhaustive composition usually has several
logically organized paragraphs, explaining or
giving details to support the controlling idea or
thesis of the composition.
WRITING A PARAGRAPH
Composing a paragraph is one communication
activity which can prove very exciting and
fulfilling for a student to whom any educational
undertaking is always a most welcome task. This
kind of activity often proves difficult as it
demands of the composer a great deal of mental
discipline coupled with a considerable degree of
creativity and know-how in putting down thoughts
together. However, as soon as one wholly sets
himself to it, the pen will write and having written,
will move on and having moved on, one gets the
Doing this may depend on the writer’s personal skill
in it. However, if help is needed, the following
steps are offered. These are proven very helpful in
achieving a well-organized and meaningful
1. Pitch your point
This means figure out very well what you want to
drive home to your reader or listener and lay it
Example of a point:
Market Day was usually a Bargain Day Sale
Day in Santa Barbara.
2. Support Your Point
This means that you need to back up your point with
explanations, proofs or reasons that will help bring
home a desired message.
Example of supporting sentences:
All prime commodities get sold at relatively low
The same was true with the prices of luxury
Generally, customers is able to buy every items
cheaper by as much as twenty five percent.
3. Write Your Paragraph In Style.
To do this, you should need to use effective word
and expressions. Thus, the need to use action
words, specific names, coloring words, radiant or
glowing expressions and other language devices
every time needed and possible.
Example of styling:
Market Day was usually a Bargain Sale Day
in Santa Barbara. Rice, fish, meat, vegetables,
sugar and oil gets sold at relatively low prices.
The same was true with the prices of trinkets,
handbags, fans, headbands, ribbons and flowers.
Generally, customers is able to buy every items
cheaper by as much as twenty five percent.
In styling, the general expression “All prime
commodities” was reduced into specifics--“Rice,
fish, meat, vegetables, sugar and oil” while
“luxury items” a likewise general term, is reduced
to specific trinkets, handbags, fans, headbands,
ribbons and flowers._ If further desired, the above
specifics can still be reduced so that “rice” may be
“fish”, milkfish; “meat”, beef; “vegetables”,
eggplants; and so forth.
4. Make It Grammatically Correct.
This means that you guard your paragraph against
grammatical errors or weed it out of grammatical
Example of Grammatical Correction:
Market Day is usually a Bargain sale Day in Santa
Barbara. Rice, fish, meat, vegetables, sugar and
oil get sold at relatively low prices. The same is
true with the prices of trinkets, handbags, fans,
headbands, ribbons and flowers. Generally,
customers are able to buy every item cheaper by as
much as twenty five percent.
In grammatical polishing, the verb “was” in
the first and third sentences is replaced with is
because the sentences which carry them clearly aim
to state a fact or general statement. Then “gets” in
the second sentence is replaced with “get”, its
subject being plural “All prime commodities”. The
“is” of the fourth sentence is changed to are
because its subject “customers” is plural and then
the word “items” because it is modified by “every”
which is singular should always be followed by a
singular name. Thus, “item”.
THE TOPIC SENTENCE OF A PARAGRAPH
The topic sentence which is either expressed or
implied, is the statement which points out the
central thought or the gist of the paragraph. An
implied topic sentence can be drawn from a well
known; paragraph when the reader, after reflecting
upon what he has read, can sum up, the main point
An expressed topic sentence may be the first
sentence in the paragraph which affirms what is to
follow; the last sentence which sums up what have
been said; and illustrative topic sentence,
explanation or expansion of which constitutes the
paragraph; or an interrogative topic sentence
wherein the answer constitutes the paragraph
From the above discussion of composing the
paragraph, the point driven home is the topic
Ours is a paradoxical world. The achievements
which are its glory threaten to destroy it. The
nations with the highest standard of living, the
greatest capacity to take care of their people
economically, the broadest education, and the most
enlightened morality and religion, exhibit the least
capacity to avoid mutual destruction in war. It
would seem that the more civilized we become, the
more incapable we are of maintaining civilization.
Transitions Within a Paragraph
Transition has to do with the way you tie with your
sentences together. To enable the reader to follow
your thoughts easily, you must link your sentences
within a paragraph with the use of transitional
devices. Only with this manner will your
sentences hang together. Some transitional devices
are as follows:
Use a pronoun that refers to a person, place, thing
or idea in the preceding sentence. Study how the
underlined words help to link the sentences in the
I saw Sylvia at the Rizal Park. As she walked
towards me, I realized that there was something
wrong. I noticed that she was using crutches.
These were preventing her from walking briskly.
She smiled but I know it was rather forced since
the pain was all over her face.
2. Transitional Devices
These may be used for the following reasons:
Time Contrast Cause and Effect
then however therefore
now nevertheless thus
next yet hence
first even though consequently
second despite so
General to Specific Addition Reference
in fact also the former
especially too the latter
for instance furthermore in conclusion
for example moreover besides
in summary fortunately
to sum up unfortunately
Take note of the transition that happened in this
Now that mosquitoes happily abound in my
neighborhood, I feel I should at least derive come
pleasure out of their abundance. The mosquito must
have a high and hidden purpose, as yet unrevealed
to our finite mind. Indeed I am inclined to believe
that she has, (I used the feminine pronoun advisedly,
as a mosquito which draws a bit precious blood
from us a matter of necessity is a female vampire,
the male being better bred.)
But man can never discover that purpose as
long as he depreciatingly attributes to the dull of
wit among us “mosquito mind”. Wisdom has been
said to begin with the realization of one’s
ignorance. I think it can only begin when humans
realize that we know a trifle less than a mosquito
does. (Francisco B. Icasiano-“Mosquito and
3. Repetition of Key Words
Observe how the underlined words in the
following paragraph acts as bridges between ideas.
I read an article “Psychology Today”. In this
article it is said that people’s names can influence
their personalities. If this is true, then it would be
worthwhile to recommend the article to friends so
they would discover how their names can possibly
influence their personalities.
4. Parallel Structure
This means putting your words phrases or clauses in
the same form whenever best to do so or whenever
called for by the situation.
Man is the highest creation of all creations. Woman
is the most sublime of all ideals. God made for
man a throne; for a woman, the altar; the throne
exalts, the altar sanctifies. Man is the cerebrum,
woman is the heart; the cerebrum fabricates light;
the heart produces love; light fecund, love
Man is the code, woman is the gospel; the code
corrects, the gospel perfects. Man is the genius,
woman is an angel; genius is indefinable, angel is
immeasurable. Man is strong in reason, woman is
invincible in her tears; reason convinces the most
stubborn, tears soften the hardest of mortals. Man
is the temple, woman is the sanctuary; before the
temple we revere, before the sanctuary we kneel.
Man is the ocean, woman is the lake; the ocean has
its pearl that adorns, the lake has its poem that
dazzles. At least the man is placed where the earth
ends and the woman where heaven begins. (Victor
Hugo “The Man and The Woman”)
A GOOD PARAGRAPH
A good paragraph is so organized that it moves
smoothly and progresses inevitably towards an end.
Every sentence has a reason or purpose for being
there. To attain this, the paragraph should have
unity, coherence and emphasis, the same qualities
desired in a good sentence.
Unity In A Paragraph
The principle of unity involves the choice of a basic
idea built along a single design and producing
oneness of effect or impression. To obtain unity,
the paragraph should be built around a topic
Since the topic sentence summarizes the idea
developed in a paragraph, it is imperative that all
supporting details in the form of reason,
explanation, or argument should be relevant to the
main idea. Whatever does not belong to the
development of this idea must be rigorously ruled
out. In this way, readers are guided by concrete
details, facts, or explanations. This enables them to
understand more fully what the paragraph is trying
Study the unity achieved in the following
The medium of literature is language.
Language, as we know, is composed of words that
are combined into sentences to express ideas,
emotions, or desires. Words have both sound and
meaning. The word “horse” for instance, stands
for the sound horse and animal horse. These are
usually associated and are separated only by an
effort, yet they are distinct. To understand
literature, we must know both sound and sense. We
begin with sense, or meaning.
Coherence In A Paragraph
Coherence refers to the orderly arrangement of
ideas or materials needed in the progression or
sequencing of thought. The ideal is for one
sentence to lead naturally into the next, and go on
until the end is reached. This may be achieved
with an orderly arrangement of ideas and with the
use of effective structural devices.
1. Orderly Arrangement Of Ideas
The orderly arrangement of ideas may be any of the
1.a. Chronological Order
This means the time order of the sequence in which
the events occurred.
I boarded a jeepney whose signboard read
“Blumentritt-Avenida”. All at once, a sweet
fragrance assailed my nostrils. I looked around to
find out if I could spot one particular perfumed
person among the passengers. My eyes travelled from
left to right but my nose was even more curious. I
sniffed at the young coed next to me. No,not she.
Then I shifted my seating position a little toward the
matron at the other side, to my left. Not she either. I
was about to give up when I happened to look at the
direction of the driver and I saw that the fragrance
was that of a sampaguita garland hanging from the
jeepney’s stop, close the driver’s head. 155
1.b. Space Order
Here, the details are arranged such that they come
either from near to far, or from inside to outside,
or from top to bottom, or the reverse.
Virtue is one convention that rightfully belongs to
the Filipino woman. Her spiritual power in the
community rests largely on her virtue, and the men
whose own virtue has much more comfortable
periphery, thanks to the double standard, respect
their woman folk for it. The Filipino male is firmly
convinced that his premarital and extramarital
circumstances only enriches his experience, but he
will, with a terrible sense of outrage, stab his wife
or his sister and her seducer if he so much as begins
to doubt her goodness. The newspaper
sensationalizes such stories daily and print blown
up pictures of the victims and culprits. Indeed
human drama revolves dramatically in defense of
the Filipino woman’s virtuous reputation.
1.c. Logical Order
This means that a paragraph can proceed either
inductively or deductively in its presentation or
development of ideas.
I cannot myself state positively that we should or
should not borrow money from other people, but I
am very definite that one should lend money to the
needy. A friend of mine used to say that a man
not come to borrow unless he is so hard-up that he
must part with his self-respect. Whoever has the
heart to turn such a man down, he would add, hurts
him as nothing else can. Such observations are
necessarily made by men who are good at heart, not
too well-off, and therefore, not frequently bothered
by such unpleasant matters.
2. The Use Of Effective Structural Devices
Other means that help in achieving coherence on a
paragraph are the structural devices. These are
helpful in providing a continuity from one
sentence to the next. This is synonymous with the
use of devices to effect transition between
sentences or between paragraphs. Two of these
structural devices are the reference words and the
well-organized sentence structures.
2.a. Correct Use Of Reference Words
Students are enjoined to give their studies priority
in their list of activities. They should realize that
poor academic performance leads to loss of
opportunity to succeed in their chosen career. In
the end, they will be grateful for heeding a good
Conjunctions, or conjunctional words , phrases
Below is a list of conjunctions, conjunctional words,
and phrases arranged according to their functions
in a sentence.
Time: then, now, next, first, second
Contrast: however, nevertheless, yet even though,
Cause and Effect: therefore, thus, hence, so,
General to specific: in fact, especially, for
instance, for example
Addition: also, too, furthermore, moreover,
Reference: the former, the latter, the following
Attitude: fortunately, unfortunately,
naturally, an a sense
Summary: in summary, to sum up, in
Everyone knows that a good name is a great
possession; hence, a person must strive to
preserve an untarnished reputation. Fortunately,
this is within the reach of every individual,
therefore, he must know how to live within the
bounds of decency and integrity.
2.c. The Use Of Well-Organized Sentence
These structures refers to the words, phrases and
clauses that are structured parallel and uniform
when they express similar thoughts or ideas. This
parallel and uniform structuring is very effective
in creating a coherent paragraph.
The chief source of humor is the incongruous, the
unexpected. We expect one thing and we find
another. If one man pulls a chair out from under
another, the joke lies on the fact that the second
sits on the floor instead on the chair. It is the
unexpectedness that makes comedy.
Emphasis In A Paragraph
Emphasis in paragraph means a focus on that aspect
of the subject being taken up. This can be the
logical result of a unified development of an idea
in a paragraph. Or, this can result from the
dominant play up of one aspect of a subject over
another one. Or, from the balance treatment of all
the aspects of the subject.
Communication is a process whereby a party called a
sender transmits a message to another party called
a sendee in order for the said message to be
understood. It may take place either verbally,
meaning, when the sender uses words in conveying
his message or non-verbally when the sender uses
kinesics, paralanguage, object language,
proxemics, chronemics and other similar signs of
messages. Whether verbal or non-verbal, it makes
use of different channels of transmission of
message. For it to effectively take place it must
consider the time place, audience, occasion and
medium involved. 168
If you notice in this paragraph, all sentences
focus on the subject communication. This is made
possible by sustaining it from one sentence to
another, of course, with the use of the substitute
METHODS OF DEVELOPING A
For the development of an idea in a paragraph to
be unified, coherent and emphatic, it is a good
practice to go by certain methods like the
Through Use Of Relevant Details/Deductive
Here the topic sentence is expanded or developed
by giving relevant supporting details.
The Filipino short-story writer writes most of the
time about life on the farm and in the province. His
scenes are the nipa house, the rice field, the
threshing floor, the village church. His characters
are Mang Gorio and Aling Teria. Tancio, the
young man, and Rosa, the dalaga. His mood is
often as serene as a mountain lake. (An excerpt
from “A Garland of Sampaguita” by Rodolfo
The idea is best developed by giving illustrations
Psychoanalysis gives special emphasis to
unconscious motivations. Even slips of the tongue,
forgetting of appointment and other simple acts of
everyday life are traced to motives of which the
individual may not be aware of at the moment.
Thus, the bored hostess, after an insufferable
evening, said, not what she intended (but what she
meant): “Well goodbye. I’m sorry you came.”
Likewise, the debutante at a dance, much interested
in a young gentleman, intended to ask him when he
was going to dance with her, but instead asked,
“When are you going to marry me?” There is no
good reason for supposing that all such lapses are
unconsciously motivated; some may be purely
accidental-but there is no doubt that many have such
motivation. (An excerpt from “Psychology: The
Fundamentals of Human Adjustment” by Norman
By Comparison Or Contrast
You may explain a thing by comparing or
contrasting it with another. For you to be able to
use this method of development, you should
therefore have at least two subjects to write about.
You compare when you bring out their similarities
and you contrast when you bring out their
Lee Harvey Oswald was the diametric opposite of
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and he was aware of
this. Significantly, he attributed the President’s
success to family wealth; Kennedy had all the
breaks. Like many delusions, this one had a
kernel of truth. One man had almost everything
and the other almost nothing. Kennedy was
spectacularly handsome. Oswald was balding,
and he had the physique of a ferret. The President
had been a brave officer during the war; Oswald
had been court-martialed. 175
As Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief;
Kennedy was all powerful; Oswald was impotent.
Kennedy was cheered ; Oswald ignored. Kennedy
was loved; Oswald despised. Kennedy was a hero;
Oswald was a victim. (William Manchester)
To be logical, a definition must have three
parts: the first, the term or the word or phrase to be
defined; second, the group or the class of object or
concept to which the term belongs; and third, the
different characteristics which differentiate or
distinguish it from all others of its class.
What is happiness? Happiness is a state of mind.
Lincoln once said: “We are happy as we make up
our minds to be.” Happiness grows out of
harmonious relationships with others, based on
attitudes and goodwill, tolerance, understanding,
and love. Happiness if found in little things: a
baby’s smile, a letter from a friend, the song of a
bird, a light in the window. “Words To Live By: The
Art of Happiness”
By Cause And Effect
Here the idea is developed by looking into the
whys and hows of things. This involves reasoning
or explaining in terms of causal relationships.
Floods are expected in Metro Manila during rainy
days. There are reasons why this happens all the
time. One, Manila and its immediate suburbs are
under sea level or just a bit above sea level.
Another reason is the drainage system is bad
because the pipes and sewers are poorly
constructed. Lastly, the residents wantonly throw
their garbage almost anywhere except in the trash
receptacles. This habit causes clogs in the pipes
and sewers. The result? Flash floods.
Series of question. The writer can arouse the
reader’s interest by asking a series of questions.
Statement. The writer gives a strong suggestion
and gives details to arouse the reader’s interest and
Definitions. The subject of the paragraph is defined
and particulars are given.
Origin. One way of giving the reader a clearer
understanding of the subject is by showing the
origin of the subject of the letter and then by tracing
Deductive. This paragraph begins with a general
statement, then proceeds to giving supportive
Narration. The incident which led to the situation
or problems is narrated. The writer must see to it
that the facts are accurate. Objective, factual
reporting is necessary.
Analogy. The likeness of two things is shown in
terms of their attitudes, circumstances or effects.
THE WHOLE COMPOSITION
As a thinking social being, you will always need to
express your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. At this
point of your study, you are expected to have a
considerably good grasp of the various
idiosyncrasies of the English language. Having
studied how to write effective sentences and
paragraphs, you are now ready to write a whole
composition. Although it is generally presumed
that of all the language skills writing is the hardest
you are bound, nevertheless to master the art of
communication through effective
Francis Bacon wrote that “Writing maketh an
exact man”. Therefore, when you can put down
your thoughts, ideas, and feelings on paper and
make your readers understand what you are saying,
you are on the road to being an exact man in
communication. As a student in college, you should
realize that relevant effective writing is the key to
future professional success.
WRITING A WHOLE COMPOSITION
Writing is a process. It moves from top to bottom
of its organizational pattern: form its title to its
beginning, body and ending with proper use of
transitions. As such, it entails a step by step move
towards a desired piece of composition, which, in
this chapter, will be tracked down as follows:
BEFORE ACTUAL WRITING
Choose a Subject.
You may use three possible sources of a subject:
imagination, observations, and experience. Your
experiential background can cover three general
areas of interest: your personal life, your college
life and your social life in the outside world of
local, national, and international affairs.
In doing this, choose a subject that is
interesting to you and to your reader, and that you
know much about. This will make the writing job
easier for you to do.
Or, a subject that if you do not know yet
much about, you know that there are enough data
that can be gathered about it. So that if you want
first to study your subject before you write, you
have enough resources to use.
Explore Your Subject
1.Before deciding on what to write think hard about
your subject. Give this your honest
consideration. Take your feelings and impulses
seriously. Honesty is essential because readers
hate insincerity. Thinking and scrutinizing ideas
about a paper can help define, shape or clarify a
2. To write about something, you must first know a
lot about it. Spend time for research in the
library. Read extensively on the subject.
Talk to friends and experts. Ask questions and get
ideas form people who have enough information on
3. List down ideas about your subject. Then write
freely ; unlock ideas in your mind. Your list of
assorted ideas on the subject has a disorganized flow
but it will provide you a chance to make specific,
orderly ground for your writing.
EXAMPLE: Summer in Barrio Ticol
Invigorating morning swim in the river
Chirping crickets at night
Suman and other delicacies
Boating and night swimming
Smell of jasmine, rosal and other May
Lolo’s pigs and poultry
Manila visitors enjoy the fresh unpolluted rural air
Fruits and vegetables abound
Mangoes and macopa in bloom
Slight evening drizzle a welcome treat
After a sultry afternoon
Rural hospitality unmatched
Visit to the small chapel
Simplicity and religiosity of country folks is very
Summer in the big city smacks of heat and dust
City folks savor the refreshing delights of the
Peace of mind and heart
Where’s the ideal place to go to during summer?
These fragmentary ideas about summer in a
barrio called Ticol help a student who will do a
personal experience of spending summer outside of his
city residence. The list of course is very disorganized.
You are expected to revise, delete, add or expand a lot
of the ideas and final ways of limiting and defining the
topic until you come up with an organized outline.
4. Ask Questions. Be reminded of the five W’s (who,
what, when, where, why) and one H (how).
Employing these journalistic questions will help you
explore your subject extensively. As you ask as many
versions of these questions you start uncovering a lot
more to contribute to your paper. 192
What is summer outside the metropolis?
Who love to desert the big city during the hot season?
Why do we jump at the chance of an out-of-town
Where do we usually prefer to go?
What different things do we observe in the countryside?
Where is the perfect hideaway?
What do we observe among the country folk?
What effect do all these observations have on us?
How do we compare summer in Manila with summer in
Determine Your Purpose
Your purpose will guide you in the further writing
steps that you need to take. It will suggest you the
type of composition you need to write and the limit
of development you have about your topic.
As there are several types of composition, namely:
exposition, description, narration and argumentation,
your clear purpose in mind will make you determine
whether you have to write an expository, descriptive,
narrative, or argumentative type of composition.
And once you have determined this matter, you will
also know the kind of composition development you
have to use because 194
the very type of composition you will write gives
you also a fitting method of development for it.
Determine The Type Of Composition To Be
As stated earlier, your purpose will hunch to
you the type of composition you have to write for
your topic. But, you can only get that if you know
the nature of each type of composition.
This is an explanatory type of writing. It is done
in order to clarify or give further information on
what a thing is, how it functions, and how its parts
are related to one another or how they are related
to other things. Thus, exposition addresses itself
to people who knows nothing or only a little about
the subject in question. That is why if your
purpose is to explain your topic, then you have to
engage in expository writing.
This is a type of composition which projects an
image by means of words. This makes description
an oral or written activity aimed at making the
listener or reader not only see but also feel, smell,
taste, and hear the nature of things. Thus, if your
purpose is to show or create a picture of your
topic, then, you engage in descriptive writing.
This is a composition type which presents a story
from beginning to end. It gives a complete story
basically constituted by life-giving characters, the
locale and the time of the event, conflicts and
crises, and moral or truth of life that the story aims
to deliver. Thus, if your purpose is to tell a series
of events about characters in a given place at a
certain time, then, you engage in narrative writing.
This means writing to oppose a contention of one
in order to assert his own. This is done by
presenting facts and pieces of evidence reasonably
supportive of the assertion.
Argumentation may be as simple and informal as
pretty quarrel over the color of a basketball team’s
banner as some would like it green while others
would like it red. Or; as formal as contending for
and against “Men are more intelligent than
Whatever, good argumentation will always require
Thus, if your purpose happens to be like this,
you engage in argumentative writing.
In whatever way the composition may be
expressed, it will make use of the language of prose
or poetry. And the fact that one is expository and the
other is descriptive or narrative or argumentative does
not mean that each type is truly distinct from the
other. In one’s seeming distinctness from the other, it
is really not because it utilizes and combines with the
other types in the achievement of its own form.
Take the composition of any of the narrative prose-
fiction types. Be it a short-story, a novelette, a
novel, or a drama, in its being narrative in nature, it
utilizes a great deal of description, narration, and
even argumentation. On the other hand, take an
essay. In its being dominantly expository, it is also
possible that it uses narration and description.
In this edition, however, the expository and
descriptive types are the only ones taken up
lengthily because these are the ones needed in the
kind of writing desired to be achieved.
Limit Your Subject
How do you limit your subject so you can write
about some aspect or angle that will interest your
reader? Achieving this particular goal is not an
easy task. But you have to try to succeed in
breaking down a broad subject into its limited
form, otherwise, you may not be able to win the
interest of anyone.
This writing step may be done by proceeding from
a general subject, then narrowing it to become a
little limited subject. From this limited subject,
you narrow this further, this time, to become
a topic which can serve as your composition title.
For instance, you may want to write in general
about love, religion or politics. Most probably
there are already thousands of books on these
subjects. But suppose you write about how love
can exist between legitimate and illegitimate
children, or the Church meddles in the political
exercise of the people? These angles of a subject
are the kind that will make it easier for you to
expand ideas about the subject.
General Subject : Religion
Limited Subject : Attitude Toward Marriage
Angled Topic : Differences Between
Catholics and Moslems
When It Comes to Marriage
General Subject : Sports
Limited Subject : Basketball
Angled Topic : Why Filipinos Are Crazy
In doing this, you usually consider the
timeframe you have or you are given for writing.
Naturally, if you have only an hour or so, as what
you may have in “on-the-spot writing” in the
classroom, you have to narrow your subject only to
as much as an extent that is feasible to cope with in
an hour or so. However, if you have a semester time
for writing, as in the case of required papers or term
papers, then, you have to limit your subject to an
extent that is workable within such time frame.
Of course, other things to consider are your
purpose for writing, the type of composition you
want to write and then rhetorical mode that is suited
to your purpose in writing. You can use either for
rhetorical modes; description, narration, exposition,
and argument. These types of composition will be
taken up in detail in a separate unit.
Engage in Free Writing
Ask anyone, a student or a professional writer, and
he will agree with you that the hardest part of
writing is getting started. At one time or another,
you have experienced holding a pen in hand
staring helplessly at a blank sheet of paper. It is
during such frustrating moment that you wish you
knew how to make thoughts and words flow into
the sheet of paper and manifest what it is you
really want to say.
Since writing is a skill that improves with
practice, the more you practice writing, the more the
words you need to use come easy. Thus, a free,
relaxed kind of exercise or limbering up should help
you off to a good start.
The following suggested exercises in free
writing should help in unwinding potential writing
abilities and breaking down on mental and
emotional barriers to this important skill.
In free writing you write about anything that
comes to your mind with no concern for correctness,
logic, or order. In this exercise, anything goes.
anything goes. Observe this example of free writing
done by a student:
Actually I have nothing to write about. This is
crazy, being asked to write about anything. The
room is hot. I’m uncomfortable. Why is my seat
very far from the ceiling fan? Many of my
classmates are still holding their pencils (or ball
pens) and not touching their papers. Not a word is
written yet. Our teacher is perhaps sleeping but
with her eye open. How many minutes did she say?
Ten? Fifteen? My mind is still blank. I’m getting
bored. I hope the bell ring now so I can go to the
canteen. The prelims will soon come. I have no
money yet for tuition fee. What a problem.
Solution? Buy a lotto ticket. Maybe I’ll be a
millionaire tomorrow. Yuck!
Or, you can also free-write through word association.
This means that you write with a word to focus on
and what you write are generally any physical,
emotional or psychological impact this word have on
you. You write anything you associate with a word.
Look at this example written by a female student
who goes free writing about the word color.
My favorite color is green. Very refreshing to
the eye. Mountains and trees are green. Nature in
all her glory is green. I love strolling across green
fields. I think red, white and blue are very patriotic.
White is immaculate. But brown lipstick looks good
on me. I owned if pink lipstick would go with a
lavender dress. For romantic people the golden sky
at sunset is most beautiful. For a perfect color
blending, give me the rainbow anytime.
Outline Your Ideas About The Topic.
This step will give your desired composition in a
framework that can be your very useful guide in
actual writing. It becomes important then to cast
your outline in such a way that it shows you a
skeletal structure that flows from a beginning to a
body and to an ending that make up a
Outlining may be done in topical form or in
Examples: Topical Outline
I. Benefits Derived from Reading
1. Discovery of new words
2. Skills to attach unfamiliar words
3. Access to various areas of knowledge
4. Keener judgment and sharpened
1. Refinement of feelings
2. Sharpened responses and sensibilities
3. Awareness of other people’s feelings
4. Cathartic and therapeutic effects.
1. Awareness of social influences
2. Better understanding of social
situations and social problems.
II. Influence on Personal Life
A. Improvement of Interpersonal
B. Better understanding of human
C. Better understanding our own selves
D. Better scholastic performance
III. Global Benefits
A. Growing consciousness of people and
events around the world
B. Deeper interests in activities that
C. Realization of our human potential as
contributors to history
D. Vision and skills contributing to a
viable future of humanity.
I. The cultural benefits derived from reading cannot be
A. The intellectual aspects offer these gifts:
1. Vocabulary enrichment results after the
discovery of new words.
2. Skills are formed to attach unfamiliar words.
3. Books give us access to various areas of
knowledge thus, making us well-informed
4. We develop keener judgment and sharper
5. We perform better in school.
B. Books offer emotional outputs.
1. We experience a refinement of feelings.
2. We develop sharpened a responses and
3. We develop awareness of other people’s feelings.
4. We imbibe their cathartic and therapeutic
C. Reading also reflects the influences on our personal
1. We become aware of the influences that society
2. We develop better understanding of social
II. Reading also reflects the influences on our
A. We acquire tips on how to improve our
relationship with others.
1. We learn to understand better human
2. We learn to assess to understand ands better
our own selves
3. We perform better in school
III. Reading benefits can also be felt in their global
A. We benefit from our growing consciousness of
people and events around the world
B. We take deeper interest in activities that involve
C. We realize our potential as contributors to
D. We acquire visions and skills that contribute to
a viable future for humanity
DURING ACTUAL WRITING
Create Your Title
As stated earlier, this title can already be ready for
you as early as the time when you have angled
your limited subject for a topic.
The title will serve as the writer’s first point of
contact with the reader. Thus, extra effort must be
exerted in constructing it. It must be constructed
in such a way that it comes out winsome. It must
have that “come on, read” effect to readers.
“The best titles indicate not a general subject
but the actual theme of the composition. The term
subject is broader and more inclusive than the word
title. If the instructor asks for a composition on “My
Reading Habits”, he has assigned a subject, not a
title, and you should sharpen this subject to a more
specific and more interesting title, “It’s fun to read
in the Mall”.
Write Your Beginning
Even logically organized composition has a
beginning. It generally introduces the subject of the
composition and explains the purpose or point of 222
view of the writer. It is the part to which the title is
luring a reader to read on. Thus, the need for it to
be effectively written by a student of composition
Every student should bear in mind that an
effective beginning must do two things.
a. It must catch the reader’s interest and lure him
into reading further;
b. It must explain why the subject should interest
the reader and how it touches his life
Title : Image of Man in Contemporary
Beginning :It is not true that the sun is the center of
No! It is man.
The use of an effective beginning is helpful.
Some of these effective beginning is helpful.
Some of these effective beginnings are as follows:
An anecdote an analogy beginning
A striking statement a general statement
A question a quotation
A descriptive opening a summary
The choice of any one of the above generally
depends on the kind of topic to be undertaken and
on the personal preference of the writer.
The anecdote beginning is frequently used by
after-dinner speakers. Its built-in humor proves
very fascinating. Its sprightly little story is
interesting. However, the writer who adopts this
technique should be careful that his anecdote has a
direct bearing on the sentiment of his composition,
and that the anecdote has not been repeated too
In the name of law, I arrest you!”
The elderly man lying face down in the dust, for
all the world like a sleeping tramp, got up and
faced the village constable; mildly he asked the
reason for this arrest.
“I’ve been watching you. A suspicious character
if ever I saw one! Come with me.”
Like a patient teacher the man explained that
he was studying insects.
“Flies!” scoffed the officer. “Do you expect
me to believe that you lie here in the morning sun to
The other shrugged, and the light caught a
twist at the red ribbon in the buttonhole of his
thread broad black coat. The Legion of Honor.
Even a country constable knew enough to back out
now. The old man imperturbably lay down to
resume his studies.
Jean Henri Sasimir Fabre was used to
humiliation. From childhood he had shielded a
sensitive nature by outward indifference. He was
born in south-central France in 1823, of a mother
who could not read or write; more, she regarded
her elder son’s love of the fields as wicked idleness;
his collecting minerals, birds nests and bugs as a
system of idiocy. (Donald Gurlose Peattie, “The
Incomparable Observer” The Reader’s Digest, May
2. Striking Statement
Speakers are afraid to be dull, and so are writers.
To be able to give a striking statement is a
difficult task, but it can actually be achieved. It is
done by being witty, brilliant, funny, outspoken,
and even paradoxical. The essayist says
something to excite the enthusiasm and curiosity
of the reader, then goes ahead.
The collapse of the Nazi Germany marked the end of
the greatest myth on racial superiority ever
imposed on a gullible world. Chances are that
“pure Aryan will never again put an appearance
in respectable society.”
Yet, this tall, blond superman could never have got
where he did except for the prejudice or race
relations. The difference we think we see between
races—and which we magnify are largely a matter
of differences in training and opportunity. There are
no superior races, only superior individuals and
they are members of all races. “As Fra Boss, the
father of American Anthropology puts it: “If we
were to select the most intelligent, imaginative,
energetic, emotionally stable third of all mankind,
all races would be represented. (Ethel J. Alpantels
“Our Racial Superiority” The Reader’s Digest,
One of the most striking ways to begin a
composition is to pose a question at the outset – a
query to which the reader is led to seek and
answer. If the question is so asked as to arouse the
curiosity of the reader, fifty percent of the battle is
won. Questions may be implied or direct.
What is this thing called Love, so indispensable to
best sellers? What is it the myriad purchases
desire so ardently to see portrayed? Plainly – as
the books show it – it is the sole end of life, the
obsession of every kind. The hero of the popular
novel always gained the heroine’s hand, after an
adventurous career. The offer awaited him the
last chapter, but there was an interesting respite
amid fire and flamed which is not granted to his
successor. The modern hero is allowed a vocation
to keep him occupied during the day, but it is
understood that this is merely an interlude in his
service to, or serving of, the various ladies in the
book. Love of power, pride in work the area of
poverty, the lust for fear or vengeance, and all other
impulses that actually move men are denied him.
He is indeed love’s slave. (Bergen Evans, “This
Thing Called Love” The Atlantic Monthly,
4. Descriptive Opening
The descriptive opening gives a mental picture –
“ideals with images rather than ideas.” This is an
effective beginning if cautiously handled and if
given sufficient vividness and life. Otherwise, it
can be dull. The essayist should try to awaken
and thrill even a phlegmatic reader so that he may
go out and see what is to come.
Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold
and gray. When the man turned again from his
Yukon trail and started up a little-traveled trail led
through the fast spruce timberland. It was nine
o’clock. There was no summer hint of sun.
Though the day was clear, there was a gloom all
over the fact of things. This did not worry the
man. It had been days since he had seen the sun.
(Jack London, “How To Build A Fire”)
5. Analogy Beginning
The analogy beginning is an extended figure of
speech which may be a simile or a metaphor.
While its value as proof is nil, it makes the subject
vivid and illuminating, and take the reader directly
into the heart of the discussion.
Music has often been compared with language
itself, and the comparison is quite legitimate.
it combines easily with language, it also speaks a
language of its own, which has become a platitude to
call universal. To understand the significance of the
organizing factors of rhythm, melody, harmony, tune,
color, and meaning, the analogy of a familiar
language is helpful. Music has its own alphabet, of
only seven letters, as compared with the twenty six of
the English Alphabet. Each of these letters represents
a note, and just as certain letters are complete words
in themselves, so are certain notes that they may
stand alone, with the force of a whole word.
Generally, however, a note of music implies a certain
harmony, and in most modern music the notes take
the form of actual chords. 239
So it may be said that a chord of music is
analogous to a word in language. Several words
form a phrase, and several phrases a complete
sentence, and the same thing is true to music.
Measured music corresponds to poetry while old
measured plain song might be compared with prose.
The relationship of modern music to free verse at
once becomes apparent, and impressionism,
cubism, and futurism can all be found in music as
well as in the other arts. (Sigmund Spaath), “The
Language of Music”)
6. General Statement
The broad observation that has a wide application
is not an old way of opening an essay, but it is still
For there is perennial nobleness, and even
sacredness, in work. For he never so benighted,
forgetful of high calling, there is always hope in a
man that actually and earnestly works; in idleness
along thee is perpetual despair. Work never so
Mammonish, mean, is communication with Nature;
the real desire to get work done will itself lead one
to more and more truth, to Nature appointments and
regulations, which are truth. (Thomas Carlyle,
A well chosen quotation can be very effective.
Editors and readers however, have become tired of
quotation openings, and such should be avoided.
Use them sparingly.
“Live as if each moment were your last.” How often
have I come across such advice in the books that I
read. At least it seemed often to me – too often.
a while I accept it as being probably good advice if
one could follow it, yet to follow it I could not. For
one thing. I could never bring myself to feel this
“lastness” of each moment. I tried and failed. I
was good to make-believe, too, but this was out of
all good reasons. (Elizabeth W. Morris, “The
Embarrassment of Finality”)
The summary beginning presents the main
conclusions, high spots, or gist of the article by
way of opening. It is often used for beginning the
As a single man, I have spent a good deal of my
time in noting down the infirmities of married
people, to control myself for those superior
pleasures, which they tell me I have lost by
reminding me as I am.
I cannot say that the quarrels of men and their
wives ever made any great impression upon me, or
had such tendency to strengthen me in those anti-
social resolutions which I took up long ago upon
more substantial considerations. What often offends
me at the house of married persons when I visit, is
an error of quite different description; it is that they
are too loving. (Charles Lamb, “A Bachelor’s
Complaint of the Behavior of Married People”)
Compose Your Body
The body of a composition contains all the
discussions , arguments, or explanations that the
writer wants to say about his subject. As such as it
may be developed in three general ways. Each
way can make the reader see immediately and
clearly the relationship between and among the
parts within. The development may be patterned
in any of the following ways:
1. In Chronological Order
This type of development is especially useful in
narration when one relates events in the order of
occurrence. This device is also practical when
the topic is about a process which is to explain
something stage by stage.
2. In Logical Sequence
This one calls for the presentation of details in
any of the following patterns or vice-versa:
1. From the known to the unknown
2.From the particular to the general
3. From the simple to the complicated
4. From the abstract to the concrete
3. Climactic Order
This means that the explanations of the least
important material should precede the more
important ones. Then the composition should
gradually work up to a fitting climax. In the
structure of the composition, the end is one of the
two emphatic parts of the composition, just as it is
in the paragraph and in the sentence. The other is
Close With An Effective Ending.
Ending a composition is just like saying goodbye
after having said what are the desired to be said.
This part summarizes or recapitulates the ideas
developed in the body of the composition.
As you have effective beginnings, you also have
effective endings to help you do this part of the
composition. These are as follows:
Sometimes in order to make the ending of an
essay truly impressive, the author chooses a well-
known authority, a prominent author, or a poet
who has expressed himself on the subject he has
written about. A quotation thus chosen, must be
pertinent to the subject and must reinforce the
ideas presented by the writer.
With saint Augustine they said: “Let us not leave
them alone to make in the secret of this knowledge
as thou didst before the creation of the firmament,
the division of light from darkness, let the children
of thy spirit, placed in their firmament, make their
light shine upon the earth, mark the division of
night and day, and announce the revolution of the
times’ for the old order is passed, and the new
crises; the night is spent, the day is come forth;
and thou shalt crown the year with the blessing,
when thou shalt send forth laborers into
thy harvest sown by other hands that theirs;
when thou shalt send forth new laborers to new
seedtimes, hereof, the harvest shall be not yet.”
(Matthew Arnold, “Sweetness and Light”)
2. Problem or Question
As in the story, “The Lady or The Tiger,” it may
be necessary for the writer to finish his work with
a question or with a number of questions. If the
purpose of the essay concluded is just to present
facts and ideas to let the reader from his own
conclusions, this type of ending will be most
Thus, a strange series of unrelated events
conspired to place him in the White House. BUT
WAS IT AN ACCIDENT? Was it merely political
intrigue? … Or was it fate? Is it not just possible
that on that momentous day the end of destiny
rested upon the shoulder of Abraham Lincoln?
( G.I.. Summer, “How Chance Made Lincoln
3. Suggestion to Question
If the composition has been written to present the
validity of a certain idea over and above another
which the essay criticizes, a suggestion to take
action is often necessary at the end of the essay.
It is our urgent responsibility today to evaluate
truly and generously the achievements of the
various faces and nations of the world. The
billion people can live together on a globe grown
suddenly small only if we bring our knowledge of
human relations up to our knowledge of physical
science. Let us take pride not in a false assumption
of superiority to any other people but in our friendly
knowledge of all the people of the world. (Ethel J.
Alpental, “Our Racial Superiority”)
4. Significant Incident
Often, to wrap up the idea of the composition, it is
necessary for the writer to cite a little significant
incident to clinch his argument or to dramatize his
Then the gray-haired man appeared on the ice
with the huge goal pads and gloves on. The
galleries were silent a moment, then burst into
spontaneous applause at the gallant gesture. Les
Patrick, out of the game since 1921 and even in his
playing days, not a goalie was skating into the
ranger nets. He was the ranger’s manager. But he
was going in. The crown applauded the spirit and
get back to await the massacre. It never came.
Playing with a cold frenzy, Patrick turned back the
attach of one of the greatest teams in the game and
the rangers won 2 to 1. For the third time they got
another goalie and went on to win the series. That
stand of the gray-haired Patrick is one of the game’s
The summary is one of the most overused types of
ending for the manuscript. In the summary
ending, ideas are repeated, but a mechanical
repetition of the points advanced must be avoided.
It may be added that a short composition does not
need a summary.
And so we shall continue to be ushered through
luncheons and herded through cafeterias, until we
become chronic dyspeptics. We shall be besieged
with telegrams, bombarded with extras, and bawled
at by bell boys until we fall victims to nervous
prostration. We shall be battle –geared in
elevations, shuttle-cocked in subways, joggled in
taxi-cabs, jostled in street cars, and jolted in
Pullman’s until we succumb to apoplexy. And we
shall be kept everlastingly on the go, we are shipped
off in sixty horse power hearse to the only peaceful
place we have ever known. For thus we shall have
served the God of Time. (Percival White, “The
Check Your Transitions
This means your transition or slide in idea from
one paragraph to another. Each paragraph deals
with a central idea that is why in writing a series
of paragraphs in a composition, it is important that
you show the relationship among all central ideas
by using transitional devices. Here are three types
of these devices to help you make the paragraphs
1. Transitional devices
An example of this consequently
As a result finally
At this time incidentally
In addition first
Another for example
However on the other hand
In spite of soon
Study the paragraphs below. Explain the
relationship illustrated by the transitional words
Precision means exactness. It means hitting
the nail on the head. In writing, precision means
taking care to find not the big word or the little word
but exactly the right word for what must not say
“idiom” when you mean “idiot”, “sadistic” when
you mean “statistic,” or even, “read” when you
Such irresponsible words might result in
misunderstanding. It will prompt people to say that
the writer is not very literate. Therefore, the moral
should be obvious; don’t use a word unless you are
sure of its meaning.
2. Repetition Of A Key Word In The Preceding
Courage is not always shown in big acts. The
student who can go up to this teacher and
stammer. “Sir, I am sorry, but I cheated on that
test,” is displaying as much courage as the public
official who tells the investigating committee,
“Madam President, I’m sorry but I mishandled
project funds causing great losses to the
A pronoun that refers to a person, thing or idea
mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
Philippine Democracy is experiencing the most
crucial test of its more than fifty years of existence.
Not only has each of the past presidents done
significant reform programs but also fought all
forms of opposition to democratic ideology.
Today, one of its greatest enemies is
insurgency. It has to content the radical
demands of this group of anti-democratic
AFTER ACTUAL WRITING
1. Review your first draft for content improvement.
Ask these questions as you mark your draft for
a. Is my point of view clearly established in my
opening paragraph? Do my readers know what
my intentions are?
b. Is my opening interesting enough for my readers
to want to continue? Have I saved my supporting
points for the following paragraphs? How can I
make the paragraph more effective?
c. Have I developed a different main point in each
paragraph? Does my topic sentence clearly state
the point of the paragraph? Do I have plenty of
details and examples to support the main idea in
each paragraph? Are any of the paragraphs
extremely short or extremely long?
d. Are there things I can add – new points or details
– to make the paper more effective? Are there
ideas or details that don’t seem effective? Should
I eliminate anything?
e. Are my ideas in the best sequence? Should I
move anything around? Do I need to move
information that I added to a more appropriate
spot? Have I organized my thoughts most
f. Does the paper maintain the point of view
intended? Do my main points develop a point of
view successfully? Do I need to consider
changing the point of view or any of the