Sentence fluency

12,269 views

Published on

Published in: Education, Technology
1 Comment
13 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Slide 11 should be titled 'c. List of Prepositions,' not 'c. List of Prepositional Phrases.'
       Reply 
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Views
Total views
12,269
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
794
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
264
Comments
1
Likes
13
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Sentence fluency

  1. 1. Sentence FluencyHow to make those sentences roll like a smooth-flowing river.
  2. 2. What is sentence fluency? Sentence structure, also known as syntax, is how a sentenceis put together, or the arrangement of the words. Sentence fluency then, is arranging your sentences to have asmooth flow; they should read well aloud. In fact, that’s thebest way to check sentence fluency. If you can, read aloud theexamples in this presentation to hear how well sentences do ordo not flow. Sentence fluency goes hand in hand with word choice, asyou will see in some of the following examples. Better wordchoice makes for better sentences; look for changes in wordchoice as you read improved examples.
  3. 3. What to expect. . .This presentation will take you through fourstrategies for improving sentence fluency: 1. Vary sentence beginnings. 2. Combine sentences. 3. Use a variety of sentence lengths. 4. Use parallel structure.
  4. 4. Strategy 1Vary sentence beginnings.Try not to have too many sentences start the same way. It becomes choppy and boring to read.
  5. 5. Strategy 1: VaryingFor example, read this repetitive sentenceconstruction:I woke up feeling awful. I was groggy and Ifelt like I had swallowed gravel, my throat wasso sore. I felt a dull ache all over my wholebody. I heard my mom call, but I really didn’twant to crawl out of bed and face the day.Notice how all the sentence begin with “I”? In fact,there are too many “I’s” throughout this example,even within the sentences!
  6. 6. Strategy 1: VaryingNow let’s look at revised version that varies thesentence beginnings:When I woke up, a dull ache wracked my whole bodyand I felt quite groggy. My throat was so sore, it feltlike I had swallowed gravel. I heard my mom call, butcrawling out of bed and facing the day was more thanI could handle.One sentence still begins with “I,” but the rest have beenchanged. Reads better, doesn’t it? In addition to rearrangingsentences, some have been combined and new has beenwording added. The word “terrible” was eliminated altogether,as the rest of the piece shows the idea of feeling terrible. Trythese strategies when you revise!
  7. 7. Strategy 1: VaryingThe basic sentence structure is subject + verb + objectFor example: Sandra + swam + in the polluted river. Danilo + thought + today would be different. Apples + bruise + when they fall to the ground.You at least need a subject and a verb for acomplete sentence (in most cases): Sandra swam. Danilothought. Apples bruise. Some types of verbs, called transitiveverbs, do need objects, such as in the following: The committee + named + a new chairperson.
  8. 8. Strategy 1: VaryingBut you don’t always have to start with yoursubject (the main noun of your sentence). Hereare some other ways to start a sentence:a. Begin with adjectives: -ed Frazzled and worried, the mother searched for her missing child. -en Frozen for thousands of years, the corpse was barely recognizable. -* Black and fuzzy, pandas appeal to everyone.The above and following information is taken from:“Varied Sentence Beginnings.” 2006. Okemos Public Schools. Nov. 29, 2006. <http://okemos.k12.mi.us/users/chipp/Academics/Bloc4/Varied%20Sentences.htm>.
  9. 9. Strategy 1: varyingb. Begin with adverbs, clauses, and phrases: -ly Wearily, the soldiers marched forward in the snow. -ing Humming softly to herself, the trainer fed the elephants. -* When finished with the plants, the giraffe munched on the trees.What is an adverb? An adverb describes a verb. Since a verb is an action (what did she do?), the adverb describes the nature of that action (how did she do it?).What did she do? She threw the ball. (verb = threw)How did she do it? She forcefully threw the ball. (adverb = forecefully)
  10. 10. Strategy 1: varyingc. Begin with a prepositional phrase: In my backyard, many squirrels linger. Around the corner lives a most eccentric old man. At the mall yesterday, we found the best deals.What’s a preposition? A preposition shows relationships between items. Think of the question where can an ant go? It can walk on the table, under the picnic blanket, inside the walls, through the grass, etc. All of the underlined words show the relationship of the ant to the objects listed.
  11. 11. Strategy 1: varyingc. List of prepositional phrases: aboard below excepting opposite under about beneath excluding outside underneath above beside following over unlike across besides for past until after between From per up against beyond in plus upon along but inside regarding versus amid by into round via among concerning like save with anti considering minus since within around despite near than without as down of through at during off to before except on toward behind onto towards
  12. 12. Strategy 1: Varyingd. Begin with a gerund: -ing Living in the desert has always intrigued me. Playing soccer is the love of my life. Skating is an activity I would like to try.What is a gerund? A gerund is simply a verb acting as a noun. They act as the subject or object of a sentence. They always end in “ing.”
  13. 13. Strategy 1: Varyinge. Begin with an infinitive phrase: To- To have friends, you must be a friend.What is an infinitive phrase? It is simply a phrase that begin with “to” plus a verb. The infinite of a verb, as you may know from studying a foreign language, is just the base form of a verb, no changes. Example: infinitive: bounce past tense: bounced present participle: bouncing
  14. 14. Strategy 1: Varyingf. Begin with conjunctions: Because of the unusual circumstances, the court dismissed the case. Although I can’t attend, I do appreciate the invitation. After the parade, the club will stay to pick up trash.What is a conjunction? A conjunction links words, phrases and clauses.
  15. 15. Strategy 1: Varyingf. Begin with conjunctions:Coordinating Conjunctions (there are seven): and or but nor so for yetSubordinating Conjunctions (these are only a few):after although as as if as long asbecause before even if if even thoughonce provided since so that thatthough till unless until whatwhen whenever wherever whether while
  16. 16. Strategy 1: VaryingLet’s finish up the first strategy with a few examples: POORThe puppy squirmed with glee as his new owner wrestled with him. Thepuppy rolled like tumbleweed across the carpet. He slipped through theboy’s fingers. He shot across the living room and then the puppy grabbed astray sock. The puppy then hid under the coffee table. He gnawed on thecotton. He chewed on it unil it was a slimy pulp. The boy was upset at hispuppy for destroying his dad’s sock. He couldn’t stay angry at the cutepuppy. BETTERRolling like a tumbleweed across the carpet, the puppy squirmed with gleeas his new owner wrestled with him. He slipped through the boy’s fingers,and grabbing a stray sock along the way, shot across the living room to hideunder the coffee table and contentedly gnaw on the cotton until it was aslimy pulp. Although upset over the destruction of his dad’s sock, the boyfound it difficult to stay angry at the cute face peering out at him.
  17. 17. Strategy 1: VaryingIn this final one, only a good example is given. Payattention to the construction of the sentencesas you read.The smell of snow, and of something less tangible, carried beyond mynostrils to fill my whole body as I hiked on. Around me, the ebb and flow ofthe snowy forest carried on in one of its most beautiful displays: snowfalling off the trees as the sun warmed and a light breeze blew.Occasionally, a large snowball would dive out of the branches with awhump! But mostly the snow fell as a delicate mist of tiny, shimmeringrainbows dancing through beams of sunlight – glittering blues, winkingpinks, starry whites. Several times I stood in the light shower, my faceupturned and eyes closed to let snowflakes settle on my eyelashes. The treebraches, when parted from their snow, always waved a gentle goodbye, as ifthis is the way of things – a serene acceptance of the beautiful movementsof nature.
  18. 18. Strategy 2 Combine sentences.Improve the flow of a piece by finding logical and creative ways to link sentences.
  19. 19. Strategy 2: CombiningSimple sentences have just the basic subject,verb and maybe an object.Example: The peanut lodged in his nostril. (subject) (verb) (object)Simple sentences are fine, but too many in a rowbecome choppy to read. You can create compoundand complex sentences to help show how ideas relateto one another. Sprinkling these in with shortersimple sentences will improve the overall flow.
  20. 20. Strategy 2: CombiningA compound sentence takes two completesentences and connects them with a connectorword (called a coordinating conjunction), suchas “and,” “or,” and “but.”Two simple sentences: I joined a gym last month. I never make the time to go.One compound sentence: I joined a gym last month, but I never make the time to go.
  21. 21. Strategy 2: CombiningA complex sentence has one complete sentence (calledan independent clause) and another part that is not acomplete sentence (called, not surprisingly, a dependentclause). Two simple sentences can be turned in a complexsentence with the addition of a subordinating conjunction.Two simple sentences: I joined a gym last month. I never make the time to go.One compound sentence: Although I joined a gym last month, I never make the time to go.
  22. 22. Strategy 2: CombingingAlthough I joined a gym last month, I nevermake the time to go.See how in this sentence, the part after the commacan stand alone, but the first part of the sentencecannot? Complete sentence: I joined a gym last month. Complete sentence: I never make time to go. NOT a complete sentence: Although I joined a gym last month. (The word “although,” the subordinating conjunction, sets up the idea for more information, which is needed.)
  23. 23. Strategy 2: CombingingBecause he was trained to be aggressive,the dog bit me.Independent clause: A complete sentence that canstand alone. It is independent. Example: The dog bit me.Dependent clause (also a subordinating conjunction):A phrase that cannot stand alone. It is dependent onsomething else. Example: Because he was trained to be aggressive.NOTE: The addition of the subordinating conjunction MAKES itdependent. Without the word “because,” the sentence is fine: He wastrained to be aggressive.
  24. 24. Strategy 2: CombingingIf the idea of subordinating conjunctions sounds tootechnical, don’t worry. Just remember that they arewords that require two parts for a complete idea –they show relationships between ideas.Here’s a list of some of the most common subordinating conjunctions:after if tillalthough once untilas since whenbecause than wherebefore that whetherhow though while
  25. 25. Strategy 2: CombiningHere are some examples of complex sentences usingsubordinating conjunctions:After spilling coffee on his rented tux, Keiran decided to bemore careful.Until she saw the flying hippo herself, Dr. Grossbeak would notbelieve any of the reports.Whether you plan to drive in the snow or not, it’s a good idea tocarry chains.As the they spilled out the front doors of the school, thegraduating seniors felt a sense of accomplishment andapprehension.Because he had nothing better to do, Fido buried his master’sshoe in the garden.
  26. 26. Strategy 2: CombiningNow let’s look at some sentence combining:Original (Simple sentences):Mr. T has a large mohawk. He also wears ample goldchains. Some people say his tough guy image is justan act.Revised 1 (compound sentence):Mr. T has a large mohawk and wears ample goldchains, but some people say his tough guy image isjust an act.Revised 2 (complex sentence):Although Mr. T has a large mohawk and wears ample goldchains, some people say his tough guy image is just an act.
  27. 27. Strategy 2: CombiningOriginal:The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is very controversial. It givescitizens the right to bear arms. It was written at a time when the country had nomilitia and had to fight England for its independence. Today we have a strongmilitary. Some people feel that the Second Amendment is no longer needed.Revised 1:The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives citizens the right tobear arms*, is very controversial. It was written at a time when the country had nomilitia and had to fight England for its independence. Yet today we have a strongmilitary, so some people feel that the Second Amendment is no longer needed. *Note how the second sentence in the original is now embedded within the first sentence.Revised 2 (complex sentence):The controversial** Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which givescitizens the right to bear arms, was written at a time when the country had nomilitia and had to fight England for its independence. However, since today we havea strong military, some people feel that the Second Amendment is no longer needed. **Note how the third sentence in the original has been reduced to just an adjective.
  28. 28. Strategy 2: CombiningSome people have learned to make complex sentences, butforget the variety. Too many similar sentence structures in arow, even if they are more complex than just subject + verb +object, can make a reader weary. Here’s an example of this. Ifyou want, take a shot at revising for improved fluency!Original: As he looked around, Officer Gary noticed the mobsters approaching. Although they didn’t see him in his cop car in the shadow of the warehouse, he knew they would spot the car in just a few more steps. Although nobody would come anyway, it was too late to call for back up. As he thought about what to do, he began to sweat. At the moment they were about to see the car, he turned the ignition, punched the accelerator and headed straight for them.Hear the problem? The sentence structure, while complex, isalso repetitive. Vary those sentences!
  29. 29. Strategy 2: CombiningNow you try! Write out your own sentencecombinations for the following passage (#13 on yournotes). You don’t have to keep the ideas in the sameorder.Original: Denise held the ball lightly in her hands. She dribbled a few times. She liked the sound of the ball hitting the concrete. Denise began to run toward the basket. Her incessant practice made her drive toward the basket seem more like a glide. She lunged in the air and slam dunked the ball. She did it with all the power and grace of many male basketball players. There was no one in the deserted schoolyard to applaud or gasp. It was just Denise and her motivation to improve today.
  30. 30. Strategy 3Use a variety of sentence lengths.Sprinkle in some short sentences that pack a punch with your longer, compound and complex sentences.
  31. 31. Strategy 3Here’s an example of a writer using a variety of sentencelengths to the advantage of her content:As soon as “The Screamer” took off, I knew I had made a mistake inletting my sister talk me into stepping on the yanking and writhingmonster seemingly designed by Satan himself. Every move theroller coaster made terrified me: its violent, headache-inducingbumps, gut-twisting lurches, and gravity-yanking drops, and for thisreason the ride seemed as if it would last for eternity. But it didn’t.Just as I felt able to draw my first breath, the cars swooped in to theloading area in order to expel us and lure in more victims. Suddenly,inexplicably, I yearned for more. I turned to my sister with eagereyes. “Let’s go again!”Note how the longer sentences mimic the fast, breathlessmovement of the roller coater, while the shorter sentencesemphasize changes or the more important points.
  32. 32. Strategy 3Let’s look at it again, counting words in each sentence (#13in your notes:As soon as “The Screamer” took off, I knew I had made a mistake inletting my sister talk me into stepping on the yanking and writhingmonster seemingly designed by Satan himself (a. __ words). Everymove the roller coaster made terrified me: its violent, headache-inducing bumps, gut-twisting lurches, and gravity-yanking drops,and for this reason the ride seemed as if it would last for eternity (b. ___ words). But it didn’t (c. ___ words). Just as I felt able to drawmy first breath, the cars swooped in to the loading area in order toexpel us and lure in more victims (d. ___ words). Suddenly,inexplicably, I yearned for more (e. ___ words). I turned to mysister with eager eyes (f. ___ words). “Let’s go again!” (g. __ words)
  33. 33. Strategy 3Check your work:As soon as “The Screamer” took off, I knew I had made a mistake inletting my sister talk me into stepping on the yanking and writhingmonster seemingly designed by Satan himself (33 words). Everymove the roller coaster made terrified me: its violent, headache-inducing bumps, gut-twisting lurches, and gravity-yanking drops,and for this reason the ride seemed as if it would last for eternity (24words). But it didn’t (3 words). Just as I felt able to draw my firstbreath, the cars swooped in to the loading area in order to expel usand lure in more victims (28 words). Suddenly, inexplicably, Iyearned for more (6 words). I turned to my sister with eager eyes(8 words). “Let’s go again!” (3 words)
  34. 34. Strategy 3Here’s another example, this one the opening to an essay I wrote manyyears ago while living in Quito, Ecuador: At 7:05 a.m., five minutes past the time I was supposed to be in the school parking lot to meet with the Excursion Club for a climb up Guagua Pichincha, the local volcano, I was on the phone trying to call a taxi. The line was busy. I brushed my teeth and tried again. Still busy. I threw my hiking gear and extra clothes into my backpack, put on my boots and called again. Busy. Time for plan B. I would have to walk – scratch that – run to the bus and take a cab from the Cumbaya stop. And run I did, arriving at the bus stop breathing heavy and sweating in too many clothes. On a weekday around seven, every other vehicle is a bus, packed to the roof with commuters and spewing out a thick stream of black exhaust. But today, on a Saturday, I had to wait for some time (in Quito bus life, “some time” is more than two minutes). When one finally came along, it, too, was brimming with humanity. I grabbed the bar on the outside and barely had a foot on the step, when the money-taker guy yelled “Vaya!” to the driver. Go! So that’s how I went, with two feet in the little space left on the first step, one hand holding on to the outside of the bus and the other just inside the door, trying to grasp onto something, and eventually being pinned to the wall by the money taker’s butt. The rest of my body hung completely outside of the moving bus; there was simply no room to go any further. Safe? Probably not. Fun? Heck yeah!
  35. 35. Strategy 3Here’s the same passage, with word counts for sentences. Notice the variety? At 7:05 a.m., five minutes past the time I was supposed to be in the school parking lot to meet with the Excursion Club for a climb up Guagua Pichincha, the local volcano, I was on the phone trying to call a taxi (43 words). The line was busy (4 words). I brushed my teeth and tried again (8 words). Still busy (2 words). I threw my hiking gear and extra clothes into my backpack, put on my boots and called again (18 words). Busy (1 word). Time for plan B (4 words). I would have to walk – scratch that – run to the bus and take a cab from the Cumbaya stop (19 words). And run I did, arriving at the bus stop breathing heavy and sweating in too many clothes (17 words). On a weekday around seven, every other vehicle is a bus, packed to the roof with commuters and spewing out a thick stream of black exhaust (26 words). But today, on a Saturday, I had to wait for some time (in Quito bus life, “some time” is more than two minutes) (23 words). When one finally came along, it, too, was brimming with humanity (11 words). I grabbed the bar on the outside and barely had a foot on the step, when the money-taker guy yelled “Vaya!” to the driver (17 words). Go! (1 word) So that’s how I went, with two feet in the little space left on the first step, one hand holding on to the outside of the bus and the other just inside the door, trying to grasp onto something, and eventually being pinned to the wall by the money taker’s butt (51 words). The rest of my body hung completely outside of the moving bus; there was simply no room to go any further (21 words) . Safe? (1 word) Probably not (2 words). Fun? (1 word) Heck yeah! (2 words)
  36. 36. Strategy 3“But that is creative writing,” you might be saying. “I’m writing a more formal essay.” You can still use sentence variety! Here’s an excerpt from acollege newspaper article I wrote on the history of the Fourth of July. (No, Idon’t love my work so much that I can’t stop sharing it with you; I’mjust trying to avoid violating copyright laws by using my own material asexamples rather than the work of others.) Our forefathers were very proud of their work; they bravely declared their independence - the words of freedom ringing in their ears. After eight years of war, that freedom was finally recognized. But not everyone in America had their independence – not by a long shot. Look at history. What was the Fourth of July to African-Americans, first enslaved and then discriminated against; to Native Americans, relocated and watching while the plentiful land was stripped; to women, fighting for equal rights and recognition; to Japanese- Americans, thrown in internment camps because of distrust; or to the countless others who have lived in this country, under the Declaration of Independence only to be denied of its freedoms? What did they have to celebrate? Frederick Douglas helps fill out our perspective with this view on the Fourth of July: "[A] day that reveals the gross injustice to which [a slave] is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license..." Have we as a nation improved? Have we overcome the hypocrisy of our forefathers to make the Declaration of Independence universal in its implementation? Sadly, no, according author Laura B. Randolph, who writes, "On the Fourth of July ... take a quite moment to reflect on just how much things have changed - and just how much they have stayed the same."
  37. 37. Strategy 3And finally, the same excerpt with word counts: Our forefathers were very proud of their work; they bravely declared their independence - the words of freedom ringing in their ears (21 words). After eight years of war, that freedom was finally recognized (10 words) . But not everyone in America had their independence – not by a long shot (13 words) . Look at history (3 words). What was the Fourth of July to African-Americans, first enslaved and then discriminated against; to Native Americans, relocated and watching while the plentiful land was stripped; to women, fighting for equal rights and recognition; to Japanese-Americans, thrown in internment camps because of distrust; or to the countless others who have lived in this country, under the Declaration of Independence only to be denied of its freedoms? (68 words) What did they have to celebrate? (6 words) Frederick Douglas helps fill out our perspective with this view on the Fourth of July: "[A] day that reveals the gross injustice to which [a slave] is the constant victim (30 words) . To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license...“(13 words) Have we as a nation improved? (6 words) Have we overcome the hypocrisy of our forefathers to make the Declaration of Independence universal in its implementation? (18 words) Sadly, no, according author Laura B. Randolph, who writes, "On the Fourth of July ... take a quite moment to reflect on just how much things have changed - and just how much they have stayed the same.“(36 words)
  38. 38. Strategy 4 Use parallel structure.If you use a repeated pattern in a sentence (a highly effective technique), make sure whatever you repeat is grammatically consistent.
  39. 39. Strategy 4 – Parallel StructureWhat is parallel structure?Simply put, it’s making sure that all partsof your sentence are grammaticallyconsistent. They should jive. Parallel: I like to go hiking, camping and cross-country skiing. Not Parallel: I like to go hiking, camping and to cross- country ski.The second sentence is inconsistent and doesn’twork.
  40. 40. Strategy 4Parallelism can do so much more for a piece, however. A writerCan repeat a word or phrase in a sentence, or within a series ofsentences to help emphasize his or her message.Here’s an example:"We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in search of our future. We are apeople in search of a national community." -- Barbara Jordan, 1976 Democratic Convention Keynote Address
  41. 41. Strategy 4The next example comes from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letterfrom a Birmingham Jail.”I’m sure most of you know and respect Dr. King for his boldand inspiring leadership during the Civil Rights Movement. Inaddition to being a stirring speaker, he was a brilliant writer.You may be tempted to skim over the next page due to it’slength. Don’t. Read it all – it’s excellent, knock-outWriting that you need to see.(As you read, remember that “lynch” means to hang.)
  42. 42. Strategy 4 – Parallel StructureWe have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia andAfrica are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never feltthe stinging dark of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothersand fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemencurse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twentymillion Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when yousuddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-olddaughter why she cant go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and seetears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominousclouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort herpersonality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct ananswer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?";when you take a cross-county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortablecorners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out bynagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle namebecomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother arenever given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that youare a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued withinner fears and outer resentments; when you no forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of enduranceruns over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you canunderstand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.
  43. 43. Strategy 4The next slide is the same passage, butthis time I have bolded and underlinedthe repeated structures in the sentence.Look at King’s use of the pattern – therepeated phrase – as it builds up to hisstrong point.
  44. 44. Strategy 4 – Parallel StructureWe have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God-given rights. The nations of Asia andAfrica are moving with jetlike speed toward gaining political independence, but we stiff creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward gaining a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never feltthe stinging dark of segregation to say, "Wait." But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothersand fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemencurse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twentymillion Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-Old daughter why she cant go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, andsee tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominousclouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort herpersonality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct ananswer for a five-year-old son who is asking: "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?";when you take a cross-county drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortablecorners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day outBy nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle namebecomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother arenever given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact thatYou are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plaguedwith inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness,“then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runsover, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understandour legitimate and unavoidable impatience.
  45. 45. Some final tipsAvoid starting sentences with conversational slang, such as“well” and “so,” especially in formal writing.Always read a paper aloud to help check for flow and fluency.Remember to stop at periods and pause at commas; if you’renot reading the sentences as written, they won’t sound too goodout loud.Speaking of punctuation, if knowing where to place commas,periods and semi-colons is a problem for you, make sure to getsome help on this. Improper punctuation can really runinterference with your fluency. As a simple rule, though, ifwhen you read, you hear a natural pause, that’s a place for acomma. If you hear a natural stop, that’s where your periodshould go. Read this page aloud to test this advice.
  46. 46. Whew. . .You’re finished!

×