Why are sentence structures important in EAP?
This is the first of three lessons about Compound-Complex Sentences. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.
– Review the four sentence structures available in English
– Discuss two key reasons for why learning how to grammatically form sentence structures is useful
– Include examples of each reason to help guide the reader
One aspect of grammar that students often need extra help with is in recognising, deconstructing and recreating the many sentence structures that exist in the English language. When using English for academic purposes (EAP), it’s important that students have a good knowledge of this topic. Knowing a compound sentence from a complex sentence or a sentence fragment from a run-on sentence, for example, will enable more precise editing and proofreading and create more dynamic and engaging writing.
While our short course on simple and compound sentences dealt with the simplest two sentence structures, this next course deals specifically with complex and compound-complex sentences. In Lesson 1, we first discuss how having a knowledge of sentence structures will improve your academic confidence and success, with Lessons 2 and 3 then dealing respectively with the key forms and rules of complex and compound-complex sentences. To remind you of all four structures at the start of this course, a table has been provided below:
Reason 1: Careful Editing
The first way in which having a confident knowledge of sentence structures will improve your academic proficiency is that it will make you a better editor. While some grammatical errors can be more or less ignored by a reader as they don’t significantly affect meaning, this isn’t true for errors made when forming sentence structures. To see how such errors can affect meaning in context, consider the following example paragraph:
Clearly, when sentence structures have been formed incorrectly as in the above example, the meaning of those sentences can become very difficult to follow. See if you can notice a difference in coherence and clarity when reading the same text again following the necessary corrections and edits:
Many common sentence-structure errors such as sentence fragments, comma splices and sentence run-ons can all be avoided by simply having a more confident knowledge of this area of grammar. A student that has this knowledge and a keen editor’s eye should therefore be able to submit a higher quality of academic writing.
Reason 2: Dynamic Writing
Another motivation for learning to recognise and utilise a variety of sentence structures is to make your writing more varied and dynamic. Consider the two example paragraphs below. The first paragraph contains nine very short sentences, most of which are simple sentences composed of only one subject and one verb. The second paragraph, however, expresses the same meaning as the first but contains only four sentences – each of which have been formed in a number of different ways:
By using a variety of sentence structures, paragraph (2) is not only more dynamic than paragraph (1), but it is also easier and more pleasurable to read. Provided you can understand and are able to use a variety of sentence structures, your writing should become more dynamic and varied too.
Now complete Lesson 1’s activities to check your understanding, and then consider continuing your studies by moving on to Lesson 2 about complex sentences.
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