What Is the Difference between “A” Writing and “B” Writing?
Students sometimes wonder what is the difference between writing which receives a mark of “A” and that which receives only a “B.” The difference can usually be summed up in 12 words: variety, conciseness, clarity and completeness, sentence types, sentence variety, and sentence combining.
è è VARIETY
§ § Varying the kinds of sentences you use can make your writing lively and distinctive.
§ § If you experiment with sentence structure, you increase the chance of readers’ paying attention to what you write.
§ § To avoid the choppiness produced by a series of short sentences, you can lengthen sentences by:
§ § Subordination
§ § Coordination
§ § (Sometimes abrupt sentences may be used for special effects.)
§ § Relying too heavily on beginning with a subject can make your writing monotonous; use alternative beginnings:
§ § Begin with an adverb
§ § Begin with a prepositional phrase
(e.g. out of necessity,…)
§ § Begin with a transition
(e.g. first, then, furthermore, etc.)
§ § Remember that when you are experimenting with sentence structure, subordination is as important as coordination.
è è CONCISENESS:
Avoiding Wordiness and Needless Repetition
§ § Unnecessary words or phrases distract readers and should be omitted.
§ § Repetition is a sign of inefficiency.
§ § Avoid:
§ § Redundancy
(repeating for no good reason)
§ § Unnecessary, inexact words
§ § Combining sentences or simplifying phrases can eliminate needless words.
§ § Use pronouns to avoid needlessly repeating a noun or using clumsy synonyms.
è è CLARITY AND COMPLETENESS
§ § Words that are often omitted in speech are often needed in writing to make the meaning clear.
(e.g. We better study hardàWe had better study hard)
è è SENTENCE TYPES
§ § Simple Sentence: One main clause: Contains one subject, one verb, and expresses a complete thought
(Note: The subject and/or the verb can be compound)
§ § Compound Sentence: Contains two or more main clauses and no subordinate clauses
(Note: These are connected by a semicolon or a comma + coordinate conjunction. They connect main clauses which should be related to each other logically.)
§ § Complex Sentence: Has one main clause and one or more subordinate clauses.
§ § Compound-Complex Sentence: Contains two or more main clauses and one or more subordinate clauses.
è è SENTENCE VARIETY
§ § Good writing contains a variety of sentence structures and types.
§ § Another way to improve sentence structure is by the use of parallelism. (In a series, nouns should be balanced with nouns, verbs with verbs, adjectives with adjectives, etc.)
è è SENTENCE COMBINING
§ § Sentence combining contributes to a smooth flow of sentences and avoids choppiness that results from a string of main clauses (machine gun effect).
§ § Avoid choppiness and strung-out compound sentences by:
§ § Subordinating
§ § Using compound verbs
§ § Using phrases
§ § Rewriting one sentence into two or more sentences