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Constructing Clear Sentences

and Paragraphs
Lecture 2
13-Jul-20
Today’s Discussion
❑ Explain the role of adaptation in writing clear sentences.
❑ Write short, clear sentences by limiting sentence content and economizing on words.
❑ Design sentences that give the right emphasis to content.
❑ Employ unity and good logic in writing effective sentences.
❑ Compose paragraphs that are short and unified, use topic sentences effectively, and
communicate coherently.
Communication
“It is a process of transmitting information, thoughts, opinions, messages, facts,
ideas or emotions, and understanding from one person, place or thing to
another person, place or thing.” – Dr. C. B. Memoria
“The exchange of ideas, news, and views in connection with the business
among the related parties is called business communication.” – W.H. Meaning
Current Challenges for
Business Communication
❖ Challenge#1: The ongoing development of new Information Technologies.
✓ In addition to the email, emergence of ‘New Media’.
✓ Need for Social Intelligence - refers to the ability to quickly assess the emotions of
those around them and adapt their words, tone, and gestures accordingly
✓ Emerging need for employees to have “adaptive thinking”, a willingness to
“embrace change”, and “fierce problem-solving skills”
Current Challenges for
Business Communication
❖ Challenge#2: Increasing Globalization and Workplace Diversity

✓ Likelihood of working on a global team is increasing. Cross Cultural


Competency, thus, should be a part of your skillset.
✓ Different generations working together.
Three Categories of
Business Communication
❖ Internal Operational Communication: Occurs in conducting work within a business.
✓ Orders, instructions, written and oral exchanges among employees about work matters.
✓ Writing and discussing reports, Assignments, ideas etc.

❖ External Operational Communication: Work-related communicating that a business does


with people or groups outside the business
✓ Personal Selling
✓ Telephoning
✓ Advertising
✓ Writing Messages
❖ Personal Communication: Non-operational communication that employees do with
colleagues or outsiders.
✓ Non business related information/feelings
✓ Affects Employee Attitude and Attitude Affects Employee Performance
A Model of Business
Communication
Initial Message

Communicator Communicator
1 Communication 2
Context
• Receives the message
• Senses a communication
• Organizational • Interprets the message
need
Context • Decides on a response
• Defines the situation
• Professional • Reply to the message
• Considers possible Contexts
communication strategies • Personal Contexts
• Selects a course of action
• Composes the message
• Sends the message
Responding Message
The Importance of
Adaptation
❖ Like choosing words, constructing clear sentences and paragraphs involves
adaptation to the intended readers.
❖ Use simpler sentence structures to reach people with lower communication
abilities and people not knowledgeable about the subject and vice versa.
❖ However, even the advanced readers tend to prefer simplicity.
❖ Emphasis in sentences in such a way that your key points stand out.
❖ Well structured sentences convey a professional image.
CARE IN SENTENCE DESIGN:
Write short, clear sentences by limiting sentence content and economizing on words.
Limit Sentence Content
❖ Business audience prefer simple, efficient sentences.
❖ No one wants to read writing that wastes time
❖ More words increase the chances of a misunderstanding
❖ Convert long, difficult sentences into short, clearer sentences.
Limit Sentence Content
❖ However..
▪ Careful: overuse of short sentence can sound elementary/choppy
▪ Use long sentences moderately and occasionally
▪ Sometimes long sentences are required to convey thoughts
Economize on Words
❖ Tip 1: Eliminate Cluttering Phrases - Phrases that can be replaced by shorter wording
without loss of meaning
Example:
▪ In the event that payment is not made by January, operations will cease.
✓ If payment is not made by January, operations will cease.
▪ In very few instances do the salespeople receive bonuses over the amount of $100.
✓ The salespeople rarely receive bonuses over $100.
Economize on Words
❖ Tip 2: Cut Surplus Words – Sometimes we use meaningless extra words as a matter of
habit. Try to eliminate some words completely and still keep the same meaning.
Example:
▪ It will be noted that the records for the past years show a steady increase in special
appropriations.
✓ The records for the past years show a steady increase in special appropriations.
▪ His performance was good enough to enable him to qualify for the promotion.
✓ His performance was good enough to qualify for the promotion.
Economize on Words
❖ Tip 3: Rephrase Roundabout Constructions – Direct ways are shorter and communicate
better.
Example:
▪ The department budget can be observed to be decreasing each new year.
✓ The department budget decreases each year.
▪ The president is of the opinion that the tax was paid.
✓ The president believes that the tax was paid.
Economize on Words
❖ Tip 4: Unnecessary Repetition of Words or Ideas – Repeating words or ideas with no
apparent need adds to sentence length.
Example:
▪ The beginning of the speech with open with a welcome.
✓ The Speech will open with a welcome.
▪ We must assemble together at 10.30 am in the morning.
✓ We must assemble at 10.30 am.
MANAGE EMPHASIS IN SENTENCE DESIGN:
Design sentences that give the right emphasis to content
Manage Emphasis in Sentence
Design
❖Tip: 1 - Use short sentences for emphasis.
❖Tip: 2 - Use Independent and Dependent Clauses Deliberately: When a
sentence contains two or more ideas, the ideas share emphasis.
Example:
The company lost money last year. The loss occurred despite record sales.
✓Version 1: The company lost money last year, and the loss occurred despite
record sales.
✓Version 2: Although the company enjoyed record sales last year, it lost money.
✓Version 3: The company enjoyed record sales last year, although it lost money.
GIVE SENTENCES UNITY
Employ Unity and Good Logic
Give Sentences Unity
Tip 1: Avoid Unrelated Ideas - Three ways to give unity
▪ Put ideas in separate sentences
▪ Subordinate one of the idea to the other
▪ Add words to show that they are related
Example:
▪ The weather was unusually bad last month, and sales of products increased by 12 percent.
✓ Even though the weather was unusually bad last month, our sales of products increased by
12 percent.
Give Sentences Unity
Tip 2: Avoid Excessive Details into Single Sentence

Example:
▪ Both hotels can guarantee the 250 rooms we will require, although the Marriott is new
(since 1999) and its rooms are more modern and therefore more appealing, but the 69-
year old Westgate is well preserved and comfortable.

✓Both hotels can guarantee the 250 rooms we will require. The Marriott is new (since
1999), and its rooms are modern and, therefore, more appealing. The 69-year old
Westgate, however, is well preserved and comfortable.
Word Sentences Logically
Tip 1: Avoid Mixed Constructions

For example, can you describe what’s wrong with the following sentences?
▪ First we found less expensive material, and then a more economical means of production
was developed.
▪ The consumer should read the nutrition label, but you often don’t take the time to do so.
▪ Because our salespeople are inexperienced caused us to miss our quota.
Word Sentences Logically
Tip 1: Avoid Mixed Constructions (Contd.)
▪ The first sentence used both active and passive voices. Instead, try writing –
✓ First we found less expensive material, and then we developed a more economical means of
production.
▪ Second sentence changed from third person (consumer) to second (you). Instead,
try writing –
✓ The consumer should read the nutrition label, but they often don’t take the time to do so.
▪ Third one is simply awkward. Rewrite the sentence by changing either the subject
or the predicate.
✓ Our inexperienced salespeople caused us to miss the quota.
Word Sentences Logically
Tip 2: Avoid Incomplete Constructions.

▪ She was so happy with the retirement party we gave her.


This sounds incomplete. She was so happy..that what? That she bought everyone
ice-creams?
You can leave so out. Simple say She was happy with the retirement party we gave
her.
Word Sentences Logically
Tip 3: Avoid Dangling/Misplaced Modifiers - A misplaced modifier is a phrase,
clause, or word that has no clear referent, often causing confusion and twisting the
meaning of words in an unintended fashion.

▪ My mother told me that I would have gray hair when I was ten.
What’s wrong with the sentence above?
Word Sentences Logically
Tip 3: Avoid Dangling/Misplaced Modifiers - A misplaced modifier is a phrase,
clause, or word that has no clear referent, often causing confusion and twisting the
meaning of words in an unintended fashion.

▪ My mother told me that I would have gray hair when I was ten.
What’s wrong with the sentence above?

Correct: When I was ten, my mother told me that I would have gray
hair.
CARE IN PARAGRAPH DESIGN
Paragraphs that are short and united, use topic sentences effectively, and communicate coherently.
Leave Out Unnecessary
Detail
In reviewing the personnel history form you filled out last week, I found an error
that needs to be corrected. The section titled “work history” has blank lines for
three items of information. The first is for dates employed. The second is for
company name. And the third is for type of work performed. On your form you
wrote company name only, and it extended across all three blanks. You did not
indicate years employed or your duties. This information is important. It is
reviewed by your supervisors every time you are considered for promotion or for
a pay increase. Therefore, it must be completed. I request that you come by my
office and complete this form at your earliest convenience.
Leave Out Unnecessary
Detail
Only the following is necessary:
A recent review of the personnel records showed that your record is incomplete.
Please log into the company portal at your earliest convenience to update it. This
information will enable your supervisors to see all your qualifications when
considering you for a promotion or a pay increase.
Keep Paragraphs Short

Heavy paragraphs make the writing Short paragraphs give well-organized effect --
appear to be dull and difficult. invite the reader to read.
Make Good Use of Topic
Sentence
❖ A topic sentence expresses the main idea of a paragraph.
❖ Remaining sentences build around and support it.
❖ Although NOT every paragraph has a topic sentence.
❖ However, topic sentences force you to determine the central idea of each
paragraph and help you to check for paragraph unity.
Make Good Use of Topic
Sentence
❖ Notice good use of topic sentence below:
We at Digex take care of all the needs of your online business. First, we
supply the hardware and software necessary to get your site up and running.
Next, we make sure that you are online 24/7/365 with our world-class data
centers and networks. In addition, we provide the administration,
monitoring, and security that assures your site success.
THANK YOU!