Sentences that flow

Complete Sentences: S + V

When we write technical, academic, or formal English, we must make sure to write complete sentences. A sentence is complete if it has at least one Subject and one Verb. (S+V). For example:

Mike studies Japanese everyday.

This is a complete sentence. “Mike” is the Subject and “studies” is the Verb. (“Japanese” is what Mike studies. We call this the “Object” of the verb: SVO) This type of verb is called a “Do” Verb. Another type of complete English sentence uses “Be” Verbs.

He is tired.

It is a complete sentence even though it is very short. In contrast, the following is not a complete sentence even though it is very long:

Because the train from Kochi Station was late due to heavy rains that often happen in June.

Q: Why is this not a complete sentence? What does it need?

[Pro Tip: Never start a sentence with “Because” or “So” unless you are very sure of what you are doing.]

Better Sentences: Flow

Good writing depends on sentences that flow like a river. They are easier to read and have usually have many fewer words. For example, these sentences do not flow:

I was a child.

I had a pet.

The pet was a dog.

The dog was little.

The dog’s name was “Goro.” (22 words)

Each of those sentences is very short, but has only one piece of real information. That’s a very inefficient and foolish way to write. It would be much better to combine these little sentences into one beautiful sentence that flows like river:

When I was child, I had a little pet dog named “Goro.” (12 words)

Now you try. Combine these short sentences into longer, more beautiful sentences.

  • Braille is a system.
  • The system is special.
  • It is a system of writing.
  • It is a system for reading.
  • It is a system for people.
  • The people are blind.
  • The time was yesterday.
  • Jack went to the store.
  • He bought a banana.
  • He bought some soy milk.
  • It was for the party. The party is tonight.
  • Jim Thorpe won medals.
  • The medals were Olympic medals.
  • They were gold medals.
  • He won them in 1912.
  • He was not allowed to keep the medals.
  • Kochi has mountains.
  • There many mountains.
  • The mountains are beautiful.
  • These mountains attract trekkers.
  • These trekkers are from all over Japan.
  • Imoten is a snack.
  • It is a snack from Kochi.
  • It is especially popular.
  • Tourist often buy it.
  • They buy it at Sunday Market.
  • I practiced my speech.
  • I did this with my notes.
  • I did this in front of a mirror.
  • I did this in front of my cat.
  • I did this in front of my boyfriend.
  • Film acting begins with a screenplay.
  • The screenplay includes all the written information.
  • The information is about the set and the actors’ dialogues.
  • The screenplay grows into a movie.

[Notes: The following sentences are not in order. Change these into no more than 5 sentences.]

  • My friend said, “You said let’s meet outside Lawson.”
  • I felt impatient.
  • My friend didn’t come for a long time.
  • I was reading a comic book.
  • I was waiting for my friend at Lawson.
  • I asked my friend, “What are you doing out here?”
  • I was surprised.
  • I saw my friend standing outside.
  • I went out of the store.

Homework (due next class): Write up your partner introduction in complete sentences in as few words as possible.

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