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Video Transcripts

Engaging Writing: Tool 2--Sentence Structure

Last updated 4/19/2016

 

Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.

Audio: Guitar music.

 

Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in the center of the screen. Background changes to another notebook on a table, with a person sitting behind it, and a bright orange box. “Engaging Writing Tool 2—Sentence Structure” text appears in center of screen in a orange box.

Slide changes a mostly gray slide with a blue box in the center. In the blue box is the following:

Sentence Structure: the way you combine phrases and clauses to create a sentence.

  • Sentences consist of clauses and phrases
  • Mixing and matching clauses and phrases creates variety.”

Below are four green, small, boxes that read:

“Teachers create lesson plans.

Teachers revise lesson plans.

Students benefit from good teachers.

Students learn more from good teachers.”

Audio: The next tool that you have is your sentence structure. And this is sort of related to the syntax. But the sentence structure really refers to the way that you group the words in your sentences. So, if you remember from, you know, either grammar school or you may have seen previous webinars where we’ve talked about phrases and clauses—phrases and clauses are kind of those grammar geek terms that just talk about the way words are combined, and they’re groups of words in a sentence. So they’re groups of words that work together in a sentence. And each sentence is made up of a combination of these phrases and clauses.

So if we use these, the nice thing about phrases and clauses is that you can intermix them and change the order of them to, again, vary the way that your sentence is portrayed to the reader. So let’s look at a few examples here. If you look at the examples, we have the examples:

  • Teachers create lesson plans.
  • Teachers revise lesson plans.
  • Students benefit from good teachers.
  • Students learn more from good teachers.

Okay, each of these are kind of an individual group of words together. If we combine them, though, we can have some sentences that have a mix of these phrases and clauses:

 

Teachers are responsible for creating and revising lesson plans. When teachers do this well, students benefit in many ways. One benefit can be increased learning.

 

Especially in the second example there—when teachers do this well, comma, students benefit in many ways—this is a great example of where there are a couple phrases and clauses mixed together, and one comes before the other that maybe wouldn’t always come in that order. So the way that you mix those up, and match—mix and match—those phrases and clauses, really gives a sense of variety and a sense of variation for your reader. So again, they are more engaged in your writing.

 

Visual: Slide changes—background is the same.  The slide reads:

 

Sentence Structure: The way you structure phrases and clauses to create a sentence.

 

Counseling can be an emotionally draining profession and counselors must ensure they take care of themselves before they will be able to take care of their patients.

 

Because counseling can be emotionally draining, counselors must ensure they take care of themselves before they will be able to take care of their patients.

 

Counselors must ensure they take care of themselves, because counseling can be emotionally draining, before they will be able to take care of their patients.”

 

Audio: Take a look at the examples on this page. I’m going to read the last two, simply because I want to show you how these use the exact same words but in a different order. So the middle example here says, “Because counseling can be emotionally draining,”—that’s one chunk—“counselors must ensure that they take care of themselves”—that’s another chunk—“before they will be able to take care of their patients”—that’s another chunk. Ok, so we have those three groups of words working together.

If you look at the next example, it takes those three groups and puts them in a different order. “Counselors must ensure they take care of themselves [pause] because counseling can be emotionally draining [pause] before they will be able to take care of their patients.” We have exactly the same words; there was no variation in words whatsoever, but there was a variation in the way that the sentence was ordered and the way that those groups of words showed up in the sentence. So again, there’s lots of variation, lots of ways you can vary your sentences to better engage your readers.

 

Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Questions? E-mail writingsupport@waldenu.edu” appears in the center of the screen.