Revising for Clarity: Focus on Structure

Most first-year writers (indeed all writers) need reliable strategies for strengthening sentences and paragraphs. My colleague, Multilingual Writing Specialist Jessica Sands, observes that many multilingual writers have trouble writing clearly in English because of two common problems: 

  • Their sentences are difficult to read because there is an interruption of flow between the subject and the verb. 
  • Their paragraphs are difficult to follow because of unclear connections between previously stated information and new information. 

In a recent workshop, Jessica addressed these challenges by introducing two useful principles to make writing more clear:

  • Principle One | Put the verb near the beginning of the sentence
  • Principle Two | Put known information before new information

Follow this link to a real time GoogleDoc | Revising for Clarity: Focus on Structure to learn more about these principles and for lesson planning ideas and resources. Join other FWS instructors to post ideas for additional classroom activities and instructional tools that you have tried or are considering.

Note that while these activities presented in this forum are especially useful for multilingual writers, ALL writers, no matter their experience or skill level, will benefit from this kind of micro-level attention to their writing. Consider using these activities in your FWS and then providing more individualized attention to those writers who may meet more practice and support. 

Jessica Sands


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