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Writing Sentences
Introduction|Sentence Errors|Punctuation Errors|Academic Choices|Summary

The grammar and punctuation of sentences are inextricably linked in written language. The grammar of English determines the way we put words together to create meaningful sentences: spoken sentences and written sentences. Punctuation conveys grammatical structure and meaning in written language: a role normally carried out by the intonation patterns of the voice in spoken language.

Grammar tells us how to create meaningful messages out of strings of words like:

patient the is care empathy quality providing key to

Knowing the grammar of English means we are able to reorder the words in this meaningless string into a meaningful sentence, like:

Empathy is the key to providing quality patient care.

It also means that we know the sentence

Empathy are the key to providing quality patient care.

is not quite right: that the verb 'are' is the wrong form of the verb to choose for this sentence.

Punctuation conveys grammatical information, so it is able to disambiguate meaning in strings of words. Listen to the way the following sentences are spoken and notice how the punctuation reflects the totally different structures and meanings conveyed by the voice.

Woman without her man is helpless.

Woman! Without her, man is helpless.

Given the importance of meaning in academic writing, the grammar and punctuation choices you make in your writing are critical. Punctuation can greatly alter the meaning of a sentence; therefore, it is useful to be aware of the grammar and punctuation errors that commonly occur in academic writing. Many of these errors are punctuation errors that create ungrammatical sentences; some of them are punctuation errors that create ambiguity or an unintended meaning; and a few of them are solely grammatical errors.

bullet This first unit in this module will discuss the common grammatical errors that occur when writing sentences

bullet The second unit in this module will discuss the common errors that occur when punctuating sentences

bullet Punctuation can also greatly affect the style of your writing. The third unit in this module will provide suggestions on choosing more sophisticated punctuation to facilitate the development of an appropriately academic style in your writing.

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Introduction Sentence Errors Punctuation Errors Academic Choices Summary