Class TWO: Cumulative sentences

Class TWO: Cumulative sentences

How to grow sentences:

1)using participles
2) adverbials
3) a phrase starting with a possessive pronoun
4) a backtrack with a word from the base (kernel) then adding new info.
5) Prepositional phrase
6) Subordinator

Free modifying phrases can come at the beginning of the sentence before the base clause, in the medial position between the subject and the verb of the base clause, at the end of the sentence after the base clause in the final position or in some combination of these three positions.
This is and Example of how to write them

1- The elated girl scout went home
2- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, the elated girl scout went home

3- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother.
4- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wanted to get more cookies to sell.
5- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, those inescapable icons of capitalism, those irresistible sugar bombs, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wanted to get more cookies to sell.
6- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, those inescapable icons of capitalism, those irresistible sugar bombs, having knocked on every door in her neighborhood, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wanted to get more cookies to sell.
7- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, those icons of capitalism, those irresistible sugar bombs, having knocked on every door in her neighborhood, recognizing some as friends of her parents, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wanted to get more cookies to sell.
8- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, those inescapable icons of capitalism, those irresistible sugar bombs, having knocked on every door in her neighborhood, recognizing some as friends of her parents, remembering some houses where she had got particularly great Halloween treats, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wanted to get more cookies to sell.
9- Having sold all her boxes of cookies, those inescapable icons of capitalism, those irresistible sugar bombs, having knocked on every door in her neighborhood, recognizing some as friends of her parents, remembering some houses where she had got particularly great Halloween treats, that people will find it hard to say, ‘No’ to a little cute girl, participating in one of America’s best established cultural rituals, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wanted to get more cookies to sell.

10) Having sold all her boxes of cookies, those inescapable icons of capitalism, its methods and assumptions hardwiring our children to value the power of selling in almost every activity, methods and assumptions championed by some and resisted by others, those irresistible sugar bombs, having knocked on every door in her neighborhood, recognizing some as friends of her parents, remembering some houses where she had got particularly great Halloween treats, figuring both categories of potential buyers would find it hard to say no to a cute little girl participating in one of America’s best-established cultural rituals, the elated girl scout went home, so excited she could barely explain her success to her mother, so proud of her accomplishment she immediately wanted to get more cookies to sell.
1) make sure not to repeat subject verb clauses
2) make sure you follow the samples and the rules

3) pay attention to the levels of modifications

“It’s not how long you make it, but how you make it long.”
Zillions of people share the common misconception that long sentences are bad. Indeed, many are. However, what is usually bad about a long sentence is not its length but its lack of logic.

‘teachers trying to get school kids to write clearly and journalists with their weird rules of writing have filled a lot of heads of the notion that the only good sentence is a short sentence. This is true for convicted criminals. To avoid long sentences and the marvelously subtle connections of a complex syntax is to deprive your prose of an essential quality.”

Virginia Tufte in ‘Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style‘ explains that some long sentences are bad “mostly because of what goes into them, not because of how much there is.”

How to start building up a well-written and effective long sentence:

  1. The first step in writing long sentences is to start from a relatively short and simple base clause and then build the longer sentence around it.
  2. The second step is to remember that almost any relative clause can be boiled down to a modifying phrase that, if not shorter, is easier to follow than a series of clauses calling our attention to information tied to ‘that’ or to ‘who’ or to ‘whom’ or to ‘which’. It helps very much to remember here that classic mother goose song ‘This is the house that Jack built,” which stands like an ode to the relative clause. In a word, relative clauses can kill the movement of a sentence by being too long just as surely by being too numerous.

The beauty of free modifiers is that they can be placed at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle of a sentence just as well as at its end, the only requirement is that the placement make sense by being close enough to what it modifies so as to preclude confusion.

(base/Kernel and predicative)

In a slightly different situation, kernel sentences could be as short as it can be and each proposition we add to it seems to turn the sentence into a new direction. For example, given the kernel sentence ‘They slept’, almost anything we add to it will make it more satisfying in terms of propositional information.

–          They slept having finally found a campsite sheltered from the freezing rain.

–          They slept, the man simply collapsing on the bed, the woman first seeing what TV channels were available

–          They slept, and they dreamed.

–          They slept, a sleep deeper and more relaxing than they have dreamed possible, a sleep that was itself undisturbed by dreams.

–          They, who have never before considered sleep a luxury, slept.

Now give more propositional information of your own to ‘They slept’

Kernel sentences this short and this stark also probably serve a more dramatic function that is more important than adding information might be. It is also important to remember that a sentence this short that it can not be made shorter ‘They slept’ is the most extreme example of a kernel sentence.

A more elaborate example, but still short, is when we use a subject, a verb, and an object i.e. ‘The girl raised the flag.’ In the case the kernel sentence provides us with four obvious opportunities to provide more propositional information,

  1. information focused on the entire base clause: The girl raised the flag.
  2. information focused on its subject: The girl
  3. information focused on its verb: raised
  4. or information focused on its object: the flag

Adding to this kernel, we might get:

1) The girl raised the flag because she knew that doing so would inspire her compatriot. Or 1) The girl raised the flag and was proud to see it waving once again of the town square.  Or 2) The girl, who had just realized that she was the only survivor, raised the flag. Or 3) The girl raised the flag triumphantly racing it up to the top of the flagpole. Or 4) The girl raised the flag, its green striped fabric tattered and torn by bullets.

Consider this sentence:

–          Cumulative sentences fascinate me with their ability to add information that actually makes the sentence easier to read and more satisfying, flying in the face of the received idea that cutting words rather than adding them is the most effective way to improve writing.

–          Cumulative sentences those loose sentences that quickly posit a base clause and then elaborate it by adding modifying words and phrases fascinate me with their ability to add information that actually makes the sentence easier to read and more satisfying, answering questions as it provides more detail and explanation, flying in the face of the received idea that cutting words rather than adding them is the most effective way to improve writing.

–          Cumulative sentences that start with a brief base clause and then start to picking up new information much as a snowball gets larger as it rolls downhill, fascinate me with their ability to add information that actually makes the sentence easier to read and more satisfying because it starts answering questions as quickly as an inquisitive reader might think of them using each modifying phrase to clarify what is gone before and to reduce the need for subsequent explanatory sentences, flying in the face of the received idea that cutting words rather than adding them is the most effective way to improve writing, reminding us that while in some cases less is indeed more, In many cases more is more, and more is what is our writing needs.

These sentences build from a kernel sentence that functions as the starting point for adding extra propositional information that adds to their effectiveness. .

Hence, one aim of this course is how to move beyond the highly predicative style than offering it as a goal.

Once we have a kernel sentence—of any length—there are three basic approaches we can take to building it.

1-      We can add propositional information simply by using conjunctions or other connective words, like adding boxcars to a train. Sentences we build using this strategy simply add information. We can call this strategy connective.

2-      We can add propositional information by subordinating some parts of the sentence to other parts. We can call this strategy Subordinative.

3-      We can add propositional information by using modifying words and phrases that turn underlying propositions into modifiers. We can call this strategy adjectival.

Most of emphasis in this course will be on learning to use adjectival strategies to write more effectively, but it’s important to remember that this strategy is just one of three.

Going back to a previous example will help us understand these three strategies well. S” The girl raised the flag and was proud to see it waving once again of the town square.” In this first strategy (connective strategy) the conjunction ‘and’ adds a new proposition. Similarly, we might use a connective word such as ‘because’ to get a new extended sentence that no only advances the proposition that she raised the flag but also explains why. Ex. “The girl raised the flag because she knew that doing so would inspire her compatriot.”

Or the second strategy (adjectival strategy) “The girl, who had just realized that she was the only survivor, raised the flag.”

Here, new information is added but was made subordinate (subordinate relative clause) to the information in the kernel using ‘who, that or which’. Similarly, we can more detail to ‘the flag': The girl raised the flag that had long been a symbol of the resistance movement.

The third strategy (adjectival strategy) adds new information to the kernel by boiling down the information to a single modifying word or to a modifying phrase. For instance we can add the proposition that the girl was young simply by writing ‘the young girl raised the flag’, or we can add information in modifying phrases that can follow the bas clause i.e. ‘The girl raised the flag, a triumphant grin on her face, the flag’s green striped fabric tattered and torn by bullets, her bravery an inspiration to her compatriots.”

Of course we can combine two or al three of them when we write longer sentences. Again, most of emphasis in this course will be on learning to use adjectival strategies to write more effectively.

Examples:

  1. “He drove the car carefully, his shaggy hair whipped by the wind, his eyes hidden behind wraparound mirror shades, his mouth set in a grim smile, a .38 Police Special on the seat beside him, the corpse stuffed in the trunk.”
  2. “Walking to the taffrail, I was in time to make out on the very edge of a darkness thrown by a towering black mass like the very gateway of Erebus – yes, I was in time to catch an evanescent glimpse of my white hat left behind to mark the sport where the secret sharer of my cabin and of my thoughts, as though he were my second self, had lowered himself into the water to take his punishment: a free man, a proud swimmer striking out for a new destiny.”
  3. He went to speak to Mrs. Bean, tiny among the pillows, her small toothless mouth open like an “O,” her skin stretched thin and white over her bones, her huge eye-sockets and eyes in a fixed infant-like stare, and her short white hair sparse and straggling over her brow.
  4. Having decided to tackle more serious issues that will definitely better members’ creative linguistic abilities to write well and to understand language in a more profound way than they now do, I started this thorough course, having considerable hope it will be a step further towards that goal I have had in mind the moment I started teaching at IUG, dearly wishing that the material won’t be left untouched the way a person who has just hungrily eaten a truly lavish meal will look upon a rat sandwich topped with lice and fleas that have been squashed dead by a cat which spent the past two weeks wandering in the vast neighbourhood landfills, desperately hoping against harsh reality every time I start a class to find a reaction, which I do, that will spark a kind of learned replies that will give me not only hope but also a nudge to go on.

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