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Strategies for Editing Sentences

Strategies for Editing Sentences

Author: Sophia Tutorial

Identify effective strategies for editing sentences.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm MacKenzie. And today we're learning about editing sentences. Do you know someone who speaks in short, choppy sentences? In this tutorial, we'll learn about an explanation of editing sentences. We'll discuss editing for sentence completion, editing for sentence variation, and we'll learn about syntax.

We'll begin by discussing why it's important to edit sentences. When I say editing, I'm talking about improving the sentences, word choice, and style of a piece of writing. Let's focus on improving the sentences. This is important because improving sentences adds to the style of the writing, the way the writing sounds, and the clarity of the writing or how clear the writing is to the reader. It's important that we edit sentences so that the writing is as strong as possible. And here are a few approaches to editing our sentences.

The first is to have someone else take a look at the sentences to pinpoint any mistakes you may have missed. This makes sense because we don't make mistakes on purpose. It may be difficult for us to see our own mistakes. Having someone else pinpoint them can help you to edit the sentences.

We can also read our essay backwards, starting with the very last sentence and working our way back up to the beginning of the essay. This distances ourself from the essay in its entirety so we can focus on each individual sentence. And we can choose to read the essay out loud, whether it be to ourselves or to someone else. This helps us to not only see the problems, but also to hear the problems with our sentences.

When editing sentences, one of the first things we need to do is edit for sentence completion. Each of our sentences needs to express one complete thought. We cannot have incomplete sentences nor can we have run on sentences. When we edit for sentence completion, we're actually veering into the proofreading stage of the writing process.

And it should be noted that editing and proofreading are a little bit different. When we proofread, we're looking at the grammar, usage, mechanics to try to make sure that we don't have incomplete or run on sentences. But it also helps us in our editing because we're making sure that the sentence is as clear as possible by proofreading.

Here are some examples. My example reads, "College requires motivation. Many 18-year-olds don't have enough life experience to motivate themselves whereas older college students are motivated by different factors, such as career opportunities and family responsibilities." Even though I only have two sentences in this passage, I have several problems with sentence completion. The first sentence is actually a run on sentence. There are two independent clauses here. I should change this comma to a period and capitalize the word many to separate them into two separate sentences.

The second sentence is a sentence fragment. It is an incomplete sentence. The word whereas is actually causing this to be an incomplete sentence. If I simply remove that word, I will have now created a complete sentence.

Another way for us to edit sentences is to look at sentence variation. In a piece of writing, we want all of the sentences to sound a little different so that the writing doesn't sound boring or repetitious. We want some sentences to be shorter, some longer. We're looking for simple, complex, and compound sentences. We want the beginnings of sentences to all sound a little different. Having sentence variety helps the writer to express his or her ideas more dynamically and in a more interesting way.

When we're editing for sentence variety, we have to look for repetitious structure. Look for sentences that are all set up the same way. And find a new way to communicate those sentences so that each of the sentences is structured just a little differently.

Here are some examples. Each sentence in this passage is structured the exact same way. Each sentence is one independent clause and each sentence is almost exactly the same length as well. To add some variety, I will first combine the first two sentences using a comma and the word which. Because I have combined the sentences, I can now take out the words to begin college, because now that the sentences are combined, that was previously stated at the beginning of the sentence.

I could perhaps shorten the next sentence so that I have some shorter sentences in my passage. I will cut out the phrase "take time away from school to." the sentence still maintains its original meaning and I've made the sentence shorter, adding to the variety of the sentences. And I will tie together the last two sentences using a semicolon.

When editing sentences, we need to be aware of syntax, which is just a fancy word that means the order of words in a sentence. Syntax also refers to the study of how words form sentences. Syntax is a core part of the sentences of a piece of a writing and therefore the style of a piece of writing. So when we edit sentences, we keep our syntax in mind because it has an effect on the style, tone, and voice of our writing. It also influences the ways in which the reader interprets what we've written.

When editing for syntax, think about sentence completion and sentence variation. That's a part of the order of the words in our sentences. And we have to look for sentences that don't quite match the style, tone, and voice of the rest of our writing. We revise those sentences so that the syntax matches the style we intended for our writing.

In this tutorial, we learned about an explanation of editing sentences. We discussed editing for sentence completion and for sentence variation. And we learned about syntax. Always write complete and interesting sentences. I'm MacKenzie. Thanks for listening.

Video Chapters

(00:00 - 00:31) Introduction
(00:32 - 01:50) Explanation of Editing Sentences
(01:51 - 03:25) Editing for Sentence Completion
(03:26 - 05:11) Editing for Sentence Variation
(05:12 - 06:11) Syntax
(06:12 - 06:36) Summary

Terms to Know

The formation and ordering of words into sentences as well as the study of how words are formed into sentences.