Wednesday, September 21, 2005


The conclusion of a paragraph consists of one or two concluding sentences.  The conclusion should accomplish at minimum the task of reminding the reader of the main idea of the paragraph.  It can also be used to recall the key points in the paragraph.  Furthermore, the conclusion can include the writer’s comment on the paragraph.

     The difficulty of hitting a baseball should not be underestimated.  First of all, the baseball is moving and hitting anything moving is obviously much more difficult than when it is sitting still.  Hitting a mosquito squatting on my arm challenges my abilities some, but whacking one in the air requires great hand to eye coordination, which I don’t have.  The baseball is not very large.  It fits into a person’s hand and is smaller than only a part of the bat.  So a batter only has a few inches of wood that they have to move to the correct spot at the exact time that a ball moving at speeds of up to 90 miles an hour gets there.  If that isn’t difficult enough, the ball has been thrown by someone who does not want the batter to hit it.  The pitcher throws the trying to make the batter miss it.  He tries to make it elusive by making it curve, sink, or rise so the batter can not hit it.  With all these challenges, it is a wonder anyone hits a baseball at all.

Three Strategies illustrated:
Restatement: As we can see, hitting a baseball is very difficult.
Summary:  A pitcher throwing a baseball as fast and as elusively as possible makes it difficult to hit a baseball.
Comment: With all these challenges, it is a wonder anyone hits a baseball at all.

We can use the comment with either the restatement or the summary, or we can use the comment alone.

To summarize, we have five possible ways to conclude a paragraph.  We can use restatement, summary, comment, restatement plus comment, or summary plus comment.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fragments and Relative Clauses

As we talked about in class, fragments are pieces of sentences instead of complete sentences. Sometimes, it is easy to see that a sentence is a complete sentence. But the kind of fragment I find most difficult is one with a relative or subordinate clause in it.

Here is an example:

The car that has worked fine for the last five years

This is a fragment. It looks good because it has a verb, has worked, and appears to have a subject, car. However, the subject is the relative pronoun, that, which admittedly does refer to car. In this sentence, car does not have a verb.

Other examples of this kind of fragment are:

The boy who ran through the park on his way to the hospital

The regiment of soldiers who fought alongside each other during the last war

The building, which has stood in that location for over a hundred years

In each case, the subject, boy, regiment, and building, does not have a verb. There is a verb that looks like a main verb, but it follows a relative pronoun and is, therefore, in an adjective clause.

The relative pronouns are that, which, whichever, whatever, who, whom, whomever, and whoever.