This page contains resources for composing and reading sentences. Because of English’s flexibility, its intent is to provide resources for sentence-level choices, rather than prescribe a specific writing style. It is also available as a PDF onesheet here.
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Sentences convey ideas and how they are related. They may have multiple ideas and relationships, so different structures help to separate a sentence’s information.
Word order is a language’s mostly fixed sequence for ideas and relationships, combining subjects and verbs respectively. English’s word order is subject-verb-object, where subjects and objects can be, but are not limited to, nouns.
A team of several people developed the video game.
Clause boundaries indicate where one [subject-verb combination] is ending and being connected to another [subject-verb combination].
[Not everyone had the same responsibility] [because development required different skills].
Punctuation refers to the different symbols that writing systems use to split up information to increase comprehensibility.
When development began, the team did not have a main studio or office.
Verbs indicate the actions and relationships among ideas. They carry important information such as the time or the number of ideas in the sentence.
Verb tense indicates a sentence’s time frame.
Currently, the team works in a rented space downtown.
Subject-verb agreement reiterates the number of ideas in a sentence’s subject.
Some members work from off-site locations.
Verb transitivity indicates whether two or more ideas in a sentence are related as subject and object (using a transitive verb), or if the sentence only contains a subject (using an intransitive verb).
Team leaders hold occasional team-building meetings as a result. Everyone participates.
Active/passive voice indicates which idea takes the focus in the sentence. Passive voice shifts the focus from the subject to the object using a grammatical structure (be + verb) followed by an optional phrase (by + subject), and as a result, is only possible with transitive verbs.
These meetings are led by different team members each week.
Rhetorical choices give writing an effect that can help readers better understand the writer’s context or purpose.
Formality tells the reader if the writing is situated in a casual context, professional context, or anything in between.
Some meetings are casual, and members are encouraged to “just hang out and chill.”
Idiomatic language conveys information using common word combinations that is meant to use cultural or contextual familiarity to deliver meaning.
One all-nighter had a self-serve, Taco Tuesday-themed meeting because it was during crunch time.
Concision shortens a sentence or any of its pieces to simplify the sentence to its most important ideas, which may change depending on the writer and reader’s background knowledge or attitude towards the topic.
Various protein options were available for team members with dietary restrictions.
Code-switching is any instance where a writer uses another language in a sentence to convey additional or more accurate meaning.
Team members were not limited to eating tacos; they could also have tamales, quesadillas, or sopes.