SAT 2013

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Improve YOUR Writing ~ Logical Expression of Ideas

by Krista

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Along with the other characteristics of effective writing, the way one interprets, writes or reads a sentence depends on logical organization. To get down to the nitty gritty of these logical characteristics, let's break the three concepts down with examples and explanations.





2. Logical Expression of Ideas


Coordination and Subordination

Both coordination and subordination work to combine independent clauses into one sentence. They use different conjunctions to create relationships between the different ideas. Most people are great with comparisons such as these, but I'm including more detail on the different conjunctions to help you figure out their meaning and relationship. Also, by understanding the different conjunctions, these can help you with the sentence completion parts of the SATs as well. Conjunction words can act as key words in finding what the blanks may be. Go through the charts on coordination and subordination to see for yourself…

Coordination: combining two equally important ideas.

Each of the seven coordinating conjunctions clarifies a specific relationship between equally important ideas:

Conjunction Relationship Example
For Cause Sharon bought an iron with an automatic shut-off, for she was always forgetting to unplug it.
And Addition The temperature has fallen rapidly this afternoon, and the roads are beginning to freeze.
Nor Alternative (negative) Neither his mother nor his father finished college.
Note that in this sentence, the coordinating conjunction joins equal phrases rather than equal clauses. Both applications of coordination are correct.
But Contrast His car isn't running right now, but he intends to repair it before weekend.
Or Alternative We can eat dinner now, or we can wait and eat after the movie.
Yet Contrast He always arrives late, yet he expects everyone else to arrive on time.
So Consequence My mom was born in Italy, so I've always wanted to visit that country.


Subordinating: combines two ideas, making one idea more important than the other. This makes the less important of the statements to be subordinate or dependant on the independant statement.

The list of subordinating conjunctions is long, but here are some of the more common ones:

Relationship Conjunctions Example
Time When
Whenever
After
Until
Before
After
Whenever the afternoon bell rings, a teeming horde of children rush eagerly out of the school building. I never knew what love meant until I met you. My uncle always calls after he watches the news.
Place Where
Wherever
I know a place where blackberries grow wild all along the roadside.
Wherever you can find an empty spot, just drop your luggage there.
Cause / Effect Because
Since
So that
Since you have to leave early, why don't you arrive a few days earlier too?
The cat took off in a panic because the dog started barking and growling.
Condition If
Unless
If only
If my ticket doesn't arrive today, I won't be able to fly out tomorrow.
He won't listen to you unless you make him turn off the radio and look at you.
Contrast Although
Even though
Although I have called repeatedly, the credit card company has not corrected my account.
He still brings her roses even though he knows she is allergic to them.

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Logical Comparison

Example
  1. Harry grew more vegetables than his neighbour's garden.
  2. Correct: Harry grew more vegetables than his neighbour.

Why?

The comparison is being made between Harry and his neighbour, not Harry and his neighbour's garden. To make this a logical comparison, the garden part of the sentence must be removed. In thinking of other logical comparison, think about the purpose of the sentence. If you think that the comparison should be made between the two gardens, then the sentence should appear as something like "Harry's garden grew more vegetables than his neighbour's."

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Modification and Word Order

Example
  1. Singing triumphantly, the leaves crunched under her feet as she walked.
  2. Correct: Singing triumphantly, she walked as the leaves crunched under her feet.

Why?

We want to logically show the relationship between what is happening in the sentence and who or what the sentence is about. There may be some confusion as to what was "singing triumphantly". As the sentence appears in it's first form, it is possible for the reader to think that the leaves are the ones singing. What needs to be done, is a modification of the subject of the sentence leading the other details. So, the switch in the word order makes the sentence a lot clearer.

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With these tips and refreshers on grammatical cues, you can develop your writing skills. This will help you with your sentence completion questions, as well as your abilities when approaching the essay section on the SATs.


References:

OwLet. Combining Sentences through Coordination and Subordination. http://owlet.letu.edu/grammarlinks/sentence/sentence3.html .

Fox, Steven, Isreal, Elaine, O'Callaghan, Robin. The Official SAT Study Guide. Pg, 101 "About the Writing Section".

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3 Comments
    whiteshark0121
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    sharkie whiteTue, 23 Feb 2010 04:26:54 -0000

    Great article, I always keep myself looking for new tips and ways on how to improve my writing and one of my favorite mentor on learning how to write a book is Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

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    aritdas
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    ARIT KUMAR DASWed, 10 Sep 2008 02:53:25 -0000

    Very good lesson .

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    scholar
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    scholarTue, 12 Aug 2008 12:15:12 -0000

    That was a wonderful lesson

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Last Updated At Dec 07, 2012
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