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PROPERTIES OF A WELL-WRITTEN TEXT

A. Organization
B. Coherence and Cohesion
C. Language Use
D. Mechanics

A. ORGANIZATION

 Clear organization makes it easy for the reader to remember the information presented.
 When there is no pattern that makes sense, confusion results.
 Organization pattern in writing is important if the purpose of the writer is to be able to
present his ideas in an organized way.

Three (3) prevailing paragraph patterns in writing:

1. Chronological Pattern

 This pattern arranges the ideas according to time, either backward or forward – ideas
which occur first, or which occur second, and so on.
 This works well with the different modes of paragraph development like Narration,
Process Analysis and Cause and Effect.
 Transitional words like first, second, next, later, finally are used.

Example:
Larry suddenly woke up from a deep sleep. The sun was dazzling his half open eyes, and
he couldn’t figure out what time it was. The door to his room was closed; the house was
immersed in some sort of reckless silence. He slowly got out of his bed and approached the
bench right next to the window. For a moment, he thought, he heard a tapping sound coming
from the attic. Then again he heard the sound, only this time it seemed to be somewhat closer.
He looked outside the window and saw a man going by the left side of the road. On seeing
Larry, the man approached his garden’s fence and whistled. At this point, Larry recognized Nick
and waved his hand. He quickly got dressed and was about to get down to pent the gate, but
he again heard someone murmuring in the other part of the house. Larry decided to go to the
attic and see what was causing this, now buzzing, sound. He got to the second floor of his house
and looked toward the attic. He quickly opened its door and looked inside. Nothing was found.
He was about to turn back and attend to his guest when he, suddenly, slipped on the stairs and
fell. He called out Nick to help him get up. (Przybyla, 2009)

2. Spatial or Geological Order

 This arranges information according to how things fit in a physical space. This could
be any space like a room or building in a university, an organization, etc.
 This pattern can be used for paragraph development methods such as Description
and Example.
 Transition words like above, beneath, in front nearby, to the right, underneath, etc.
are used.

Example:
Our new home was one of a number of wooden single-story units huddled together in a
horseshoe enclosing a courtyard. To reach the kitchen, one had to pass through a small
windowless anteroom made of loosely arranged planks. Anybody inside could easily look
through the chinks without being observed. Against the wall opposite the entrance to the
kitchen was a large stove, which took up about one fifth of the room. Right next to stove was a
bench with a bucket of water resting on it. Past the bench, in the middle of the wall, was a door
leading to the only other room. To the right of the door stood a cupboard for pots, dishes, and
food. Next to the cupboard, leaning against the wall on the right, was old Helena’s bed. The
kitchen was too small to accommodate another bed. There was just enough room for a table
and chairs, which had to be placed next to the kitchen window. It was a strategic window,
affording a view of the entire courtyard. (Nechama, 1984)

3. Topical or Logical order

 It is used when the writer is to present several ideas that are interrelated.
 Development by Example, Comparison and Contrast, Definition, Analogy, Process
Analysis and Classification are associated with this pattern.
 Transitional words like first, second…also, another…are used.

Example:
Baking a cake involves several steps. First, we need to read the recipe to check what we
need. Next, we need to check whether we have all the tools required to bake the cake. Then,
we need to go the store and buy all the ingredients. After buying everything, we have to follow
all the instructions of the recipe in order to make the dough. Then we have to bake the cake.
After the cake is done, it is important to let it cool before we put on the frosting. When the cake
has cooled, we can put on the frosting. Finally, we can eat the cake. (Adapted, O’Donnel and
Paiva, 1991)

B. COHERENCE AND COHESION

 Writing is cohesive when one idea sticks to another idea, a sentence sticks to another
sentence, and a paragraph sticks to the next.
 Writing is coherent when all the sentences in a paragraph are focused on the central
thought, which is the topic sentence for a paragraph.

Example:
High levels of various metals give coal combustion residuals (CCRs) the potential to have
serious health implications for the environment as well as humans or other organisms that come
into contact with these pollutants. Various animals(known) that were observed breeding near
these coal ash ponds have shown significant heavy metal accumulation(known) would likely to
lead to behavioral, physiological and developmental abnormalities (new) in these animals
(Chatterjee, 2009). Deformities in fish (known), including and extended lower jaw and spinal
curvature, have also been noted in bodies of water (new) near settling ponds due to elevated
metal concentrations (Ruhl et al. 2011). Additionally, ground and surface water contamination
(known) with these metals could potentially lead to human health consequences. (new/also
returns to main idea of the paragraph)

C. LANGUAGE USE

 Good writing includes good choice of diction.


 Diction is defined as the way in which words are used in speech or in writing.
 If one’s writing is good, that means that the writer used words that are accurate –
meaning it is the right word based on his or her intention; appropriate for the situation
where the word is used, and can send or get the writer’s intention across.
Example:
Janine saw her friend Jera who obviously lost weight at a department store. She
exclaimed, “Hello my friend. You look thin!”

D. MECHANICS

 Rules or mechanics that you must consider and remember in writing such as the way you
organize your ideas and how you apply what you have learned about S-V agreement,
capitalization, punctuation, spelling, writing numbers, etc.

1. Agreement: Subject and Verb

A. A verb agrees with its subject in person and in number. A singular subject requires a
singular verb; a plural subject requires a plural verb.

Examples: My friend submits his term paper on time.


The spectators are noisy.

NOTE: Pronouns you and I are taken as plural subjects; therefore, should take plural verbs.

B. Expressions like many a, more than one, the number call for s-form verbs.

Examples: The number of children in need of counseling increases every year.


Many a person gets a feeling of well-being for criticizing his friend.

C. Collective nouns are either singular or plural, depending on the context in which they
appear.

Example: The first year section 10 accountancy students submits the report.

D. Collective nouns are either singular or plural, depending on the context in which they
appear.

Example: The first year section 10 accountancy students submits the report.

E. The verb agrees with the subject, not with the predicate noun.

Example: The objection to the place is the many rebels.

F. Make the verb agree with the subject, not with the complement.

Example: Often, the result of the conflicts is failing relationship.

• Know what the relative pronouns in a dependent clause stand for. Make the verb
agree with what is referred by the relative pronoun. Examples of these relative
pronouns are who, which and that.
Example:
His father is a doctor who treats my friend. (who stands for doctor)
The mistakes which remain unforgiven continue to hurt us. (which stands for mistakes)
He is one of the ten students who represent the school convention.
Anne is one of the actresses who have beautiful face in showbiz.
It is you who make me smile.
G. Some nouns are plural in form but singular in meaning. Examples of these are
economics, athletics, mathematics, means, measles, mumps, news, politics, physics.

Example: The news is alarming.

H. Some nouns are plural in form and in meaning.

Example: The scissors are sharp enough to cut the bark of the tree.

I. Some nouns ending in “s” may take either an s-form or a simple form. Examples of
these are statistics and acoustics.

Examples: Statistics is a required college subject for mathematics.


Statistics show that women live longer than men.

2. Tense

 Tense is the attribute of a verb which shows the time of the action, condition or state of
being in relation to the time of speaking or writing.
 The tense of the verb in a subordinate clause should conform logically with the tense of
the verb in the principal clause.

a. When a sentence expresses two past actions, which action prior to the other, that
priority is expressed through the past perfect tense.

Example: My friend told me that he had signed the contract.

b. Statements that are permanently true should be expressed in the present tense even
in the reported speech.

Example: He said that Laguna is 75 kilometers from Manila.

3. Voice of the Verb

 The voice indicates whether the subject is the doer or the receiver of the action in the
sentence.
Active voice – if the subject is the doer of the action
Passive voice – if the subject receives the action.

Examples:
Active: The carpenter built the house.
(The subject “carpenter” is the doer of the action.)
Passive: The house was built by the carpenter.
(The subject “house” is the receiver of the action.)

Examples:
Active: Moviegoers watched the action movie.
(The subject “moviegoers” is the doer of the action.)
Passive: The action movie was watched by the moviegoers.
(The subject “action” is the receiver of the action.)

Examples:
Active: Students enjoy watching school plays.
(The subject “students” is the doer of the action.)
Passive: Watching school plays is enjoyed by students.
(The subject “watching school plays” is the receiver of the action.)

Note: There should only be one voice of the verb in one sentence.
Remember that the active voice is preferred than the passive.
Example:
Incorrect: Maria sang a song while the boogie was danced by Jessie.
Correct: Maria sang a song while Jessie danced the boogie.

4. Capitalization

a. Capitalize the first word in a sentence.

Example: There were 50 participants who attended the seminar.

b. Capitalize the pronoun “I”.

Example: Jess and I are leaving for Bohol in October.

c. Capitalize proper nouns or the specific names of person, places, events, things,
organizations.

Example: The exchange student decided to enroll in La Consolacion College Manila.

d. Capitalize the names of God, deities, religious figures and holy books.

(Note: Do not capitalize the non-specific use of the word god.)

Examples: Maria has not stopped praying to the Lord.


The tribes in the early times worshipped different gods.

e. Capitalize titles preceding names, but not titles that follow names.

Examples: Dr. Jesus Mendoza is the best doctor in town.


Skye was able to interview Mr. Arulag, mayor of the city.

f. Capitalize directions that are names, like North, South, East, West when used as
sections of the country, but not as compass directions.

Examples: The family moved to the Northwest.


His house is east of the metro.

g. Capitalize the days of the week, months of the year, and holidays but not the seasons
like spring, winter, autumn, fall.

Example: Last spring, in the month of March, he received the highest award given to a
civilian.

h. Capitalize the first word in the sentence that is a direct quote.

Example: My father said, “Be humble at all times.”


i. Capitalize acronyms and initialisms.
Examples: The SSS pensioners were expecting their pensions to be increased by the new
administration.
AWOL stand for absence without leave.

j. Capitalize trademarks.
Example: Those students prefer Apple than Samsung.

k. Capitalize the first word of the greeting or closing of the letter.


Example: Dear Sir,
Respectfully yours,

5. Punctuation

a. Comma (,)

Uses Examples
To separate three or more items I love mangoes, grapes, bananas and
apples.
To separate adjectives that modify the The tall, slim figure came nearer and
same noun nearer.
To separate the city and state Quezon City, Metro Manila
Between the day and the year in a date November 2, 1965
After the salutation in a friendly letter Dear Janine,
After the complimentary close Respectfully yours,
To set off the name of the person you are Gino, can you get me a glass of water
speaking to please?
Before a conjunction that joins the I tried to call you last Saturday, but you
independent clauses in a compound were already out of your office.
sentence
After the dependent clause at the Because it rained hard, the streets were
beginning of a complex sentence flooded.
To set off an appositive My professor, Mr. Vargas, is the best English
professor there is.
At the end of a direct quotation that is a She asked, “Are you flying to Japan on
statement when it comes at the Sunday?”
beginning of a sentence
With words that interrupt a sentence’s She, of course, said yes to the offer
basic idea presented to her by her boss.

b. Period (.)

 A period is used at the end of a declarative and an imperative sentence that do


not require an exclamation point.
 It is also used after most initials and abbreviations and as a decimal point.

Examples: Jan’s boyfriend is the most romantic person she has ever met.
Lend me a hand.
She garnered an average grade of 89.75 in all her subjects.

c. Dash (–)
Uses Examples
Use after an introductory list Butter, flour, milk and eggs – these are
what I need to bake a cake.
Use to separate elements in a sentence The front door – and no other doors – may
be used by fetchers.

d. Ellipsis (…)

 The ellipsis is a punctuation represented by three dots in a row.


 It is used to replace words that have been left out.
 If the words left out are in the middle of the sentence, use three dots. If the
words left out are at the end of the sentence, use a period then an ellipsis.

Example: It was raining hard that afternoon when…and her knight in shining armor
came to her rescue and….

e. Apostrophe (‘)

 To show ownership or possession


Example: Aurora’s car was a gift from her daughter during her birthday.

 To take the place of missing letters in contractions.


Example: He’s planning to open a new business at the ground floor of the building.

 To form the plural of letters and numerals.


Example: The student got straight. A’s in the final examination.

f. Colon (:)

 Use it after a greeting in a business letter.


Example: Dear Sir:

 Use it to introduce a list.


Example: Here are the things we need for the campaign: water, flashlight, first aid kit, and
snacks.

 Use it between numbers in time.


Example: The time is 9:45 in the evening.

 To introduce an important quotation in a report, essay or news story.


Example: When interviewed, the manager stated: “Our company’s goal is to satisfy our
customers’ needs.”

g. Hyphen (-)

Hyphens are used in two-part numbers between twenty-one (21) to ninety-nine


(99).
Example: There were thirty-six students in the English club.

 It is used in spelled out fractions.


Example: One-fourth of the sales goes to charity.
h. Semi-colon (;)

Uses Examples
Replaces a period if the writer wishes to Call me tomorrow; your answer might be
narrow the gap between two closely ready by then.
linked sentences.
Use a semi-colon before words like Bring any two items; however, sleeping
namely, however, therefore, that is, i.e., bags and tents are in short supply.
for example, e.g., for instance, etc.
Use it to separate units of a series when The participants come from PUP, Pasig;
one or more of the units contains FEU, Makati; PSBA, Manila and UP, Diliman.
commas.

i. Quotation Marks (“”)


 Quotation marks are used to set off a direct quotation.
Example: “I hope you can drop by our display room,” said the manager.

6. Writing Numbers

• When to spell out or write a number:

a. When a number begins a sentence, spell it out.


Example: Fifty boxes of mangoes were bought by the restaurant manager.

b. Spell out numbers less than 10.


Example: There were six students who auditioned for the play.

c. Use figures for 10 and above.


Example: Mr. Vargas bought 12 roses for his girlfriend.

d. Use figures and cardinal for dates.


Example: The meeting has been rescheduled for August 23.

e. When numbers apply to the same thing, render them the same way.
Example: The customer ordered 6 boxes of condensed milk, 12 boxes of sardines, and 8
kilos of flour.

f. Use figures when numbers need to stand out, even if less than 10.
Example: I have been working as an executive secretary for 9 years now.

g. Special fractions when used to begin a sentence.


Example: One-fourth of the cake was eaten.

h. Centuries and decades should be spelled out.


Example: The couple love to listen to the music of the seventies.

i. Use the percentage symbol (%) for discounts and interests.


Example: The item was sold at a 15% discount.