Wording Makes This Hard to Follow

In the following sample excerpt, the student doesn’t understand the basic function of a grammatical sentence.

In other words, the student doesn’t understand the subject of the sentence and what she wants the subject to do. Let’s read the excerpt.

Sample Excerpt

Bronte’s choice of language for the two narrators is clear, that they exhibit uncertainty in their interpretation but it is in Heathcliff that Bronte uses the most explicit language of her time.

Figure 68: Essay Excerpt on Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights


1) To whom does “they” refer? As is, the “choice of language” for this sentence serves as the primary subject of the sentence.

2) What is Bronte’s choice of language? What specific words does she choose? What language do the narrators speak?

3) What is the uncertainty of the narrators? What does their uncertainty represent?

4) Why is Heathcliff’s language explicit?

5) What does Heathcliff say?

6) To whom does Heathcliff say something explicitly?

Revision Considerations

Perform a simple grammar test. Check your pronoun references and sentence structure. Make certain that whatever you want the subject to do that the subject is actually performing that action. In addition, differentiate the verbs between the subjects of a single sentence.

After you have performed the grammar test and revised those areas, check phrasing. If you are using particular phrasing to convey meaning of a literary work, be certain that it is the type of phrasing applicable within the context of the work. Contemporary terms don’t apply to all contexts, especially historical ones of the 19th and 20th centuries.

In addition, be careful to use idioms and colloquialisms as bases for your analysis. Remove clichés and modern-day phrasing. Research the phrasing of that time period and use it instead.

For extended explanations, see also the comments “Could Be Better Worded” and “Hard to Follow.”

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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