Getting to grips with connectors in English texts
John Linnegar, Belgium
An increasing number of authors are having to write in English as their SL or FL. This places the onus on copy-editors and revisors to improve authors' writing so as to render it accessible to readers. Sometimes, in order to do so optimally, grammar skills need to be honed further. The incorrect or inappropriate use of connectors (either verbal connectors or punctuation marks) is a particularly troublesome aspect of much writing that requires editorial intervention.
This workshop will focus on the devices that can be used in written texts to ensure a smooth flow and logical connections between the parts of sentences, and even between sentences themselves. Skilled use of the appropriate connectors ultimately leads to texts that convey an author’s intended meaning most effectively. Such texts are also more accessible to readers.
We will be investigating ways of using (and ‘abusing’) both verbal connectors – conjunctions, relative pronouns, sentence adverbials – and punctuation marks – in particular the comma, the semicolon, the colon, the dash, parentheses – not only correctly but also to achieve the author's intended effect or meaning.
The participants will ‘learn by doing’ by engaging with a selection of substandard texts and considering ways of making them flow more smoothly and logically, using any or all of these devices. What will emerge from this workshop is a better grasp of how to use each of these connective devices to best effect.
About the presenter
An author and a passionate copy-editor with some 40+ years’ of manuscript improvement behind him, John Linnegar is a former teacher of English at secondary school and undergraduate levels. His specialty as an editor is law. In 2009 he published a book on common errors committed by writers in English in South Africa (NB Publishers, reprinted 2013); in 2012 he co-authored Text Editing: A Handbook for Students and Practitioners (UA Press) and in 2019, together with Ken McGillivray, wrote and published grammar, punctuation and all that jazz … (MLA Publishers). He contributes regular articles on the usage and abusage of the English language to professional bodies.