Common Sentence Patterns in Academic Writing

Common Sentence Patterns in Academic Writing

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This handout is designed to encourage learners to understand the most common patterns with the verb “be”. Also, this handout encourages learners to notice, categorize and explore the patterns learned into productive activities, such as grammarizing (i.e. adding grammar to sentences) as well as producing meaningful sentences with the patterns. The handout is divided into a series of tasks: matching sentences to patterns, matching usage/meaning to patterns, pattern identification, and pattern production. The idea is that these tasks should provide enough scaffolding to encourage students to write their own sentences. Some of these patterns can be encouraged in academic writing for higher-level students.

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Traditionally, languages have been described as being two separate entities: grammar and lexis. However, new research in the area of pattern grammar (Hunston, Francis and Manning, 1997; Lewis, 1993; Willis, 1990) has suggested that they can be combined and that meaning can be conveyed through patterns which words have. In addition, all words have patterns and words that share the same pattern usually share the same meaning. A good example of this can be found in the patterns ‘V + by + -ing’ and ‘V + as + n’. This approach to language teaching and learning emphasizes a different way of teaching and dealing with grammar. By focusing on patterns, teachers are providing learners with a more thorough and practical way of looking at language as well as emphasizing the connection between grammar and lexis rather than its distinction.