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  • Heart-Wrenching Writing Practice

    I love animated short films.  They are not just for children, especially this one.  They often have little to no dialogue, so they serve as great writing prompts.  This one might make you feel certain emotions, which also helps inspire us to write.  Many of my students tell me they need to improve their writing, but they complain that it’s boring to practice.  If this sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place!  Today, we’re going to learn how to improve a very common writing mistake, watch the film, then put our knowledge into practice.

    When I edit students’ writing, I often have to tell them their sentences are too wordy.  If someone has told you this before, don’t worry.  It’s a common issue for native speakers as well!  The problem is, we don’t want to write in short, “baby” sentences.  We want our writing to have a nice flow.  With the proper use of linking words, we can sound intelligent AND have good flow in our writing.

    Linking words, or connectors, are used to join two ideas together.  They help us express our thoughts in more complex ways.  Today we’ll focus on connectors that show contrasting ideas and cause/effect.  Then, we’ll use them to write a short story!

    Contrasting ideas:

    • But:  I have a lot of homework, but I don’t have time to do it.
      • Remember not to use ‘but’ at the beginning of a sentence!
    • However:  I have a lot of homework.  However I don’t have time to do it.
      • However is more formal than ‘but,’ but you can use it at the beginning of a sentence.
    • Although:  Although I have a lot of homework, I don’t have time to do it.
    • Anyway:  I don’t have a lot of time, but I’ll do my homework anyway.

    Cause and effect:

    • So:  He missed his family, so he went to visit them.
    • Because:  He visited his family because he missed them.
    • Since:  He visited his family since he missed them.
    • As:  As he missed his family, he visited them.

    Now you try!  Connect the ideas with a linking word listed above:

    1. He got a bad grade.  He didn’t study.
    2. My boss gave me extra work.  I didn’t ask for more work.
    3. She doesn’t want to get married.  He proposed to her.
    4. She really wants to get married.  He proposed to her.
    5. It’s dangerous to walk around the city at night.  She didn’t have another option.

    Choose 5 connectors to write a short story from this film.  We’d love to see what you come up with in the comments section below.  Feel free to start with this example sentence:

    The sun was setting, but the sheriff was far from his home…

    If you’d like to learn more about connectors, book a class with LOI today!  In the meantime, check out Teauna’s post here!