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what's the difference between "End Weight" and "Periodic sentence"?
Nov 24, 2009 1:08 PM
Answers · 5
Hi Danielle, thanks for writing back - I thought I should place my answer here as well, for other italki users... (from my email:) These are great questions you ask, but the truth is most English speakers (and writers!) won't know how to explain the answer unless they graduated in Literature from University. But that's the thing with grammar! :) Native speakers intuitively 'know' that a sentence is correct... through habit, I suppose... but to explain it you have to make up new words and phrases. We learn the grammatical terms in school, and then quickly forget it. :P So here's a kind-of explanation, gathered from the (confusing) explanations I researched. End weight - has to do with the 'balance' of the sentence, the point of balance being the main subject and main verb. The 'impact' of the sentence will depend on where you place the subject/verb, however the main theory is that you introduce the subject and verb soon as possible, then put the rest of the details at the end of the sentence. This is so the listener/reader will not lose interest while you try to get to the main point. Of course, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. ;) Periodic sentence - this is more of a literary device, also for impact. Most examples I've read place the subject/verb at the very end, so the sentence effectively builds up to the main point and gives it extra importance. Eg., "I went to bed with many things on my mind, after a long and tiring day at work." can be re-written as : "After a long and tiring day at work (, with many things on my mind ( build...) I went to bed (!! impact!!)." Hope I explained that OK... plus I learned something! ;)
November 26, 2009
Periodic sentence Examples and Observations: "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." (The King James Bible, I Corinthians 13)
November 24, 2009
Another commonly used construction to avoid front-heavy sentences is the so-called existential sentence, which begins There is/are... and a that-clause. Thus, instead of: Many people who believe that the recent warming of the climate is due to the greenhouse effect exist. English prefers: There are many people who believe that the recent warming of the climate is due to the greenhouse effect. Note that in English the verb agrees in number with the noun group used after the verb to be: There is one thing we can do. There are three things we can do. There can also be followed be a few adjectives indicating likelihood or possibility followed by the infinitive to be: There are unlikely to be any problems There seems to have been some negligence. There tend to be very few failures. Some reporting verbs can also be used this way: There is expected to be a report issued next month. A quite formal usage is such verbs as remain, arise, exist and a few others: There remain three major problems to solve. Note also that new information is put at the end of sentences and 'given' information is put at the beginning. This links sentences together more tightly and produces a text that is easier to read.
November 24, 2009
END WEIGHT & END FOCUS The general order of elements in a sentence is: subject - verb - object/complement/adverbial(s) Sometimes the subject is a very long phrase explaining an idea and would make a sentence difficult to understand (the subject is marked in bold text): The fact that many doctors who came to Finland in the 1960's had to start their medical studies over from the beginning in order to be licensed to practice here is unfortunate. The principle called end weight means that we try to put long "heavy" elements at the end of the sentence, and keep the subject as short as possible. In cases such as the sentence above we often use the "empty subject" it with a complement followed by the "that" clause: It is unfortunate that many doctors who came to Finland in the 1960's had to start their medical studies over from the beginning in order to be licensed to practice here. This construction works with several adjectives in addition to "unfortunate". Some others are: amazing, apparent, appropriate, clear, doubtful, essential, evident, extraordinary, important, inevitable, interesting, likely, natural, obvious, odd, plain, possible, probable, surprising, and unlikely Most reporting verbs can also be used in this type of construction in the passive form: It was found/felt/agreed that this method had little effect.
November 24, 2009
end-weight- the structural principle by which longer units of information tend to come at the end of a sentence. periodic sentence, a long sentence in which the completion of the syntax and sense is delayed until the end, usually after a sequence of balanced subordinate clauses. The effect is a kind of suspense, as the reader's attention is propelled forward to the end.
November 24, 2009
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