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Grammar Explanations

General Grammar Items:  Noun Clauses | Adverbial Clauses | Conditionals | Adjective Clauses | Teaching Nouns | Teaching Verb Tenses | Teaching Passive Tenses | Subjectless Conjunctions | Gerunds & Infinitives
Grammar in Writing:  Choosing Good Verbs | End Focus |
Are your sentences too long or too short? Well maybe this will help. T-units are a way that we can measure the length of a sentence. A t-unit is the shortest unit which can stand alone as a sentence.

for example:
'He stopped and he sat down on the soft grass'

There are two t-units here. Can you see why? Remember, a sentence needs a subject and a verb to be a complete sentence. In the example above we have two complete sentences which can 'stand alone'.

'He stopped.'
'He sat down on the soft grass.'

The first sentence has two words per t-unit while the second sentence has seven words per t-unit. So what's the point?

Academic writing, like that expected of university students typically has around 20 words per t-unit. This is an average number. That means university students need to know how to write longer sentences. So how do we do that?

Well one way is through the use of clauses and phrases and many of them are covered in this section of the website.


page last modified: November29, 2016

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