Writing for General Communication
This module is a reference for the students taking Writing for General Communication course. There are three aspects of writing discussed here, such as: grammar, mechanics, and content. In grammar, there is an explanation of part of speech, sentence structure, and tenses. There are six tenses discussed: present tense, past tense, present continuous, simple future, present perfect, and past tense. In term of mechanic, there is a discussion of how to use capital letter, comma, and apostrophe. Regarding the content, there is an explanation of how to make a paragraph. This material is in line to the determined syllabus. It is expected that this module can give a benefit for the students of English Study Program of IKIP Siliwangi.
Part of speech is a group of word that is used to name a person, place, or thing. There are at least 9 part of speech in English.
Taken from https://www.eslbuzz.com/
Noun is Kata Benda in Bahasa Indonesia. It can be a people, place, animal or thing. In a sentence, noun functions as subject or object. The example can be seen below:
Rita cannot go to school today.
Rita and school in the above example is noun. Rita is person, and it functions as subject in the above sentence. Meanwhile, school is a building or thing, and functions as object.
Noun can be countable (bisa dihitung) and uncountable (tidak bisa dihitung). Countable noun is such book, car, dog, while uncountable noun is such milk, fruit, happiness, information, and everything related to the abstract thing such as happiness, afraid, etc. To test whether noun can be counted or uncounted, we can add the word “one or two”. If it sounds strange (such as one milk), it is categorized as uncountable noun. Uncountable noun can be counted if there is container (A glass of, a bar of, a bottle of, a bag of, etc.). It is added in front of uncountable noun.
- A glass of water; two glasses of water
- A bar of soap; two bars of soap
- A bottle of wine; two bottle of wine
- A bag of….., two bag of….
- A bowl of….; two bowls of ….
- A piece of …., two pieces of ….
- A cup of …., two cups of ….
- A jar of …., two jars of …..
Both countable and countable noun can have a quantifier. It is a word or phrase which is used before noun to indicate amount or quantity. At this point, countable and uncountable noun have different quantifier, such the following:
Taken from Pyle & Page (1995).
Pronoun are word that takes a place of noun. There are several types of pronoun. Five of them are provided below:
|Personal/ Subjective pronoun
|Objective pronoun||Possessive Pronoun (Adjective)||Possessive Pronoun||Reflexive Pronoun|
Personal pronoun takes place of subject in a sentence. It replaces the noun functioning as subject. It is often used to avoid the repetition of the subject’s name. On the other hand, objective pronoun acts as object of the sentence. It replaces direct or indirect object of a sentence.
They go the market
Don’t disturb her
Meanwhile, possessive pronoun (adjective) describes the ownership of a noun. In other words, it acts as adjective which describes a noun, such in the following sentence:
Tika wants to see your homework.
Egi will fix his motorcycle tomorrow.
The word “your” in the first sentence is adjective which explain the word “homework”. Then, the word “his” in the second sentence explains the word “motorcycle”. In other words, it tells that the motorcycle is belonged to Egi, and he will fix it tomorrow.
Different to adjective pronoun, possessive pronoun is independent. It does not describe a noun and is not followed by a noun. Instead, it refers to a previously name or understood noun. For example:
This book is mine
In the above sentence, the word “mine”” is not followed by noun. A word “mine” refers to the book. In other words, this is my book.
There is also reflexive pronoun. It is used to refer to the same subject or object in a sentence. This pronoun end in –self or –selves.
I told myself not to do the same mistake.
The word “myself” in the above sentence refers to “I”, the same person.
What is verb? Verb is a word describing an action or being. The example of action verb are: drink, eat, watch, learn, and teach. Meanwhile, verb of being emphasizes how the noun or subject is, was, or will be and shows how something looks or feels. For example: is, am, are, was, were, being, been, become, seem, and appear. Both verb of action or being always functions as a predicate in a sentence.
She is beautiful
She watches a horror movie
In Indonesia, adjective means kata sifat. It is a word that modifies a noun or noun phrase or describes its referent. For example:
She is beautiful.
Her brother is a clever boy
In the first sentence, the adjective “beautiful” describes its referent, which is the word “she”. Meanwhile, in the second sentence, the adjective “clever” describes the noun “boy”
Adverb is a word used to modify a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. For example:
She walk quickly.
She is an extremely quick walker.
She walks extremely quickly.
In the first sentence, the adverb “quickly” modifies the verb “swims”. In the second sentence, the word “extremely” describes the adjective “quick”. Then, in the third sentence, the verb “extremely” modifies the adverb “quickly”
Article is a signal word to indicate a noun. There are two common article “The” and “A/An”. The following table provides a clue of how to use them.
|· It can precede only a singular countable noun.
I saw a lost kid in the market yesterday.
· An is used before words that begin with a vowel sound
I eat an apple
· A is used before words that begin with a consonant word
I buy a book
|· It is used to indicate something that we already know about
The boy in the corner is my friend (the speaker and the listener know which boy)
· It Is used if speaking in specific term
The smartphone in the table is hers (specific, the smartphone that is on the table)
Preposition is word that indicates the relation of noun in the sentence. There are so many types of preposition, such as time, place, agents/thing, and phrasal. The most common mistake in preposition is the use of “on”, “in”, and “at” for time and place. The following picture is given the clue when to use them:
Taken from: https://7esl.com/prepositions-of-time-and-place/
Conjunction is a word which connects two words, phrases, or clauses together. There are three types of conjunction: coordinating, subordinating, and correlative conjunction.
|Types of conjunction||Explanation||Example|
|Coordinating||It is used to join two words or clauses that are equally important. It has seven forms which is known as FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so)||· I will eat an apple and orange
· I buy a bag, and my sister buys cloth.
|Subordinating||It is used to join two clauses (dependent and independent clauses). It has so many forms: after, before, although, though, even though, as much as, as long as, in order that, if, even if, that, unless, until, where, because, whether, while, since, so that, when, as soon as, etc.||· Rini goes to school although she is sick.|
|Correlative||It is a pair conjunction that works to coordinate two items, such as: either-or; neither-nor, not only-but also, both-and, whether-or.||· He not only plays a piano, but also plays a guitar.
· Both the shoes and the dress are expensive.
It is an exclamation that expresses feeling. It is mostly found in informal language. It is such the use of “ops”, “wow”, “boom”, “duar”, etc.
Sentence is a set of word consists of subject and predicate. It always begins with capital letter and ends in full stop, exclamation or question mark. In writing, sentence provides a clear written expression of the writer’s idea.
As a set of word, sentence is made up of clause. Clause is a group of words expressing a single idea. There are two types of clause: Independent and dependent. Independent clause is a clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence. It does not need any other clause to complete its meaning. In the contrary, dependent clause is a clause that needs an independent clause to complete its meaning. Take a look at two examples below:
- He did not go to school.
- Because he was sick
Sentence A is independent clause. There is a subject “he” and the verb “go”. It is a complete sentence. When we read it, we directly know the meaning. Different to sentence a, when we read sentence B, the meaning is not clear. It is an incomplete sentence. It does contains a subject and a verb, but the opening word tell us about the cause of something.
Related to the clause, there are four types of sentence that can be made by independent clause only or independent clause and dependent clause. Those are can be seen in the following table:
|Simple sentence||• Consists of one independent clause.
• Need punctuation mark such as full stop, question mark, or exclamation at the end
|• He goes to the movie.
• He and his sister goes to the movie.
• He plays tennis and basket ball
• Does he go to the movie?
|Compound sentences||• Consists of two independent clauses.
• The independent clauses are joining by the use of coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, so , and yet)
|• He buys a cloth, and his sister buys a bag.|
|Complex sentences||• Consists of one independent clause and dependent clause.
• Those two clauses are joining by subordinating conjunction, such as before, after, because, although, even though, while, etc.
|• Because his essay was late, he lost marks.
• He lost marks because the essay was late.
|Compound-complex sentence||• Consists of three clauses or more.
• It can be 1 independent clause and 2 dependent clauses.
|• My mom and I will go shopping, while my father will stay at home because he will fix his motorcycle.|
Present simple is used to express a regular action or daily habit (see example a). It is also used to express general truth/statement (see example b). In this two contexts, present simple is used for event or situation that always, usually, or habitually exist in the past, present or in the future.
- She always wakes up at 5 o’clock in the morning
- Amazon is the largest forest in the earth.
How to form a present simple? This is how to use present simple:
|Sentence Types||How to form|
|Statement||S+ Verb (infinitive form) + O|
|Negative||S + do/does + not + Verb + O|
|Interrogative||Do/does + S + Verb ?|
There are three requirements to make present tense:
- Add “s” or “es” in the verb of 3rd person singular (she, he, and it)
- I always eat lunch at cafeteria.
- She usually eats lunch at cafeteria
- Add “do not” or “does not” to make a negative statement. “Does not” is used for 3rd person singular
- I do not (don’t) usually eat lunch at cafeteria
- She does not (doesn’t) usually eat lunch at cafeteria
- Add “do” or “does” to make a question. For the 3rd person, “does” is used. Then, do not add “s” or “es” in the verb.
- Do you eat lunch at cafeteria?
- Does she eat lunch at cafeteria?
Past simple is used for thing that happened at a specific time in the past. Past simple uses time indicator, such as yesterday, this morning, in 2019, last week, last month, last year, or a year ago. This is how to use past simple:
|Sentence Types||How to form||Examples|
|Statement||S+ Verb (past form)||· I went to the mall last night
· She ate spaghetti two days ago.
|Negative||S + did + not + Verb (infinitive form)||· I did not (didn’t) go to the mall last night
· She did not eat spaghetti two days ago
|Interrogative||Did + S + Verb (infinitive form)?||· Did you go the mall last night?
· Did she eat spaghetti two days ago?
In using past simple, we have to know first about regular and irregular verb. Regular verb uses the infinitive form of the verb (V1) plus suffix “-ed” (see example a). If the infinitive form of the verb ends in “-e”, we only add suffix “-d” (see example b). We need also pay attention to the verb ending in “-y” such in the word “spy”, “envy”, “study”, etc. Here “y” have to change into “I” (see example c).
- I watched at the cinema last night.
- I lived here in 2010
- I studied a lot.
Meanwhile, irregular verb has unique form as it has its own form. There are so many irregular verb in English, so it is better for us to remember it.
- I built this bird nest last year
(built is the past form (V2) of build)
- I went to the mall last night
(went is past form of go)
Present continuous is used to talk an activity that is in progress. In other words, it tells the activity that has started and not finish yet. There are several time indicator in using present continuous, such as “now”, “at the moment”, “right now”, “this morning”, etc. This is how to use present continuous:
|Sentence Types||How to form||Examples|
|Statement||S+ be (is, am, are) + Verb (-ing)||· She is talking to the lecture now.
|Negative||S + be (is, am, are) + not + Verb (-ing) + O||· She is not talking to the lecture now
|Interrogative||Be (is, am, are) + S + Verb (-ing)?||· Is she talking to the lecture now?
In advance, present continuous can be used for something temporary. Take a look at these two sentences:
- She lives with her parent.
- She is living with her parent.
What is the difference? Sentence A indicates permanent situation, while sentence B indicates temporary situation. In sentence B, she might live with her parents in a period of time or in certain condition.
Simple future is used to express a particular action that is done in a future. It uses time indicator, such as tomorrow, next week/month/year/, etc. The sentence is formed from the modal “will” or “be going to”. “Will “ is used to refer to spontaneous action that is done in the future. On the other hand, “be going to” is used to particular action that had been arranged in the past, and will be done in the future. In other words, this action has been arranged before. This is how to form simple future:
|Sentence Types||How to form||Examples|
|Statement||· S + Will + Infinitive (V1)
· S + be (is, am, are) + going to + infinitive (V1)
|· You will graduate next month
· They are going to visit me in LA
|Negative||· S + Will + not + Infinitive (V1)
· S + be (is, am, are) + not + going to + infinitive (V1)
|· You will not graduate next month
· They are not going to visit me in LA
|Interrogative||· Will + S + Infinitive (V1)
· Be (is, am, are) + S + going to + infinitive (V1)?
|· Will you graduate next month?
· Are they going to visit me in LA?
Perfect tenses express activities or situations that occurred (or do not occur) “before now” at some unspecific time in the past (see example A). It is also used to express activities that were repeated several or many times in the past, in which the exact times are unspecified (see example B). Present perfect sometime uses “for” or “since”. If these two words are used, it expresses the situation that began in the past and continued to the present (see example C).
|A. Rita has already eaten lunch||Rita finished eating sometime before now|
|B. Guntur has eaten in this restaurant many times||Guntur has eaten in the same restaurant for several times. The time here is unspecific|
|C. I have lived in this town since 1990||It indicates that I moved to the town in 1990, and now I am still living here.|
To form a present perfect, we need “have” or has and past participle, such in the following:
|Sentence Types||How to form|
|Statement||· S + have + past participle (V3)
· S + has + past participle (V3)
|Negative||· S + have + not + past participle (V3)
· S + has + not + past participle(V3)
|Interrogative||· Have + S + past participle (V3)?
· Has + S + past participle (V3)?
*Have is used for I, you, we, they.
*Has is used for she, he, it
Past perfect is used to indicate the activity that occurred “before another time” or particular in the past. To form a past perfect, we need “had” and past participle.
|Sentence Types||How to form||Examples|
|Statement||S + had + past participle (V3)
|Rita had already eaten when they arrived.|
|Negative||S + had + not + past participle (V3)
|Rita had not already eaten when they arrived.|
|Interrogative||Had + S + past participle (V3)?
|Had Rita already eaten when they arrived?|
On the statement sentence of the above example, there are two activities. First, Rita finished eating. Then, they arrived. In this context, Rita’s eating was completely finished before they arrived
Students sometimes do not pay attention to the use of capital letter in writing. They often use a small letter in the beginning of the sentence, or use capital letter in all part of their writing. This makes a confusion for the reader. Therefore, it is important to know when we use capital letter in writing. Capital letter is used for:
- Personal pronoun “I” ——— What can I do for you?
- Name of the person ——— He is Jeremy
- Beginning a sentence ——— Mary have a lot of homework. She works hard to finish it.
- Abbreviation and acronyms ——– ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations)
- Day, month, and holidays ——– I will go on next Saturday ; He will arrive in October ; What are you going to do in New Year?
- Countries, language, nationality, and religion —— She lives in She is Chinese.
- Company names, monuments ——– He takes a picture Eifel Tower ; I-phone is produced by Apple
- Title of book, poems, song, plays, or film ——– She watches The Lion King
- For heading, title or articles, books, or headlines —– Chapter 2: Literature Review
Comma is used to divide part of sentence in order to make a meaning clear. This is a guideline of when we use comma in a sentence:
|No||How to use it||Example|
|1.||Use a comma before any coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so) that links to two independent clause.||I watched the movie last night, and I met my aunt.|
|2.||Use a comma after a dependent clause that starts a sentence.||When I watched the movie, I met my aunt.|
|3.||Use a comma to separate items in a series||I met my cousin, my aunt, and my uncle|
|4.||Use a comma when attributing quotes||“Unsurprisingly, I met my aunt when I watched the movie last night.”
|5.||Use a comma when attributing quotes||He said, “ I see my aunt”. (indirect quote)|
|6.||Use a comma to separate each element in an address. Also, Use a comma after a city-state combination within a sentence||I met my aunt who lives at 257 Park Ave. South New York, N.Y. 10010|
|7.||Use a comma to separate the elements in a full date (weekday, month, day, and year). Also, use a comma to separate a combination of those elements from the rest of the sentence with commas.||I watched the movie in July, 15, 2019.|
Apostrophe has two functions: showing contraction (do not – don’t) and ownership (Rini’s book). In contraction, apostrophe makes word to be shorter. It replaces the letter that are removed. For example:
- Do not —— don’t
- Will not —— won’t
- You are —— you’re
- I would like —— I’d like
To show the ownership, there are three rules of using apostrophe:
- Use an apostrophe + S (‘s) to show that one person/thing owns or is a member of something. For example: Keisha’s room; Lina’s car
- Use an apostrophe after the “s” at the end of a plural noun to show possession. For example: The workers’ right; the parents’ car
- If a plural noun doesn’t end in “s”, add an apostrophe + “s” to create the possessive form. For example: Women’s right; children’s bag
A paragraph is a collection of sentences that state a single idea. There is no absolute rule about the length of the paragraph as it depends on the conveyed idea. However, it is better that it contains no less than three sentences. A good paragraph should have a clear topic, main idea, and supporting idea.
Topic sentence is the general idea or theme of your writing. Main idea is the key concept of your writing. It tells what the writing is about. It can be put in the beginning or end of a paragraph. Main idea usually consists of topic sentence. Meanwhile, supporting idea is the development of main idea. It support your statement in main idea. Here, you can provide an example, comment on evidence, show implication or consequences, or examine opposing idea. To gain a clear understanding, you can see the following example:
The rules of conduct during an examination are clear. No books, calculators or papers are allowed in the test room. Proctors will not allow anyone with such items to take the test. Anyone caught cheating will be asked to leave the room. His or her test sheet will be taken. The incident will be reported to the proper authority. At the end of the test period, all materials will be returned to the proctor. Failure to abide by these rules will result in a failing grade for this test.
Taken from https://www.cuesta.edu
The topic of the above paragraph is rule in examination. The main idea is on the beginning of a paragraph: The rules of conduct during an examination are clear. This main idea is developed by giving the example of unallowed items and the consequence of bringing the items.
Azar, B, S. (1993). Understanding and Using Grammar: Second Edition Inggris-Indonesia. Binarupa Asksara: Jakarta
Azar, B, S. (2002). Understanding and Using Grammar: Second Edition Inggris-Indonesia. Binarupa Asksara: Jakarta
Pyle, M,A & Page, M,E. (1995). Cliffs: TOEFL Preparation Guide. Cliffts: U.S.A
Philips, D. (2001). Longman Complete Course for the TOEFL Test. Longman Inc: New York.
Kareviati, E. (2020). Writing for General Communication. Deepublish Publisher: Sleman