CONNECTIVES (Discourse Markers)
Sentence coherence is integral to sentence effectiveness. Appropriate connectives should be used to connect words, phrases and clauses in a sentence. In order to achieve coherence, technical writers and speakers use several linking devices or connectives. There are two types of linking devices, overt and covert. Overt devices are direct and explicitly stated while covert devices are indirect and implicit. Covert devices include techniques such as repetition of the key word, the use of articles (a, an, the), pronominal forms (he,she, it, they, and so on), and the use of synonyms. However, technical communication largely uses overt linking devices or connectives to indicate the logical progression of ideas in oral discourse or writing.
Following are some examples, in which connectives (bolded) have been used:
When an object is placed on one side or the other of a converging lens and beyond the focal plane, an image is formed on the opposite side.
If the object is moved closer to the primary focal plane, the image will be formed farther away from the secondary focal plane and will be larger.
Land pollution is due to solid wasters.
Fresh water is a renewable source, but its distribution is uneven.
Asbestosis is caused by asbestos, which is used in making ceilings.
These connectives include subordinators and coordinators. They can also be classified according to their functions. The following table presents the usage of discourse markers:
I. Read the following paragraphs and fill in the blanks with appropriate connectives.
I. When Hydrogen gas escapes from a cylinder into the air, no change is visible. However, if the escaping hydrogen is directed at finely divided platinum, it is observed that the platinum glows and soon ignites the hydrogen. In the absence of platinum the H2O2 reaction is too slow to observe. In contact with platinum, hydrogen reacts with oxygen from the air to form water. As they react, the give off energy, which heats the platinum. As the platinum gets hotter, it heats the hydrogen and hydrogen with oxygen becomes self-sustaining.
II. Join the following pairs of sentences, using the discourse markers given in the brackets against each pair.
1. My father earns plenty of money. He hates spending money on luxurious living. (inspiteof)
In spite of earning plenty of money, my father hates spending money on luxurious living.
I switch off the fridge at night. It saves money. (to) I switch off the fridge at night to save money.
Asma's suitcase was lost in the transit. She got it back. (however) Asma's suitcase was lost in the transit however she got it back.
Water could not be supplied by a centralized system. The cost of this would be very high. (because)
Water could not be supplied by a centralized system because the cost of this would be very high.
India Mark II has built-in mechanical efficiency. Even children can operate it easily. (so
India Mark II has built-in mechanical efficiency so that even children can operate it easily.
Gold is malleable. We can change its shape by pressing and hammering. (therefore)
Gold is malleable therefore we can change its shape by pressing and hammering.
Petrol has become expensive. Many people prefer to use cheaper forms of transport. (as)
As petrol becomes expensive, many people prefer to use cheaper forms of transport.
Oil is struck in the rock layers. Production wells can be drilled to extract oil. (if) If oil is struck in the rock layers, production wells can be drilled to extract oil.
III. Join the following pairs of sentences by using appropriate connectives
The maid must be very tired. She had worked the whole day.
The maid must be very tired because she had worked the whole day.
I may help you. I may not help you. You are sure to lose the contract.
I may help you but I may not help you because you are sure to lose the contract.
He said something. I did not hear it.
He said something but I did not hear it.
The robbery was committed last Tuesday. The man has been caught. Since the man has been caught, the robbery was committed last Tuesday.
He is illiterate. His parents are illiterate as well.
He and his parents are illiterate.
He has come here. He will see you.
He has come here to see you.
I could not attend the meeting. I was ill.
As I was ill, I could not attend the meeting.
She is a painter. She is a poet.
She is painter and a poet.
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