Cool Editing: Bulleted Paragraphs!

The Bulleted Paragraph: A Cool Editing Trick!

OverviewMany times when we write, we think or believe that the logical linkages between and among our sentences are totally clear, totally comprehensible to all of our readers.Think again.One of the areas in which we as writers are generally pretty weak is in the area of making those logical connections between and among paragraphs – or more fundamentally, between and among the sentences inside those paragraphs.   When we don’t provide those logical links, English teachers tend write comments like, “Jumpy!” or “Link?” on our papers.

 One way to make it clear to ourselves whether or not we’ve actually made logical connections between sentences is to do something very simple: Reformat your paragraph into a bulleted list.  This effectively compels you to look at each sentence as an individual unit of meaning – one which needs to emerge logically from and lead logically towards the next sentence…and the next.

 

How Do I Do This? 
Step One: Turn a paragraph formatted like this…

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Sed eget mi libero. Aenean eget vehicula metus. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus et nulla massa. Proin ornare pulvinar metus, nec aliquet sapien bibendum sit amet.

…and change it into a bulleted list of sentences like this:

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
  • Sed eget mi libero. Aenean eget vehicula metus.
  • In hac habitasse platea dictumst.
  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
  • Phasellus et nulla massa.
  • Proin ornare pulvinar metus, nec aliquet sapien bibendum sit amet.

What’s the procedure?

  • In MS Word, click on the “Home” tab on the top of the page.
  • At the top of the page, look for the little icon that looks like three dots next to three lines in the “Paragraph” section.
  • Select your text.
  • Click the little icon mentioned above.

 

Step Two: Add Key Word Links

A key word is one that is repeated from one sentence to another.

What words make good key word links?

  • Words addressing the question you are answering in the essay
  • Words that are directly related to the topic of the paragraph
  • Words that come at the end of the previous sentence
  • Closely related synonyms of words you just used in the sentence before
  • A word you recently used but are using now in a slightly different grammatical form

 

Examples of Key Word Links

  • “…and that is when Roark faces his greatest rival.  This rival, however, turns out to be…”
  • The reasons for Fred’s love of manatees were very complex.  Complexity, as we shall see…”

 

 

 

Step Three: Add Transitions

  • See this page for simple transitions!
  • See this other page for transitional phrases that sound really cool and collegiate.
 
Step Four: Re-Check Your Work

If your paragraph started out looking like this once you bulleted the sentences…

  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
  • Sed eget mi libero. Aenean eget vehicula metus.
  • In hac habitasse platea dictumst.
  • Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
  • Phasellus et nulla massa.
  • Proin ornare pulvinar metus, nec aliquet sapien bibendum sit amet.

 

it should probably look a lot like this now: 

  • Initially, lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit.
  • Sed eget mi libero, Aenean eget vehicula metus, manatees are cool.
  • Manatees, however, in hac habitasse platea dictumst.
  • On the other hand, lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, which is clear.
  • Also clear is the idea that …phasellus et nulla massa.
  • In the final analysis, proin ornare pulvinar metus, nec aliquet sapien bibendum sit amet.

 

 

Why Else This Method is Cool:

 This method is also cool because it allows you immediately to see whether or not you have decent sentence variety — if all of your sentences are the same length, it’s easy to spot that at once!  Bonus!

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: