Welcome back to Part 4 of the ‘How to Ace Your Editing’ blogs. In our previous blogs, we covered three different common errors: Tenses, Word Forms and Pronouns. Today, we will be covering how to detect and correct the ‘Connector’ error.
WHAT IS A CONNECTOR?
Let’s get a basic understanding what a connector is. A connector is not recognised as one of the parts of speech; rather, it describes the function of two different parts of speech that play the role of connecting ideas or words: conjunctions and prepositions.
As connectors connect ideas in the passage, it is important that students read the entire passage and understand how one idea connects to another, or he / she would have difficulty spotting the connector error.
The tip presented here revolves around understanding the different relationships that ideas or words can have with each other in order to facilitate spotting the incorrect connector and replacing it with the correct one.
COMMON ERROR FOUR. CONNECTORS
Conjunctions show the connection between ideas. These ideas may have equal weightage (and be connected using ‘and’ or ‘or’ for example), show dependence (and be connected using ‘if’ or ‘because’ for example) or have a logical sequence (and be connected using ‘however’ or ‘therefore’ for example).
- “Raffles sent thousands of stuffed animal skins, skeletons and plants back to England so (and) also kept some animals as pets himself.” – 2014 (The two actions of sending and keeping are equally important)
Prepositions are used to show the relationship of words to each other. They can convey information about location, time, or direction or provide details. Common prepositions include ‘to’, ‘despite’ and ‘with’.
- “I never have to go for (to) school on my birthday as all the schools are closed on that day.” – 2013 (wrong choice of preposition)
HOW TO EDIT CONNECTOR ERRORS
We now know that connectors are conjunctions and prepositions; this makes it much easier to spot them. But how do we know when the wrong one is used?
We begin by understanding the different types of conjunctions or prepositions and how they work. However, this knowledge, on its own, is not enough. What is just as crucial is that students focus on understanding how one idea transits to another in the passage, and they pair this up with their knowledge of how different connectors work. Then they can edit connector errors more easily.
For instance, if a sentence includes two opposing ideas, yet the connector used is ‘and’ or ‘because’, then the student immediately knows the connector is wrong.
This category of connectors emphasises that the relationship is one of cause and effect: one event causes the other event. Common connectors that denote cause and effect are ‘because’, ‘as’, ‘since’, ‘so’, ‘therefore’ and ‘thus’.
- “Chris is such a popular person because he is so generous with his time.
(b) Reinforce / Add Information
Another use of connectors is to reinforce ideas or to give additional information. Some common connectors include ‘also’, ‘additionally’, ‘furthermore’, ‘moreover’ and ‘finally’.
- “The dark skies and distant thunder dissuaded Clarice from her afternoon run; moreover, she had thirty calculus problems to solve for her morning class.
Some connectors explain how two ideas are contradictory or how one must make a choice between the two. Some examples of these connectors are ‘although’, ‘though’, ‘whereas’, ‘however’, ‘despite’, ‘yet’, ‘rather’, ‘or’ and ‘but’.
- “My cat Buster has beautiful blue eyes but a destructive personality”
- “She regrets having spoken to her friend like that, yet, she hasn’t apologised.”
- “Don’t tell John about his birthday party or you’ll spoil the surprise.”
(d) Comparison / Equal Importance
Some connectors are used to compare ideas or to join two ideas which have equal weightage. Connectors like these include ‘similarly’, ‘also’, ‘and’ and ‘nor’.
- “The taxi stopped at the train station and two men got out of it.”
- “Halloween is for those who like thrills; similarly, romantics love Valentine’s Day.
One function of connectors is to show that one idea is dependent on the other use. Examples of such connectors are ‘unless’, ‘if’ and ‘while’.
- “Unless we give a million dollars to the kidnappers, they are going to kill our daughter.”
Connectors of time are usually prepositions. They help the writer indicate sequence or when something happens. They include ‘after’, ‘while’, ‘when’, ‘before’, ‘until’, ‘finally’, ‘next’, ‘then’ and ‘at’.
- The class starts at 9 a.m.
(g) Position / Location
Connectors also let the reader understand the relationship between two items or the location of an object. Some connectors that have these functions are ‘under’, ‘above’, ‘between’, and ‘on’.
- The handbag is under the chair.
The functions of connectors listed above are not exhaustive but are probably the most common. It is essentially a starter’s kit for students to work with as they hone their skills and we certainly hope you will find it useful.
We have attached a simple tip sheet at the end of this blog as an easy reference to the tip we have shared.
For newcomers to this blog, we have based it on our One-Page Summary (OPS) of the four most common mistakes for the Editing section. To download the OPS, please click here.
This ends our series of blogs on Editing. Do give us a call at 6344-3398 if you have any questions or click on the blue icon at the bottom right!