Linking Structures: Sentence Adverbs
Problem: Students often wrongly use the structures both in terms of meaning and form.
Solution: Try the following exercise and read the notes which follow.
What are sentence adverbs?
* The girls in the class laughed loudly. (Here the adverb only describes the verb. It is not a sentence adverb.)* Naturally , the boys didn’t think it was so funny. (Here the adverb describes the whole sentence. It’s a sentence adverb.)
* Sentence adverbs don't link sentences. They do link the general sense of your writing, and guide the reader through it. They usually come at the beginning, but can also come at the end. The beginning use is more emphatic (stronger).
Instructions: (follow the three steps one by one to improve your reading techniques)
>Scan the black and the red print in the story below for the general meaning of this true story from when the author was young(er). Don't spend more than one minute.
>.. Re-read with the words in red and check any difficult vocabulary given further down below the story.
>Choose a sentence adverb from the alternatives given.
Practically/Ideally/If I may say so, you should wear waterproof clothes when you
Select one of the words or expressions in blue and write your answer here:[ANSWER]
go climbing mountains, and it is essential to take emergency supplies of food and water. You should let someone know your planned route and, obviously / officially / evidently, you should avoid going up the mountain on a day [ANSWER]
when the weather forecast is not good. Badly / Understandably / Unfortunately, we had done none of these things.[ANSWER]And so it was that the three of us set off to climb
After / On top of that / Added there was the journey back down the mountain to be made. [ANSWER]
Eventually / Technically / Lastly we reached the top, but [ANSWER]
at that point / now / currently, Michael started to behave very strangely. He was [ANSWER]
muttering to himself and staggering about like a drunken man. These are typical signs of exhaustion, and it soon became clear he was completely incapable of climbing back down the mountainside. In theory / Strictly speaking / Apparently we could call [ANSWER]
the mountain rescue force, but in reality / clearly / factually this was before the days [ANSWER]
when everyone carried mobile phones, so this was not an option.
waterproof – keeping out water / rain
route - way, road,course, direction, path
weather forecast - prediction of future weather
set off - start a journeymuttering - talking quietly to himself (in an unclear way, difficult to understand)
staggering - walking from side to side (like a drunken man)
drunken - drunk, after too much alcohol (used when the adjective is directly before the noun)
exhaustion - great tiredness
clear - obvious ("clearly" can be used as a sentence adverb, and is an alternative to "obviously")
incapable of - unable to
option - choice or possibility.
Do you need some hints and clues (pieces of helpful information)? Then scroll down...................
Hints and Clues:
Decide if you want to change any of your answers. If you do, scroll back up the page and enter your new answer.
Practically / Ideally / If I may say so you should wear waterproof clothes when you go climbing mountains: One of these needs to go together with another word. One of them is used to introduce a slightly impolite or unwelcome comment. The other is the correct answer.
obviously / officially / evidently you should avoid going up the mountain on a day when the weather forecast is not good: One of these means "according to the (government or organisational) rules". One of them means "according to the information I have been given". The other is the correct answer.
Badly / Understandably / Unfortunately we had done none of these things: One of these is not a sentence adverb. One has the wrong meaning in the context of the answer. The other is the correct answer.
in fact / roughly / generally speaking it was more like a four hour trip: One of these means "approximately" or "more or less" and should usually be used with another word. One has the wrong meaning in the context of the situation. The other is the correct answer.
After /On top of that / Added there was the journey back down the mountain to be made: One of these needs to be used with another word. One of them needs to be used with two other words. The other is the correct answer.
Eventually / Technically / Lastly we reached the top: One of these needs to be used with another word. One of them has to be the final thing in a sequence. The other one is the correct answer.
at that point / now / currently, Michael started to behave very strangely: Two of these can only be used for the present time, and this story is in the past. The other is the answer.
In theory / Strictly speaking / Apparently we could call the mountain rescue force: One of these suggests something which is possible in the present (impossible) situation. One of them means "according to information I have been given". The other is the correct answer.
in reality / clearly / factually this was before the days when everyone carried mobile phones: One of these suggests information which everyone should know. One of them is unlikely to be used - at least on its own. The other goes with the answer to the choice above this one and is the correct answer.
When you've rewritten the sentences, check further down the page to see if they're the same as the suggested answers..............
Ideally, you should wear waterproof clothes when you go climbing mountains, and it is essential to take emergency supplies of food and water. You should let someone know your planned route and, obviously, you should avoid going up a mountain on a day when the weather forecast is not good. Unfortunately, we had done none of these things.
And so it was that the three of us set off to climb Mount Rannoch, one of the highest hills in Scotland. We thought it would take about two hours to get to the top; in fact it was more like a four hour trip. On top of that, there was the journey back down the mountain to be made.
Eventually we reached the top, but at that point Michael started to behave very strangely. He was muttering to himself and staggering about like a drunken man. These are typical signs of exhaustion, and it soon became clear he was completely incapable of climbing back down the mountainside. In theory, we could call the mountain rescue force, but in reality this was before the days when everyone carried mobile phones, so this was not an option.
1. The sentence adverbs are usually followed by commas, but not always. Read the sentence aloud to yourself. If you pause then that will be where a comma comes. Sometimes a sentence can be read in more than one way, and a comma is optional.
2. Here are some common examples, in the order they are given in the passage, of sentence adverbs which should usually be used with "speaking". They are: practically speaking, roughly speaking, technically speaking.
3. The following are given in full as alternatives, though they don't have the correct meaning in the context of the passage. a) Generally speaking: same meaning as in general - which means it is usually true. b) Strictly speaking: means something which is possible, but maybe involves "bending or breaking the rules". For example, "Strictly speaking, we shouldn't drink alcohol in the college, but since it's the Christmas party we'll open a bottle of wine or two." Officially is used in the same way, but for more formal contexts.
4. Here are other examples from the passage which need to be used with additional words: after that, added to that.
5. Apparently is slightly less formal than evidently. Roughly speaking, they both mean "according to the information I have been given".
6. Understandably means something is easy to understand. For example, "Last year my wife left me, my house burned down and my dog ran away. Understandably, I was very upset!" Naturally and obviously could also be used in be used in this example. Clearly is similar, but relies more on the evidence being obvious at the moment, rather than the situation which caused it.
7. At that point, at that stage and then all suggest a past meaning. At this point, at this stage, currently and now are used with present meaning.
8. In theory....... in reality often go together. In theory....... in practice is a more formal version of the same.
And the end of the story?
We had been "sledging" on big plastic sacks earlier in the day, so we put Michael on one of these and repeatedly pushed him down the slope of the hillside wherever this was possible. Sadly it wasn't a total success, as he would bounce off down the hill then roll over so that he was lying face down in the snow. Naturally we were very worried for his safety and ran off to rescue him. But although the snow seemed level, it had been blown by the wind. Consequently we would sometimes be running "on top of it" and the next second we would sink up to our waists.
Once we reached the bottom of the mountain we still had three kilometers to get back to the car. By this time we were hoping the other people back at our cottage would have phoned for help, but none came. We had no choice but to keep going. Certain we were completely lost in the darkness, it was more by luck than judgement that we finally stumbled on our vehicle. Unfortunately we had lost the keys on the mountain and had to break the window, "hot wire" the ignition and steal our own car.
When we got back to the cottage we expected tears of joy. In reality what we got was a noisy "telling off" from Michael's wife, who was convinced we had all been off drinking in the local pub.
bees - the brown striped insects
wasp - the yellow and black striped insect
melon - the fruit they're eating
market stall - table used to display things
aggressive - likely to attack others
docile - peaceful and not aggressive
nectar - sweet liquid produced by plants
Bees and a wasp on a melon displayed on a market stall. The three bees at the back are feeding on the melon, but the wasp seems to be attacking the nearest bee. Wasps are very aggressive, and eat a variety of other insects. Bees, on the other hand, are more docile and collect nectar from plants in order to make honey.
Grammar note: Articles
"Bees..." - no article. The noun is plural and being introduced for the first time. If the bees in the picture are mentioned again, they will have been identified, and will be referred to as "The bees".
"...and a wasp on a melon displayed on a market stall." - indefinite articles are used. The nouns are all singular and being introduced for the first time. The indefinite article here means "one in number". The indefinite article can only be used with the singular. The plural form is "some".
"The three bees at the back are feeding on the melon, but the wasp seems to be attacking the nearest bee." - definite articles are used. They have all now been introduced, so we have identified the bees, the melon, the wasp and the nearest bee. In other words, you know the one(s) I'm talking about. The definite article can be used when the noun is singular (one) or plural (more than one).
"Wasps are aggressive........Bees, on the other hand, are more docile and collect nectar from plants in order to make honey." - no articles. It means "wasps in general... bees in general... plants in general." We can't identify the wasps, bees or plants we're talking about, because we're talking about all wasps, bees and plants. Similarly for the nouns "nectar" and "honey". Which nectar? Which honey? We don't know, and it doesn't matter, so we don't use an article.
Do you get it?
stroll - walk slowly
trainer - man who prepares a horse for a race
grey - (U.S. spelling "gray") the colour you get when you mix black with white
suspicious - believing something bad is being done
sugar lump - piece of sugar (which could be drugged, to make a horse run faster)
nanny - woman who looks after children
contentedly - happily wander - similar to "stroll"
jockey - (usually small) man who rides a racehorsedig your heels in - push the back of your foot in (to the sides of the horse)
gallop - run (for horses)bloody - mild (not very strong) swearword (bad or insulting word)
The Duke of Norfolk strolls into the stables just before the race to make sure his horse is fit and well. As he approaches he sees a trainer giving something to the grey horse next to his. Suspicious, he goes up to the man and says, "Hey - what are you up to? What's that you're giving to your horse?""Oh," says the man, "it's nothing, Sir, only a sugar lump. Look - if you don't believe me, have one yourself. And I'll do the same." The trainer pops one in his mouth and hands another to the Duke.
"Hm," says the Duke. "I love sugar lumps. My nanny used to give them to me when I was a boy!" Chewing contentedly, he wanders off and inspects his own horse.
The trainer then takes the grey horse outside and the jockey jumps on his back. "Now listen," the trainer says to his jockey, "just stay in behind the others until you get to the last corner. As soon as you see the winning post, dig your heels in and get him into a hard gallop. If anything passes you after that it'll be either me or the bloody Duke of Norfolk!"