Anaphora in a passage on sentence fragments

I’ve marked the anaphora in this passage from Edgar H. Schuster’s “A Fresh Look at Sentence Fragments”:

Sentence fragments have long been a form that most teachers try to eradicate from student writing. However well intentioned this may be, does it help students become better writers of nonfiction? Partly to answer this question, I examined the fifty essays reprinted in The Best American Essays 2001 (Norris and Atwan) and The Best American Essays, 2003 (Fadiman and Atwan).

It was exciting to observe the range of the syntactic resources these writers called on and used effectively. They include some things [see below] we English teachers commonly teach against, such as comma splices, single-sentence paragraphs, even occasional rambling sentences. But what struck me [see below] far more forcefully was the extent to which these essayists used sentence fragments. At the outset, it should be said that the backbone of virtually every essay in these collections is the complete, well-formed English sentence. Nevertheless, I found 505 sentence fragments in the fifty essays.

Now I’ve numbered the anaphora and explained what they refer to:

Sentence fragments have long been a form that most teachers try to eradicate from student writing. However well intentioned this [1] may be, does it [2] help students become better writers of nonfiction? Partly to answer this question [3], I examined the fifty essays reprinted in The Best American Essays 2001 (Norris and Atwan) and The Best American Essays, 2003 (Fadiman and Atwan).

It was exciting to observe the range of the syntactic resources these writers [4] called on and used effectively. They [5] include some things [see below] we English teachers commonly teach against, such as comma splices, single-sentence paragraphs, even occasional rambling sentences. But what struck me [see below] far more forcefully was the extent to which these essayists [6] used sentence fragments. At the outset, it should be said that the backbone of virtually every essay in these collections [7] is the complete, well-formed English sentence. Nevertheless, I found 505 sentence fragments in the fifty essays. [8]

  1. this” refers back to teachers trying to eradicate sentence fragments from student writing
  2. it” also refers to teachers trying to eradicate sentence fragments from student writing
  3. this question” refers back to the question “Does trying to eradicate sentence fragments from student writing help students become better writers?”
  4. these writersrefers back to the authors of the essays in The Best American Essays 2001 and 200e.
  5. Theyrefers back to the syntactic resources the authors of the essays in The Best American Essays use.
  6. these essayists refers back to the authors of the essays in the two Best American Essays books
  7. these collectionsrefers back to the two Best American Essays books
  8. the fifty essaysrefers back to the fifty essays in the two Best American Essay books

The words in orange are examples of cataphora. “Things” andwhat struck me both refer forward to words in the passage.

  1. things refers forward to comma splices, single-sentence paragraphs, and rambling sentences
  2. what struck me refers forward to “the extent to which essayists in the 2 books used comma splices, single-sentence paragraphs, and rambling sentences.”

Schuster, Edgar H. “A Fresh Look at Sentence Fragments.” The English Journal 95.5 (2006). Print. (78-83).

(The original passage, including links, is here.)

AND SEE:
William J. Kerrigan on Step 6

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s