The purpose of this blog is to summarize articles on teaching English/language arts, from kindergarten through college, published in English education journals from the past.
Topic: Syntactic Complexity and Writing Quality (Secondary/College)
Title: “Syntactic Complexity and Writing Quality.” Stephen Witte, John A. Daly and Roger D. Cherry. The Territory of Language. Ed. Donald McQuade. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1986, 150-164. Reviewed in College Composition and Communication (October 1987), 327. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Summary: “Concludes that no firm connection can be established between syntactic complexity and judgments of writing quality through research yet completed….”
Comments: For the same reason that knowledge of grammar does not show up in measures of writing quality, syntactic complexity will not be related to writing quality. Grammar and syntactic complexity deal with the sentence. Writing quality deals primarily with organization of the whole composition, with paragraphs, transitions, opening and closing paragraphs. Grammar has a role, polishing the text for final publication, but the majority of writing quality deals with the whole composition involving organization and paragraphs. RayS.