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[about society] - Is this paragraph understandable?

trine_321 2 / 6  
Jan 13, 2007   #1
I need a bit of feedback on a paragraph in my 5-10 pages long civil rights project...

Is understandable even a word? Apparently, I'm good at making adjectives from verbs...

"To understand what a society is and what it may be like in the future, one must look into the chosen society's past. This is because every action has underlying motives and consequences. The motives are consequences of earlier events, and the consequences of the action triggers later events. One can't predict the future unless one knows the past."

Is this a bit dodgy to understand or is it fine? The paragraph is supposed to be my introduction to an analyzis of the American society. It's kind of hard to analyze the society when I've never been there... ps: notice my attempt at parallellism(the 1. and last sentence)

EF_Team2 1 / 1,708  
Jan 13, 2007   #2

Yes, "understandable" is definitely a word! It's an adjective meaning "capable of being understood; comprehensible." If you tend to make adjectives out of verbs, it is understandable that you would ask this question. :-))

I don't find it dodgy; it makes sense to me! Just a suggestion or two:

"This is because every action has underlying motives and consequences." - I'd take out "This is because" and just start the sentence with "Every action has ..."

"the consequences of the action triggers later events." - Your subject, "consequences" is plural; use a matching verb: "trigger."

"One can't predict the future unless one knows the past." - Normally, in formal writing, we don't use contractions. Unless your instructor has told you otherwise, you should probably say "cannot" instead of "can't."

You maybe not be able to give quite the same perspective as someone who has actually been to America, but there is a lot of information online about American society. You might have to narrow it down to more specific terms in your search, such as the names of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. or Malcolm X, depending on the focus of your paper, since "American society" is too broad a search term.

I'm not sure if that is parallelism, as I understand the term. In rhetoric, parallelism means to give two or more parts of the sentences a similar form so as to give the whole a definite pattern. In grammar, parallelism is a balance of two or more similar words, phrases, or clauses within a sentence. Perhaps you know another definition involving paragraphs that I am not familiar with. Regardless of what you call it, I like the way your last sentence is a briefer summing-up of the first sentence.

Nice work so far!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
OP trine_321 2 / 6  
Jan 14, 2007   #3
Okey, thanks so much for the feedback

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