6.3 Focus on punctuation - 6 Paragraph development: achieving flow

Academic Writing for International Students of Science - Jane Bottomley 2015

6.3 Focus on punctuation
6 Paragraph development: achieving flow

As you saw in Chapters 4 and 5, careful use of punctuation can add significantly to clarity of expression in sentences. It can also greatly improve the flow and readability of a paragraph.


Punctuate the following passage so that it flows and makes sense.

an animals survival prospects are greatly improved if the animal alters its behaviour according to its experience learning increases its chances of obtaining food avoiding predators and adjusting to other often unpredictable changes in its environment the importance of learning in the development of behaviour was stressed particularly by us experimental psychologists such as john b watson 1878—1958 and b f skinner 1904—90 who studied animals under carefully controlled laboratory conditions they demonstrated how rats and pigeons could be trained or conditioned by exposing them to stimuli in the form of food rewards or electric shocks this work was criticised by others notably ethologists who preferred to observe animals in their natural surroundings and who stressed the importance of inborn mechanisms such as instinct in behavioural development a synthesis between these two once conflicting approaches has been achieved learning is regarded as a vital aspect of an animals development occurring in response to stimuli in the animals environment but within the constraints set by the animals genes hence young animals are receptive to a wide range of stimuli but are genetically predisposed to respond to those that are more significant

(Oxford Dictionary of Science, 2005: 470)

Review Task

Combine the notes below to form clear, readable paragraphs. Consider:

information structure

cohesive devices


(Remember these are notes: you will need to ’add grammar’ - articles, verb forms, etc., as well as linking together ideas.)

1) Recycling

recycling products is better than disposing of them as waste - two main reasons:

✵ less need to extract raw materials from the earth - conserves natural resources

✵ energy requirements for refinement and processing of recycled materials usually less than for natural resources

Model Text 5, Appendix 4

2) Additives and chemicals

many foods contain chemical additives — e.g. preservatives; artificial sweeteners; artificial flavourings; colouring agents

added by manufacturer — during production

chemicals also enter food chain through agriculture:

✵ widespread use of fertilisers and pesticides on crops

✵ antibiotics and supplements for livestock

maximum allowed levels strictly controlled by law — therefore quality control of raw materials and commercially manufactured foodstuffs essential to ensure they are not contaminated beyond regulatory levels

one technique used: high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) (technique used to separate, identify and quantify components in a mixture) used in combination with a detection system, often ultraviolet—visible (UV—VIS) spectroscopy

Model Text 6, Appendix 4