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Going for gold in writing with Ifeoma Okoye

By Maria Diamond
08 November 2018   |   4:10 am
Ifeoma Okoye’s Go for gold with your writing, with ‘A practical self-guide to writing gold-winning sentences’ as sub-theme, is a detailed and self-explanatory

Ifeoma Okoye’s Go for gold with your writing, with ‘A practical self-guide to writing gold-winning sentences’ as sub-theme, is a detailed and self-explanatory textbook on how to master English and write effortlessly in it. The book caters for all categories of writing, ranging from essay, reports, theses, course term papers, reviews, articles, editorials, academic papers, business letters, technical job reports and others.

Okoye’s displays her long term teaching skill in the 26 chapter book that keeps you reading with each topic simplified; it is like sitting in the classroom with a teacher, who goes the extra mile just for her students to understand the theories and technicalities of writing.

The author introduces the first chapter with Brook Landon’s Building Great Sentences: “And we cannot be effective writers without using effective sentences,” which reveals the major objective of the text, to show readers how to write what she calls ‘Gold Winning Sentences’.

Okoye defines gold-winning sentences as well construct sentences that contribute immensely to raising the quality of writing whilst taking your readers where you want them to go.

The first chapter explains the main features of gold-winning sentences, importance of sentences in writing, sentence combining and how to make the most of the book.

She says, “Errors in construction of sentences are of two major types…  grammatical errors and mechanical errors…”

Okoye, who skillfully explains the contents of sentences with instances, proceeds to introduce Word Class, otherwise known as Parts of Speech in the second chapter. She states its importance in any form of writing whatsoever, as the basic elements of communication. She explains, “Every word use in building sentences belongs to a particular category or group.”

This chapter, therefore, reflects the two major groups of word classes, ‘open-class’ and ‘closed class’ words.

Okoye explains that the former is opened to additional new words, while the latter is closed to word additions and belongs to the group of pronouns, prepositions, determiners, conjunctions and interjections.

The author uses easy illustrations for clarity and understanding.

Here is an example she uses to illustrate morphemes from Chinua Achebe’s Home and Exile, “one of the earliest memories I can summon from the realm of childhood was a homecoming that was extraordinary even for recollection.”

At the end of each chapter’s explanations and illustrations, Okoye lists out review questions and ‘test yourself’ exercises; there is no moment for confusion or boredom.

In chapter three, she deals with how to identify nouns, and kicks off with Allan A. Glatthorn’s and Brenda C. Rosen’s description of noun as the basic word that creates a picture in the reader’s mind.

Okoye states the importance and function of noun in building sentences: “We use them to say which people, things, ideas, or events we are talking about in our sentences. We repeat them or replace them with pronouns as a way of linking our sentences together, thereby making our writing coherent.”

Chapter four deals with verb and its forms, where Okoye explains that every sentence needs a verb to be complete, as they express a wide range of meaning and play an important role in determining the meaning of sentences.

Then she treats and identifies adjectives as the largest word class after noun and verb, then progresses to the rest of the chapters where she portrays adverb, phrases, sentence predicates, patterns, questions, passives, relative clauses, participle clauses, prepositions, modifiers, appositives, coordinating conjunctions, combining sentences using multiple methods and writing error-free sentences with appropriate word class.

Okoye rounds off her ‘seeming class’ of Go For Gold With Your Writing in chapter 26 with ‘Writing Error-Free Sentences Using Verb,’ where she posits that gold-winning sentences are error-free, and in error-free sentences, verbs agree with their subjects.