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I am marking students' essays and frequently coming across stumbling blocks of words. Although grammatically speaking these blocks are mostly correct, I find that clarity is being impaired (e.g too many adjectives, repetition, word order, confusing meaning, broken flow, too much time spent to understand the message). However, I am not sure how to restructure these stumbling block without loss of meaning so they can understand the point I am trying to make. Can you advise please?

I used to have a Giant Live hybrid style brand-new bicicle that was recently stolen from my sister's partner's stepmother.

It is an old light blue steel frame road bike with a greyish aluminium handlebar and a cushioned saddle seat.

Many cats have disappeared at the same exact time period from the same exact place in the town animal rescue shelter.

They research high mortality diseases effects on economically Asian developing nations OR They research the effects on economically developing nations in Asia of high mortality diseases.

  • I used to have a bicycle. It was the Giant brand, hybrid style, and practically brand new. Unfortunately, it was recently stolen from the stepmother of my sister's partner. – Hot Licks Jan 18 at 1:49
  • Had an english teacher who gave an automatic failing grade if she came across a run-on sentence... (That'll learn 'em!) – Oldbag Jan 18 at 1:55
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    Ironically the phrase "stumbling blocks of words" sounds a bit odd to me. – nnnnnn Jan 18 at 8:32
  • Thanks @nnnnnn. You're right! I have changed it to "verbal stumbling blocks". – Darius Jan 19 at 1:17
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    I would keep no. 1 as part of writer’s craft, every writer has their own style of writing and in the literature, that sentence would make me want to read that essay or book. However, I can see the stumbling blocks in no. 2 and 3 - and in no. 4 - it is no question it should be They research the effects on economically developing nations in Asia of high mortality diseases. – aesking Jan 19 at 1:40

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