Like ordering paragraphs, to put missing sentences into a text you have to work like a detective and look for clues. This example, and the tips that follow show you how.
Usually these streets were full of busy people. (Missing sentence)
It was completely quiet on the streets outside. Guy thought it was strange. _________ Now they were completely empty. The snow that had fallen looked like a carpet. Outside looked like inside.
The missing sentence refers back to a previous sentence as there is a reference to streets (these streets).
The missing sentence refers to the next sentence too. In the missing sentence we know that usually the streets were full. This links to the following sentence as now they (the streets) are empty. They refers back to a plural noun (the streets).
- Read all the sentences taken out of the text.
- Read the text and match the sentences with the gaps you are sure about.
- Read the sentences before and after the gap carefully. There will always be a link between these sentences and the missing sentence.
Look for reference words. What do they refer to? Typical reference words include:
- personal pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, they)
- possessive pronouns (my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs)
- demonstrative pronouns (this, that, these, those)
These suggestions will help you do this type of exercise right.
- Look for discourse markers such as in addition, however, as a result, then, etc.
- If you are not sure which sentence goes in the gap, leave it and move on to the next.
- If you think there are two possible sentences for one gap, write down both answers and check again later.
- Write down all the possibilities for each gap. If you make the wrong choice at the beginning, this may affect the rest of your answers.
- You don’t have to read the text in order. You can move backwards and forwards to different paragraphs.
- There may be extra sentences you don’t need. But remember, there will always be a link between the correct missing sentence and the text.
How well did you do in the exercise? Were these tips helpful to you? Do you think they will help you get better scores in your next exam?