Style - write a time-order sentence

Malc Prentice

Types of time-order sentence

Differences Narrative Time Order Descriptive Time Order Instructional Time Order
The topic What happened What happens How you can do something
The content "I did X, then Y, and finally Z" "Someone does X, then Y, and finally Z" "First you do X, then Y, and finally X"
example topic I learned origami
the history of origami
how origami is done tell me how to make a paper bird
example question "What is the history of coffee" "How do people make coffee?" "How do I make coffee?"
What language is OK? Sentences with "I" or passive Sentences with "he", titles, or passive sentence with "you" or instructions ("Make!")
What language is NOT OK? No instructions!* No instructions!* No passives!
Language example 1 Next, I made the coffee Next, the farmer makes the coffee Next, you make the coffee
Language example 2 Next, the coffee was made Next, the rice is made Next, make the coffee
Example Topic Sentence This paragraph describes the history of mochi This paragraph describes how mochi is made This paragraph describes how to make mochi

What is wrong with instructions in Descriptive Time Order?*

~~First, pick the tea I don't work in a tea plantation!
~~First, you pick the tea No I don't! I teach English!

Instead, talk about the workers, the machines, or use passive

First, the machine picks the tea (the machine who does it is important)
First, the worker picks the tea (the person who does it is important)
First, the tea is picked (passive - who/what does it unknown/unimportant)

Option 1

Cohesion phrase Narrative Descriptive Instructional
First, X happened X does something do X
Firstly, what happened was x X begins happening you do X
Initially, X were starting to Y X is done you should do X
To begin with, X was done You need to do X
At the outset
...
Second,
Secondly,
Third,
Thirdly,
Next,
Then,
After that
Subsequently
Following that
The next year
The following year,
Two hours later,
Three years later,
At the end of the 30 mins
At the end of two years,
After, / Afterwards,
...
Finally,
In the end,

Option 2

Cohesion phrase Narrative Descriptive Instructional
The first thing that happened was X is X is doing X
The second event was that X did Y is that X does Y is to do X
The third stage was X is X doing Y is X doing Y
The next step event was that X did Y is when X does Y
The following was X doing Y
The final was when X did Y
was that X happened

Option 3 - "ING-ED"

Cohesion phrase Narrative Descriptive Instructional
After Xing, Y happened X happens do X
While Xing, etc etc etc
Before Xing, etc etc etc

Option 4 - happens at the same time

Cohesion phrase Narrative Descriptive Instructional
While X is happening Y happened Y happens do Y
At the same time X was happening Y happened Y happens do Y
Meanwhile,
In the meantime,
At the same time,
Simultaneously,

Other useful language

See also

Preparation and warnings

(for Instructional only)

Going out of sequence