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February 03, 2012

Do You Have A Dominant Impression?

A dominant impression is another way of saying topic sentence in the context of writing. I define topic sentence as the...

...one sentence answer to the question of what your essay is about.

But dominant impression means much more. It can refer to the organizing theme of your life, and no, this is not another New Year's resolution piece.

I simply suggest that you define, in one sentence, what you hope to accomplish in 2012...and beyond.

Sounds simple, but most people just can't do this. Focusing on one defining statement might mean they're accountable, when most of us want the freedom (or is it inertia?) of no deadlines or obligations. After all, isn't that the definition of an grown-up? To make one's own decisions and directions?

The problem is, most people cannot function when they have no limitations or structure. How do they know when to do something? When is it due, or late, or how do I know how, when or if it is accomplished? Others make lists, timelines and notes on calendars. And that's as far as they get.

I suggest that you pick one phrase or statement that represents and sums up who you are and where you want to go in 2012.Then center your energy and choices around it.

Focus every decision on the question "Is this taking me toward - or away from - where I want to go?"

I tell my students that every story, film or book - and life - has an introduction, details and a conclusion. And it is all summed up in the dominant impression.

Use your time carefully. Use every step to go the direction you want to go. This could easily be a year of unexpected opportunity. It is, after all, the year of the dragon.

As always, send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle).

Posted by mmorf at February 3, 2012 11:02 PM


Please tell Morf that the indefinite article for grown up is 'a' and not 'an' as in the following sentence: "After all, isn't that the definition of an grown-up? To make one's own decisions and directions?", part of the article, 'Do You Have A Dominant Impression?

Posted by: Lohrasb Amjadi at February 6, 2012 05:59 PM

Yes, you are correct. Thank you for the astute observation.

At least one reader has asked me if I deliberately make errors to see if anyone notices.


Posted by: Morf at February 7, 2012 11:16 AM

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