7 Tips For Writing Great Sentences

7 Tips For Writing Great Sentences

Writers need to craft good sentences. In this post, we share seven tips for writing great sentences.

Sentences are groups of words that are complete in meaning. Grammar Monster says: ‘A sentence is a group of words giving a complete thought. A sentence must contain a subject and a verb (although one may be implied).’

Here are tips for writing them.

7 Tips For Writing Great Sentences

  1. Keep sentences brief. ‘You should write the shortest possible sentences using the shortest possible words, in the shortest possible paragraphs, not because people are dimwits or because they’re busy – they’re not that dim or that busy – but because force comes from the elimination of the inessential.’
  2. Vary your sentence patterns. No one wants to read paragraph after paragraph of fifteen to twenty word sentences. Mix it up.
  3. Wake the reader up. ‘Use questions, exclamations, asides, commands, interruptions, and inversions.’ For example, instead of saying, To begin with, Marley was dead. Say, Marley was dead, to begin with.
  4. Be brave and strong. Avoid the passive voice. Throw out the adjectives and adverbs. Make the nouns precise, the verbs forceful. Put statements in positive rather than negative form.
  5. Combine sentences. This often makes reading easier and smoother, especially when the sentences have a common subject. For example, when talking about the old library down the street: The library sits on the corner of Elm Street. It is an old stately building. The paint is peeling. Combined: The library on the corner of Elm Street is an old stately building in need of new paint.
  6. Don’t distract attention. ‘If you’re writing seriously, avoid devices and expressions that call attention to themselves.’ In other words, be careful not to be too clever.
  7. Don’t like what you wrote. Don’t love your words so much you can’t bear to part with them. As writers we must be ruthless; as pretty as our words might be, sometimes they have to go.

From  Pinckert’s Practical Grammar by Robert C. Princkert (Writer’s Digest Books) 1986

Source for Tips
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More posts on sentences:

  1. The 4 Types Of Sentences
  2. 6 Ways To Shorten Your Sentences And Improve Your Writing
  3. The Importance Of Varying Sentence Length
  4. What Is A Sentence Fragment?
  5. How To Structure A Sentence
  6. Sentences – Simple, Compound, Complex

If you enjoyed this post, read:

  1. All About Parts Of Speech
  2. Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?
  3. The Passive Voice Explained
  4. Three Nagging Grammar Questions Answered
  5. 30 Examples To Help You Master Concord

[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]

Posted on: 15th February 2013