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
- 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.’
- Vary your sentence patterns. No one wants to read paragraph after paragraph of fifteen to twenty word sentences. Mix it up.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
More posts on sentences:
- The 4 Types Of Sentences
- 6 Ways To Shorten Your Sentences And Improve Your Writing
- The Importance Of Varying Sentence Length
- What Is A Sentence Fragment?
- How To Structure A Sentence
- Sentences – Simple, Compound, Complex
If you enjoyed this post, read:
- All About Parts Of Speech
- Punctuation For Beginners: What Is Punctuation?
- The Passive Voice Explained
- Three Nagging Grammar Questions Answered
- 30 Examples To Help You Master Concord
[Top Tip: If you need practical help with your grammar, buy The Complete Grammar Workbook.]