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Writing Effective Sentences

Technical Writing 3091

What is sentence?
A sentence is the most fundamental and versatile tool available to writers. Sentences generally flow from a subject to a verb to any object, complement or modifier but they can be ordered in a variety of ways to achieve emphasis. Word order can make a great difference in the meaning of sentence.

What is subject?
The subject of a sentence is noun or pronoun about which the predicate of the sentence makes a statement. Although a subject can appear at any place, but most often it is found at the beginning of a sentence. This department has several works to do.

The predicate is the part of a sentence that makes an assertion about the subject and completes the sense of the sentence. The simple predicate is the verb and the helping verb. The complete predicate is the verb and any modifiers, objects or complements.

Sentence types
Sentences may be classified according to: 1. Structure 2. Intention 3. Stylistic use

According to structure
It is sub-categorized into: 1. Simple 2. Compound 3. Compound-complex

According to structure
Simple: A simple sentence consists of one independent clause. At its most basic, it consists of one subject and one predicate. Compound: It consists of two or more independent clauses connected by a comma and a coordinating conjunction, by a semicolon and a conjunctive adverb. Compound complex: It consists of two or more independent clauses plus at least one dependent clause.

According to intention
Declarative: it conveys information or makes a factual statement. Interrogative: it asks a direct question Imperative: it issues a command Exclamatory: it is an emphatic expression of feeling, fact or opinion.

According to stylistic use

Loose: it makes it major point at the beginning and then add subordinate phrases and clauses that develop or modify that major point. Periodic: it delays its main idea till the end by presenting the subordinate ideas or modifiers first. Minor: it is an incomplete sentence that makes sense in the context because the missing element is clearly implied by the preceding sentence.

How to construct effective sentences?

Following points should be considered while constructing sentences: 1. Avoid stacked modifiers and Nouns 2. Wordiness 3. over loaded sentences 4. Agreement

Avoid stacked modifiers and Nouns

Avoid long strings of nouns and modifiers. These stacked modifiers create ambiguity. This ambiguity can be avoided by adding prepositions and conjunctions. For example: Ali the brother of CEO Hassan Noman will attend the meeting Ali (the brother of CEO), Hassan, Noman will attend the meeting.

A. Use of active voice B. Nominalization: Dont convert verbs into nouns C. Unnecessary repetition D. Unnecessary words and phrases: avoid two constructionsthere is/ there are

over loaded sentences

A. sentence Fragments: missing subject, verb or both but punctuated in such a way as if a complete sentence. Running the company in the most critical period successfully. B. Comma Splice (to join): to link two independent clauses with just a comma is called comma splice error C. fused Sentences: to combine two independent clauses without a comma or punctuation mark D. Stringy Sentences: avoid stringing several clauses

Agreement between subject and verb and pronoun and its antecedent is important for the coherence of the paragraph.

Some more important points

Choppy sentences: avoid too much small sentences Interrupted sentence structure: avoid placing modifiers between subject and verb especially in long sentences Incomplete comparisons: he is a better employer.

Inappropriate mood: avoid switching between mood in sentences. Dont use imperative and indicative mood in a single sentence. Choose right tense: adopt the right tense to indicate the right time of action Noun Modifiers: should be placed before or immediately after the noun to which they modify Adverb modifiers: adverb modifiers should be placed as close to the verb to which it modify as possible.

Requirements of a sentence
1. The sentence must start with a capital letter 2. The sentence must end with a period (full stop), a question mark or an exclamation point. 3. The sentence must have a subject. 4. The sentence must have a verb 5. A sentence must conform to subject-verb-object order 6. A sentence must express an idea that can stand on its own.