In this post, we are going to learn how to write complete, concise and impactful sentences. If your sentences are structured in the right way, then your content will have meaning and purpose, your message will be clear and your readers will not be confused.
So what is a sentence? A sentence is a word or group of words that makes a complete thought.
Let us look at an example of a sentence:
Incorrect: To wear at the party.
That was an example of an incomplete sentence. The sentence does not define who or what.
So let us rewrite that sentence, fill in the details and make it complete.
Correct: Mark bought a shirt to wear at the party.
Now the sentence is clearer and complete.
Let us look at a few rules that will help us to write proper sentences.
Generally a sentence contains a subject, a verb and sometimes an object. The subject shows who or what is performing the action. The verb highlights the action. The object is what is being acted upon.
The baby (subject) is drinking (verb) milk (object).
Sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a period, question mark or exclamation point.
When will I get the book?
My dog was barking all night.
Sentences should not be fragmented.
Incorrect: As soon as the manager came. I hurried into his office.
The above is an example of fragmented sentences. To fix this problem, we can simply join both sentences to complete the thought.
Correct: As soon as the manager came, I hurried into the office.
Avoid run-on sentences.
A run-on sentence is where two complete sentences are joined with a comma.
We are going to the library, Johnnie said he will be there.
In the example, the writer had joined two complete sentences with a comma and this should be avoided. To fix this issue, we can write it as two separate sentences.
We are going to the library. Johnnie said he will be there.
So, to fix run-on sentences, we can do one of two things:
- We can use a period or semicolon to separate the sentences:
Incorrect: Jane loves driving expensive cars she is very rich.
Correct: Jane loves driving expensive cars; she is very rich.
- We can use a conjunction to join the sentences:
Incorrect: The police went to the scene the bandits escaped.
Correct: The police went to the scene, but the bandits escaped.
Avoid unnecessary phrases.
- Due to the fact that rain did not fall for the past six months, we are being urged to conserve water.
- For the purpose of strengthening this team we would like to appoint a new leader.
- For all intents and purposes this meeting should be adjourned.
- In my opinion the plan is not working as it should.
In the above examples, the phrases in italics are not necessary and they make the sentences too wordy. So let us rewrite these sentences and make them concise and direct.
- Because rain did not fall for the past six months, we are being urged to conserve water.
- We would like to appoint a new leader to strengthen this team.
- This meeting should be adjourned.
- The plan is not working as it should.
If you would like to learn more about sentence construction and improve your writing skills, I encourage you to get a copy of Common Errors In Writing. This comprehensive resource, guides the reader step by step into writing better content. It teaches grammar, punctuation and much more. Filled with practice exercises and an answer key, the reader is sure to benefit in every way.