Sentence Structure

Several factors make up a good piece of writing. One of these is sentence structure – that is, how a sentence has been formed.  But first of all, what is a sentence?

A sentence is the basic grammatical unit of any written work. It is composed of words that make complete sense on their own. How we put these words together is what gives structure to a sentence. A good piece of writing is one that is made up of sentences that have variety in their structures. Variety is what brings life to good writing.

How do we bring variety? Simple – by giving different structures to sentences. There are two main types of sentence structures – the loose sentence and the periodic sentence.

A loose sentence is one in which the main point is in the beginning and the details follow. For example:

I’m going to Canada in December, even though it’s going to be very cold.

‘I’m going to Canada in December’ is the main point and is at the beginning of the sentence, ‘even though it’s going to be very cold’ is the detail and is following the main point.

Another example: The plane landed safely despite the bad weather.

‘The plane landed safely’ is the main point, followed by the detail ‘despite the bad weather’.

A periodic sentence is one in which the details are placed before the main statement. For example:

Even though it’s going to be very cold, I’m going to Canada in December.

Now the detail ‘even though it’s going to be very cold’ has been placed before the main point ‘I’m going to Canada’. The other example:

Despite the bad weather, the plane landed safely.

Again, the detail precedes the main point.

Sometimes a loose sentence and a periodic sentence are combined to form what is called a combination sentence. A combination sentence is one in which details come before, as well as after the main point. For example:

Even though it’s going to be very cold, I’m going to Canada in December, and I know I’m going to like it.

Despite the bad weather, the plane landed safely, making the passengers heave a sigh of relief.

The main points ‘I’m going to Canada in December’ and ‘the plane landed safely’ have details both before and after them.

So, to liven up your writing, bring variety to your sentences. In other words, write naturally – structuring your sentences in all the three forms – loose, periodic, and combination.

BUT: If you are giving a piece of information in just a sentence or two, the main point should preferably be in the beginning. Placing it in the end or in the middle, will only make your point unimportant.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the advice and the examples.

    Like

  2. Thank you, Cassandra.

    Like

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