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6 Thoughts About Writing Sentences

writing sentencesNPR has a review of  How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One that got me thinking about sentences and writing them:

  1. A collection of words doesn’t make a sentence. The words have to connect – see and try examples of this over at Creative Copy Challenge. Writing stories using the lists there and seeing how others write those lists of words into sentences will teach you a whole lot about writing.
  2. A sentence needs to communicate something to succeed.
  3. A sentence needs to be just as long as it needs to be, no longer. It’s so tempting sometimes to just let the words keep coming. There can be reasons for long sentences and some writers (think Buckminster Fuller) turned them into an art form of sorts but that’s more unusual than common.
  4. Annie Dillard was probably right when in The Writing Life she suggested that you must like sentences if you are to write well.
  5. Excellent sentences move the writer and the reader to some emotion or another.
  6. Truly great sentences may break the rules; lesser ones shouldn’t.

    How do you feel about sentences?


    Image created at wordle.net

    { 8 comments… add one }
    • A sentence in the active mode or voice is the ideal and desired clause. However, most sentences are compound ones, which can be understood by careful reading. Also, a concisely, well- written sentence conforms with both syntax and meaning. To this point, a sentence is like a tool that is used for a purpose!

      • Georges, sentences don’t have to be compound. Short, complete sentences can work very well.

        • Thank you for the response, Anne. Although they don’t have to be in compound mode, it’s a fact that many clauses are in the compound; for instance, Ann, a sentence in the active voice is, as you may know, direct and considered the ideal clause. In fact, conjonctions form many compound sentences, which many writers use. I agree with you concerning that short and concise sentences work in lieu of compound sentences, “as well”.

    • What a delightful post! Yes!
      helen recently posted..Jan 25- Self-publishing e-booksMy Profile

    • Sentences should not be a sentence of pain. 🙂
      Cathy Miller recently posted..Is Your Contact Information a SecretMy Profile

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