Writing a Better Sentence
how to sound like a pro
It may seem obvious, but sentences convey information.
If you leave this post learning anything, make this statement a priority. Sentences give us the information you are looking for. Clicking on this post, for example, would lead you to believe that inside was a guide to writing sentences. And you’d be correct.
There are different ways for a sentence to be effective, however. Not all sentences are created equal. Some are short. Some are so long that they almost border tiresome to read--I’m talking about those sorts of sentences that drone on and on about several points at once and contain needlessly superfluous language (preposterous!), all in an effort to try to exude a disgusting air of self-righteousness; these sentences are OK sparingly, but really start to get old the more you use them.
So vary your sentence length!
Is it useful to turn your sentences into a question? Of course. But must you always answer your own question?
Many people have it in their heads that using big or complex words makes you smart. Let’s refer to our golden rule: sentences convey information. What good is information if your sentence reads more like a thesaurus vomited some inchoate syntaxical nightmare onto the page? What good is information if no one understands you? Reading good sentences isn’t just for those who know every word in the dictionary.
--Which brings us to our next point: know your audience.
Unless you are writing in a diary, other people are likely to read your sentences. Great! But if you’re discussing the effect of boat motors on bear auditory perception during hibernation and your target audience is hyperactive kindergarteners who can’t even say the word bear, it may be advantageous to simplify your diction.
It is important to experiment with how a sentence is told.
If you want your sentences to sing, let them. Mix up the real and the fantasy of language; call the apple purple. Once you really know what you’re doing, some of these steadfast rules that feel unbreakable are, in fact, breakable. Don’t play it safe, at least not for every sentence. Once in awhile, be wild.
One of the best ways to write a sentence is to read them more often (which you’ve already started to do right here).
There are many before you who have struggled exactly as you have with fashioning perfect sentences, and a lot of the time it’s trial and error. The more you expose yourself to these different masters and their styles, the more you will find your sentences being what you’ve always wanted them to be: great.
Now go and write a sentence (or two)!