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Questions tagged [sentence-structure]

This tag should be used for questions about structuring your sentences in certain genres or for certain characters in your writing.

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Drafts and Sentence Complexity

Some writing has complex sentence structure. Many times, this is because its authors derived it from drafts that had complex sentence structure already. But I read that writers can combine simpler ...
garbia's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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A Question on 'Topical Progression': How to Address Internal Inconsistencies in the Framework

(This question has been moved from English Language Stack Exchange on account of relevancy.) In my mission to improve my writing, I have come across a concept called 'topical progression' (discussed ...
MJ Ada's user avatar
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-1 votes
3 answers
60 views

Spacing around (and types of) dashes in American English

I'm not a native English speaker, and the way American English texts typically use em-dashes without spaces to separate sentence parts seems very strange and even disruptive for me. For example: &...
gaspar's user avatar
  • 99
1 vote
3 answers
164 views

How do I make my writing flow?

I'm in the skeleton stage, but to get into the rhythm of writing, I write short stories every few days. Upon reviewing them, I've realised that unless I am specifically aiming for abstract and vivid ...
BubbleQueen's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
262 views

How to rephrase and simplify a title? Need help with sentence structure

I have the following title: Why drinking from a glass bottle is better than drinking from a glass cup at work? I meant to say that there are lots of benefits to drinking from a glass bottle such ...
code_legend's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

How should I designate a break in a sentence to display a code segment?

I'm writing some documents with embedded code listings. I reference such listings many times using something to the effect of, "...we provide an example as follows", with the block of code ...
TheProgrammer's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
153 views

Burying the important part of a sentence

Was watching Babylon 5 and am used to excellent writing with Harlan Ellison. There was this sentence in Season 5 Humor is a universal element…like helium. This seemed to lack impact, especially as ...
Thom's user avatar
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1 answer
56 views

When using short sentences to emphasize important points, do you need to be consistent at all times?

I was told that short sentences can be used to emphasize important points while longer sentences an be used to provide context and support, but if you decide to do so, should you stay consistent or is ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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1 answer
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"morally dialectical" is this phrase usable?

I'm wondering if this phrase can be used to characterize two characters, one who is morally good and one who is bad. Specifically I am trying to say that "I want to examine character A and ...
platypus222's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
214 views

Must every sentence be 25 words or less?

Many books that are read today frequently use long sentences, far surpassing the 25 word limit. There is pleasure in reading such sentences, and there is pleasure in comprehending them. But oftentimes ...
garbia's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
71 views

Writing better result sections in scientific articles, non-native English writer

I'm currently doing my master thesis in Ecology and now writing my result section. I'm a non-native English writer and I would like to ask for some help structuring my sentences and how to become a ...
asellus's user avatar
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2 answers
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Wasn’t letting or Hadn’t let? [closed]

Which one works more in this paragraph? “Ruby was thinking hard, too hard for her own sake. She wanted to talk with him but it seemed like she wasn't able to. She wanted to caress his hand, to show ...
leo's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
114 views

Semicolon and period in software instructions

I'm writing a software manual and I worry about my semicolon usage. I believe I'm using them correctly, but it's not that I have to. My project is a software manual. People scan for the information ...
Pierce Devol's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
218 views

Is it good to write long sentences with "and" like Hemingway?

When you read Hemingway, for example, the first thing you notice is that he uses the conjunction and a lot, and he is fond of long sentences! If I didn't know it's Hemingway, I would probably think it'...
BM of Spadana's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
132 views

I don't fully understand sentence unity

First, let me clarify that I do not intend right now to write in Early Modern English, although I tend to use some words uncommon in ordinary prose, such as "whereof", etc. However, being ...
garbia's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
136 views

Is using non-sentences bad writing?

Consider the following extract of text (content not important, only sentence structure): When the jump is made, from seeing a subject as vocational, to worthy of study for the sake of knowledge alone,...
JP McCarthy's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
100 views

Is it a bad habit to omit conjunctions in poetry?

When writing a verse for a song a lot of times I find it easier to sing if I leave out function words (demonstratives/conjunctions). Is this a bad habit? It seems to cause lack of clarity but I see ...
Cool Guy's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
118 views

Why do I lose focus and direction in my songwriting?

Today while writing my song, every line seemed to fight me. It seemed to wander without direction. I don't always have this problem but would like to figure how to avoid writing songs that wind up ...
Cool Guy's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
90 views

Comma after colon, or just use hyphens instead?

Please read the following sentence: My interest in learning and thirst to seek out information whenever I can: my curiosity, is what I would consider my greatest talent. In this situation, is the ...
Mave's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
1k views

"still could" vs "could still"

I am reading a novel and a sentence kind of popped out at me, so of course, the first thing I thought of was to come here and ask... What I would say out loud, and most likely write, if I were writing ...
CGCampbell's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
134 views

Action between dialogue

I've noticed I've been putting lots of action between someone's dialogue and have many inconsistencies and wanted to know if there was a difference between different ways of punctuating it or if it ...
Unknown Brain's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
189 views

What to do when a sentence is too confusing

I’m struggling to clearly yet briefly explain what’s going on. I’m fairly sure this sentence is grammatically correct, but it still sounds clunky and confusing. For context, my POV character sits down ...
Grace's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
218 views

How to keep all my sentences from having the same structure?

Been reading through my writing and I noticed that 90% of my sentences follow the same basic structure of [phraseA], [phraseB]. The few exceptions I could find were very short sentences I put there ...
Ceramicmrno0b's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
123 views

How to remove filter words from dialogue actions in first POV

While editing my story's first draft, I read a blog about filtering words. When it came to editing, I realised it's not that easy to remove those words when you are editing an action after a dialogue, ...
Momobear's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Starting Sentences [duplicate]

I have been working on a book on an online website lately and while I was looking through my previous chapters I find myself starting sentences repeatedly with the character's pronoun or name. I want ...
Something Wrong 1223's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
140 views

Hyphen, Comma or Brackets? What should I use?

Which would be the proper style for a scientific publication: It is required that a, b, and, depending on a and b, c is given. It is required that a, b, and - depending on a and b - c is given. It ...
Funkwecker's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
158 views

Why does variety in sentence length and structure feel engaging?

An obvious answer might be "because people like variety", but this doesn't feel right. If this was the case, why doesn't using a different font family (or color) for each word feel engaging? ...
Emanuil Rusev's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
7k views

How long should each paragraph be in fiction writing?

In high school and even college most students are told to aim for around 5-6 sentences per paragraph. I am now trying to write fiction, fantasy specifically, but am hitting a wall when it comes to ...
Duffy's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
1 answer
74 views

Ways to write a biographical introduction without using "___ was an..."

I'm writing a short biography on a relatively obscure ancient Greek figure. Since so little is known about this individual's life, I'm finding a dearth of information to support the 2-3 pages I'm ...
10GeV's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes
2 answers
184 views

Is there a rule against chopped sentences?

I'm beta reading a book with a lot of chopped sentences. I understand that this writer would like to make their sentences short and punchy. But it is disturbing when sentences are either lacking in a ...
user191110's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
74 views

What level of diction is best for optimal eloquence? [closed]

Many of the books I've read, being written in modern times, make use of language which is neither highly complex nor very simple, having sentences of fairly short length, making it easy for the reader ...
garbia's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
147 views

What Are Some Practical Ways to Write a Sequence of Actions?

I am writing a scene where a character is performing a series of actions but for some reason the sentence flow isn't quite working for me. The problem is over-reliance on "Then". This is a ...
Perry_M's user avatar
  • 155
-3 votes
2 answers
1k views

Looking For a Simile For Something That Follows You Around [closed]

I'm writing a blog post about the impacts of an autoimmune disease. The sentence I'm trying to construct looks like this: "The disease importunately follows me around like a god damn..." I'm ...
Talbert1209's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
136 views

Topic Sentence in a two-sided essay

I am writing a two-sided essay, and my teacher told me to underline the topic sentence in every paragraph. But I have a problem. First, take a look at the essay structure: [1] Hook, small context, ...
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
143 views

Hyphen or no-hyphen for adjective phrase for impact/emphasis/clarity?

Here are two alternatives, one with a hyphen of previously-obscured one without as previously obscured: As our global society becomes evermore connected, we become increasingly aware of the ...
WilliamKF's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
70 views

mentioning time span in a thesis (from 2019 to 2020)

I would like to know if there is a need for the word "year" in this part of the sentence: "..., that took place from the 2019 to 2020,...". Should it be: "..., that took ...
tma's user avatar
  • 3
0 votes
2 answers
50 views

Does this sentence make sense grammatically? Is there anything I can do to improve it? [closed]

"The meticulously placed masses of skin under her eyes were captured involuntarily by the customary light fixtures of the hospital ward, sufficiently polluted with the indistinct clamour of her ...
stephanie 's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Starting a sentence with well. Does my sentence need to be changed?

I had a colleague today point out that the use of well in the following sentence is a typo. I think it makes sense but now I'm second guessing myself. Is this correct? If not, what would be a better ...
Blizzardengle's user avatar
84 votes
10 answers
30k views

Should an emoji come before or after a full-stop? 🤔

When I make a hilarious joke on social media it's easy to put an emoji/emoticon/smiley on the end. 😀 But sometimes I want to set the context and make a more reasoned argument over a paragraph or so. ...
Mat's user avatar
  • 819
0 votes
1 answer
31 views

Which sentence is grammatically correct? [closed]

Question.. Which sentence is grammatically correct below? It forces me to confront my issues as there are no visible clutter that is distracting me. or It forces me to confront my issues as there ...
user44007's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
185 views

Book on sentence structure/variety

Is there a good book on sentence structure and variety? My goal is to improve the way my sentences flow on the page and to improve the reader experience.
SentenceVariety2020's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
344 views

Sentence Variety

Writers always talk about the importance of sentence variety in writing, but they never say which sentence type one should use for a specific scenario. So when do I use simple, complex, compound, and ...
austingae's user avatar
  • 201
3 votes
3 answers
222 views

How do you write long, nonconvoluted sentences?

Sometimes, when I show others a long sentence I have written, I am told it is convoluted due to the chaining of dependent clauses. Is there a way to keep tacking on modifiers and dependent clauses to ...
garbia's user avatar
  • 1,542
2 votes
1 answer
96 views

Subtle Difference in Sentence Structure [closed]

"P-P-Potter," stammered Professor Quirrel. He grasped Harry's hand. V.S. "P-P-Potter," stammered Professor Quirrel, grasping Harry's hand. In the first sentence, it feels as though Professor ...
austingae's user avatar
  • 201
0 votes
2 answers
64 views

How to state multiple instances of evidence?

A would always lie about B. He told everybody he was weak. Furthermore he told all the adults how he enjoyed travelling, even though he did not. Furthermore he told people how much he enjoyed good ...
Borut Flis's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
76 views

How do I rephrase this overly long descriptive sentence? [closed]

I'm trying to describe the landscape of a dystopian city but I'm getting tripped up. "The city is rather a hellish sight: the endless, monotonous rows of buildings are lit up by industrial ...
etchoc's user avatar
  • 3
3 votes
4 answers
875 views

How can I shorten a piece of writing without losing its original essence?

I need to know how to make my writing more brief without maring its original meaning and message. I have been struggling with that for a while, and still cannot do that. It simply seems to me that you ...
Stacy's user avatar
  • 91
3 votes
4 answers
173 views

How do you write short-short nonfiction?

I need to write an opinion, narrative of only 80 words in length. Examples: write about your fondest childhood memory/comment: homework should be banned, etc. How are short-short pieces like this ...
Stacy's user avatar
  • 91
4 votes
2 answers
125 views

Why is the construct "'hello' says Pete" most common?

I am asking this from the point of a reader not a writer and just wondering why, so sorry if this is a bad place. I read loads of books to my kids and the construct always seems to go: "What a day,...
WendyG's user avatar
  • 141
2 votes
2 answers
375 views

Sentence structure alternatives

Could you suggest a style guide or an exercise book that could teach how one sentence can be written in alternative ways, or how to rephrase a sentence in various structures, especially sentences ...
lookatmenow's user avatar