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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Website that identifies different sentence types

I am trying to find a website that I used a while ago that identified different sentence types. You paste the text into the text box and then through a selection of buttons on the right, you could ...
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2 answers
71 views

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 ...
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how to list questions in parenthetical examples

I am writing a professional document, and want to include three equally-weighted examples at the end of a sentence. Two of the examples are questions. What is the correct way/is there a way to ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
100 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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
170 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'...
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1 vote
2 answers
121 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,...
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1 vote
2 answers
59 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 ...
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1 answer
109 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 ...
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2 answers
73 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
70 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
105 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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
147 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 ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
115 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, ...
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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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
116 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 ...
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6 votes
2 answers
134 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? ...
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11 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
66 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 ...
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5 votes
2 answers
177 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 ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
71 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 ...
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0 votes
1 answer
94 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 ...
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-3 votes
2 answers
217 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
41 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, ...
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0 votes
2 answers
62 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 ...
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1 answer
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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 ...
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2 answers
48 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 ...
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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 ...
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81 votes
10 answers
20k 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. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
29 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 ...
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1 vote
3 answers
148 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.
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3 votes
2 answers
321 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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
182 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
93 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 ...
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0 votes
2 answers
52 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 ...
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0 votes
1 answer
71 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 ...
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3 votes
4 answers
522 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 ...
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3 votes
4 answers
171 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 ...
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4 votes
2 answers
120 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,...
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2 votes
2 answers
277 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
109 views

Using rhythm to evoke emotion

When writing there is one area I am not great at leveraging. That's rhythm or meter. I don't hear meter naturally like some people do so I have to really break down the meter in order to work on it. ...
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3 votes
3 answers
134 views

Increasing the flow in descriptions of a sequence of events

Thomas appeared behind Daniel and shook him by the neck, which brought him down to his knees. Thomas kicked him and then kicked away the gun that Daniel dropped making sure he wouldn't be able to ...
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2 votes
1 answer
59 views

How would I extend a line in poetry?

I'm writing a villanelle as a school project and one of my lines is too short. Can somebody give me tips on how to extend the line?
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4 votes
1 answer
168 views

When should you use extra long sentences, never?

I often see world-renowned thinkers and writers, such as Nietszche and Herman Melville, write extremely long sentences. When I was in high school, people said sentences should be as short as possible, ...
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6 votes
2 answers
364 views

Are run-on sentences always bad?

(TW, depression related stuff?) In my AP Lang class, we've recently started an activity called Visiting Author, where a student does a cold read of a piece they wrote and the others give criticism ...
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-1 votes
3 answers
180 views

Why don't writers add commas to lengthy sentences, to make them far more readable?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). p. 124.         Listen to the striking ...
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-3 votes
2 answers
148 views

Why don’t writers layer and number lengthy sentences?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). pp 55-56. Why don’t writers tier long ...
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0 votes
1 answer
73 views

A better sentence for a sequence of events [closed]

This is an extract from my personal 300 word writeup about a video. Can anyone suggest a smoother way to write my final paragraph? The first paragraph is just to add in more context but feel free to ...
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9 votes
4 answers
729 views

Sentence starters for summaries?

I'm writing a technical book (step-by-step sort of book) and noticed that all my summaries start with 'In this chapter we ...'. What would be some other sentence starters that I could use to make the ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
372 views

Is sentence in English with long subject bad?

I heard from someone that in English, sentences with a long subject are considered confusing and hard to read. Is it true? An example for such a sentence: ...(Some statements about how ...
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