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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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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
22 votes
9 answers
5k views

How can I improve my sentence construction or flow in general writing?

Can anyone suggest resources or techniques I can use to improve my sentence construction when writing? I am a native English speaker and fairly well educated, but confess I didn't pay much attention ...
Will Appleby'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
10 votes
4 answers
5k views

What's the effect of placing "of course" at the beginning or at the end of the sentence?

Example from my writing: Not everything was rainbow and roses, of course. Sometimes rain would fall on my head or a thorn prickle my finger. Of course, not everything was rainbow and roses. ...
alex's user avatar
  • 1,143
10 votes
10 answers
5k views

Very long sentences: personal style or just bad writing?

I'm writing a story targeted towards children in which the protagonist is a young girl. I find that in writing her dialog and the narrative, I'm producing a lot of very long sentences, to the point ...
brianmearns's user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
922 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 ...
Iris Classon'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
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
6 votes
3 answers
245 views

Which authors' style would be more appropriate for me to write in? [closed]

When I study the style of Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Carver, and other authors, I find that they use very simple language and simple words. But when I look at present day authors, such as Stephenie ...
kakoo bacha's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
271 views

How to construct quality long sentences?

I want to construct long sentences, for fiction. I do use subordinate conjunctions and coordinate conjunctions, and I also understand different kind of phrases, and grammatical rules. But I still ...
karthik's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

How do you use adverbs properly in fiction writing?

How do you use adverbs properly in fiction writing? In a related question, a reply states: When to use [adverbs]? When your alternative would be pretentious. There are strong nouns and verbs, that ...
elika kohen's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
431 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 ...
user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
159 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
5 votes
1 answer
220 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
  • 1,542
5 votes
2 answers
185 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
5 votes
2 answers
935 views

Parentheses in scientific writing

I occasionally use parentheses in scientific writing when a piece of information is related to a previous statement but not to the central story. Is it bad style in scientific writing to use ...
Bananach's user avatar
  • 193
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do I make a concluding sentence flow from the previous sentence?

This question was flagged as being similar to another question of mine, so I have to clarify that this question pertains to how I should introduce the concluding sentence, whereas the other one ...
user3776022's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
148 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. ...
Summer's user avatar
  • 4,461
4 votes
4 answers
957 views

Is it good to add 'I believe' at the beginning of the sentence?

I believe that people should eat apples. or, People should eat apples. Which one is best, or when to use which? Is it good to say 'I believe' or 'We believe' in public speaking or public ...
AMahdy's user avatar
  • 43
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
4 votes
2 answers
124 views

Repetitive sentences

How do I start off sentences without them being too repetitive and boring? I have a problem of starting a sentence with something like "The person" and end up using "The person" in the next one again.
cthulong's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
31k views

How to "Show" and not "Tell" for nervousness?

I was told to ask this question here. There’s a saying in writing to “show; don’t tell”. For example, instead of naming the emotion, “She was angry”, you would show the emotions happening by saying, “...
iiRosie1's user avatar
  • 955
3 votes
3 answers
223 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
3 votes
4 answers
231 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
3 votes
2 answers
349 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
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
3 votes
2 answers
4k views

Alternatives to starting a sentence with well [closed]

I'm new to narrative writing and especially have trouble with dialogue. I too often am using the word well to start a character's sentence after receiving some information to then ask a question about ...
Tessa Painter's user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
907 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
1 answer
954 views

Should I use colons and semicolons to summarize information?

I'm writing a paper that goes something like this: To quickly summarize MIT is located in Massachusetts FIU is in Florida, The tuition cost for MIT is 45 thousand versus 6 thousand for 30 credits ...
Paul's user avatar
  • 31
3 votes
1 answer
189 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, ...
puffofsmoke's user avatar
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
2 votes
3 answers
142 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 ...
puffofsmoke's user avatar
2 votes
6 answers
182 views

How to decide which sentence structure is correct?

I'm trying to describe an action (a gust of wind blows) and its result (the flame is doused) and its subsequent effect (the room is plunged into darkness). However, I'm facing some issues with how to ...
user96551's user avatar
  • 1,164
2 votes
2 answers
228 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
2 votes
3 answers
190 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
  • 1,006
2 votes
1 answer
267 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
2 votes
2 answers
381 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
2 votes
1 answer
105 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?
Aaron's user avatar
  • 21
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
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
1 vote
5 answers
487 views

Is the following sentence structure allowed in fiction?

I'm not very sure why, but the following sentence structure came out from my mind: Disclaimer: this is a first draft. The realization just came to her now. Or perhaps, she knew it all along; it ...
wyc's user avatar
  • 12.4k
1 vote
4 answers
2k views

Is it necessary to use words like "said", "asked," etc in dialog?

I am writing a novel. I'm not sure if the below sentence structure is correct. I have not used any word like said/replied/asked. He was looking at the painting. “You do not have to believe me. I will ...
Abhishek dot py's user avatar
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
1 answer
161 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
1 vote
2 answers
97 views

Is my usage of this word correct? [closed]

'The ambit of his patience" I'm not sure if I've used the word ambit correctly here. Could someone tell me what context it can be used in / examples to go with?
seo's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
3 answers
169 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
1 vote
1 answer
133 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
  • 1,542
1 vote
1 answer
137 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
1 vote
2 answers
145 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
1 vote
2 answers
108 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