Chapter 2

Sentence Structure

Good sentence structure is essential to good writing; it adds both clarity and interest. Poor sentence structure can befuddle or weary the audience, making the task of reading more unpleasant than informative.

One important way to enliven a piece of writing is to vary the length and structure of your sentences. Try reading aloud something you have written. Listen to the rhythm and flow of the sentences. Is there interest and variety? Or do you feel as though there is a kind of repetitive drone? If the latter is the case, you may be in a sentence structure rut! Try mixing things up a bit. Vary sentence length. Vary the way you combine ideas.

Some writers overuse long, convoluted sentences, obscuring their ideas behind complex syntax. Busy professionals simply do not want to reread sentences to try to figure out what the writer meant. On the other hand, if a piece of writing contains too many short, simple sentences in a row, the writing may sound choppy and unsophisticated, and the reader could lose interest.

A simple, punchy idea might be best expressed with a simple sentence structure. A more complicated idea may justify a longer, more complex sentence structure. A mixture of sentence types can make the act of reading your writing a more pleasurable and productive experience for your audience.