I recently covered, The Four Types of Sentences and Their Purpose. Today I’d like to cover a few more areas of structure; varying the beginning of sentences and faulty coordination.
To keep your writing from becoming stale or monotonous, you want to vary how you begin a sentence. Sentences don’t always need to begin with the subject.
Adverb: Probably the most well known horse to live was Black Beauty.
Adjective: Black as night, Black Beauty stole the hearts of millions.
Prepositional Phrase: In the early years, Black Beauty pulled cabs through the streets of London.
Infinitive Phrase: To follow the writer’s story is very sad.
Participial Phrase: Hoping to reach horse lovers who worked with horses, the story soon became a children’s favorite.
Adverb Clause: If the book had been published five months later, the author never would have known fame, due to her death at age 58.
Did you realize words have coordination? One of the biggest mishaps in writing is using the wrong coordinator. Faulty coordination causes the meaning of a sentence to become blurred or obscured.
Faulty: It began to rain, so the race continued.
Correct: It began to rain, but the race continued.
The first sentence suggests the race continued because it began to rain, instead of the race continuing in spite of the rain. This is why it’s important to pay close attention to coordination in your sentence structure.
Common Coordinators and Their Usage:
To show similarity: and, both/and, furthermore.
To show contrast: but, still, nevertheless.
To show alternative: either/or, neither/nor, or, nor.
To show result: therefore, as a result.
Another way to avoid faulty coordination is to only coordinate related ideas. Trying to coordinate unrelated ideas in one sentence is sloppy. It’s better to use separate sentences.
Faulty Coordination: Rain is essential to help flowers grow and I love the smell of rain.
Correct: Rain is essential to help flowers grow. I love the smell of rain.
Ideas must be equally important to coordinate properly. If one idea is less important than the other, it should be put in a phrase or a subordinated clause.
Faulty coordination: Gail forgot about the meeting, and she did not attend.
Correct (Phrase): Forgetting the meeting, Gail did not attend.
Correct (Subordinate clause): Since Gail forgot the meeting, she did not attend.
You can also run into problems with faulty subordination, rambling sentences and faulty parallelism. Check back next week for tips and examples of those.