Friday, April 22, 2011

(A-Z Blog Challenge) S = Sentence Construction

Writers constantly need to check out their whole text, their chapters, their scenes, their paragraphs, their sentences and finally, their words (not in that order, of course).


For me, it's a veritable mine-field at sentence-level. We looked the other day at how to avoid sounding like a machine-gun tat-tat-tattering away using only short-sentences, and today I'd like to look at variety in sentence-construction (my own bug-bear).


Punctuation, of course, plays a huge part in the meaning of a sentence. Look at these three examples: 
1. I walked into the room and the plumber was there.
2. I walked into the room, and the plumber was there.
3. I walked into the room. And the plumber was there.
Which one makes you think, hello, hello, hello - what's going on here then?

We all know from grammar 101 that the most common sentence structure in English is: subject + verb + object
...unless you use the Passive Voice which, normally, should be avoided at all costs (because it's unwieldy and indirect).

All well and good. But that's not the only problem: I keep using the same sentence structure: "she went, he saw, they thought" - you get the message. What happens then is that I lose rhythm. So what are the variations in sentence structure?

Participles:
1. Sitting next to...
2. Without planning...
3. Discouraged by the long hours...
Or using these:
1. When he sat down...
2. By sheer coincidence...
3. What were the odds that...
4. Once inside the supermarket...
5. Though he didn't make much noise...
6. Guided by some...

If you have any more tips I'll be forever in your debt if you'd add them in the comments :) . 
Anyone having problems with grammar, don't forget the traditional rule (yuk)- book: Elements of Style

IN THE MEANTIME : HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!