My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sentence Structure

Tips from Proofreading: Plain and Simple by Debra Hart May, with my own commentary:
  • "Compound sentences...contain two independent clauses, which could in fact be two separate sentences."
    • There are three different ways that you could use punctuation in compound sentences. The first is to connect the two clauses with a comma and a coordinate conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). For example: I can write about flowers, but I cannot write about constellations. A second method is to connect the two clauses, using a semicolon. Example: I can write about flowers; I cannot write about constellations. A third option is to use a transitional phrase or word, called a conjuctive adverb, after a semicolon and before a comma. Some common conjuctive adverbs are consequently, however, therefore, furthermore, then, thus, nevertheless, moreoever, indeed, in fact, of course, in addition, and in brief. For example: I can write about flowers; however, I cannot write about constellations. By learning these three rules, you can vary your writing and make an impressive-looking document.
  • "Complex sentences...contain more than one idea, or clause. But in a complex sentence, one of the two ideas can't stand alone. The addition of one word, a 'subordinating conjunction,' makes one clause 'dependent' on the other to complete the thought."
    • Subordinating conjunctions are the words although, after, because, before, as, if, since, until, when, whereas, while, who, which, and that. In order to punctuate a complex sentence correctly, you have to be aware of two different approaches. The first type starts with a subordinating conjunction, followed by the dependent clause, then a comma, then the independent clause. For example: Although I can write about flowers, I cannot write about constellations. A second method starts with the independent clause and does not use a comma between clauses. For example: I cannot write about constellations although I can write about flowers. With these two ideas under your belt, you can write effectively and smoothly.


  1. Rebecca, I am so glad to have found your blog. There is a plethora of material available online pertaining to writing and editing. It can be downright draining looking through it, though. This site is wonderful for cutting to the chase! I will be back to check on new posts. Thanks :-)

    1. Thank you for following! I will be posting a new post every day (unless some outside cirumstances interfere), so check in regularly for new tips!