Writing Stylish Sentences - dummies

By Geraldine Woods

Part of 1,001 Grammar Practice Questions For Dummies Cheat Sheet

When it comes to writing stylish sentences, you have many choices. You can go vintage or opt for the latest thing to hit the runway as long as you don’t violate the rules of grammar. Here are some points to consider:

  • Voice: Active voice (Juliet spoke from her balcony) is generally stronger and better than passive (Romeo was spoken to by Juliet).

  • Parallelism: By the rules of grammar, everything performing the same function in a sentence or list must have the same grammatical identity (all nouns, all phrases, and so forth, as in writing, erasing, printing or to write, to erase, to print). Parallel elements have the same level of importance — a quality you can exploit when you want to emphasize equality.

  • Sentence length and pattern: Have you ever read a paragraph in which all the sentences are long and boring, following the same pattern (usually subject-verb-complement) without a single change? If you have, you probably hate those paragraphs. Everyone does! A small deviation (like the two-word sentence, everyone does) adds interest. To mix things up a bit, drop in some reverse-order sentences (Down the hall ran Bobby!), introductory verb forms (Running blindfolded, did Bobby hit a tree?), and other variations.