Are Your Sentences Running Loose?

compound-sentences-7-728You’re probably sitting there wondering what in the world I am talking about. I know when I first read about loose sentences, I wondered what in the world the author was talking about. Well let me enlighten you. Loose sentences are sentences with the main concept at the beginning, followed by a string of related details.

For this blog, I am focusing on loose sentences that are composed of two clauses connected by a conjunctive or relative  (better known as the compound sentence). I use them all the time, and you probably do too. ( Yes, this is one.) There’s nothing wrong with a single sentence of this type every now and then. The problem is when you string a whole bunch of them together. A mistake many new writers make.

 ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ was performed at the downtown theater last evening, and a large audience was in attendance. The actors were right on cue, and the orchestra was spectacular. The props seemed to float through the air, as the scenes were set flawlessly. The play was a tremendous success, and I’m sure it will continue it’s run. The tickets are pretty expensive, but you won’t be disappointed.

There are probably a lot of things wrong with this example, but what I hope you focused on, was the string of loose sentences. They are trite, monotonous and annoying. I know this is an extreme example, but I wanted to make sure you understood what I was getting at.

Loose sentences are easy to correct. All you have to do is rearrange some of the sentences in the paragraph to take away the monotony.  Make them simple, short, single phrases, or drop the conjunction and add a semicolon.

It’s okay to have loose sentences, but be mindful of the frequency and placement of them.

Most of the information for this blog came from ‘The Elements of Style’ by Strunk and White. If you don’t have a copy of the book, I would highly recommend it. It is short and concise. They don’t waste a single word.

Something else to think about 🙂

-Jan R

Are Your Sentences Running Loose?

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