Stringy Sentences – Yikes
When you are writing anything, you will want to avoid having stringy sentences.
I often call them “wobbly sentences” because they tend to fall apart.
You want concise sentences most of the time. Of course, longer sentences are fine as long as they are properly constructed.
What to do if you start to go STRINGY!
Decide which details within your sentences are closely related.
You can combine details with conjunctions (because, although, whether, where, when, while …) or create dependent phrases or clauses.
Also, you can incorporate appositives.
Sometimes you will need to place details in separate sentences.
Let’s look at a few examples.
The students from Mardhill School visited the zoo, and it was in Toronto, and this is the largest zoo in Canada, and they travelled there by bus, and it took two hours to arrive at the zoo.
Correction using an appositive and separate sentences:
The students from Mardhill School visited the zoo in Toronto, the largest zoo in Canada. They took a two-hour bus ride to arrive at the zoo.
The boys were too excited, so they made a lot of mistakes, so the project was a complete failure in the end, so the teacher gave them a D.
Correction using a subordinating conjunction, a dependent clause, and a separate sentence.
Because the boys were too excited, they made a lot of mistakes on the project, making the project a complete failure. The teacher gave them a D.
Everyone came to the party, and they had a great time, and there was plenty of food including a giant cake, and the drinks were amazing, and most people had fun dancing.
Everyone came to the party and had a great time. There was plenty of food including a giant cake. The drinks were amazing, too. Most people had fun dancing.
When you are proofreading for stringy sentences, you can often improve your sentences and paragraphs by adding detail. Separating your points provides you the opportunity to add more “meat” to your descriptions. You can see how much more insight the reader receives with the second correction.
Correction 2 with additional detail
Everyone came to Adam’s birthday party and had a great time. There was plenty of food including roast beef, barbecue, and a variety of salads. There was even a giant cake in the shape of a Corvette! The drinks, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, were amazing, too. Most people had fun dancing to a mix of rock and modern music.
Above all, have fun writing. Don’t let the proofreading, editing, and technical details get you down. Each correction you make simply adds to the impact of your writing and the enjoyment of your audience – so it is all well worth it.
Do you know the difference between independent and dependent structures? What is a subordinating clause? Where would you use an appositive?
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Video – Stringy Sentences