A sentence is essentially a grouping of words arranged together in a meaningful manner. It typically expresses an idea, proposition, question, request, promise, or suggestion. When speaking and writing, use short sentences most often in every day life.
This is because it allows the writer to stay on topic, keep the language simple, and keep from boring the reader. Sentences that run over an essay of text can become very long and boring.
When writing a sentence, make sure the main clause of the sentence makes sense. The clause can be added later, if necessary. But the main idea must be clear at the beginning. For example:
John and Jane were watching a television program when the phone rang. The first sentence above has the main ideas of John and Jane, but it could be changed to read: “The phone rang but no one answered the phone.” In this example, the conjunction “the” can be omitted without changing the meaning of the sentence. In this example, the conjunction “although” makes it obvious that the events happened while “they” or “he” were talking.
When combining two clauses together, the conjunction can be repeated between the two clauses as needed. For example: “John was talking on the phone when she called you.”
Commas should be used only when they make the meaning of the sentence clear. When adding a coordinating conjunction, however, you should avoid using commas in the middle of a sentence. That’s because it could leave the reader wondering whether the two ideas in the two clauses are true. “You were talking on your own sheet of paper, when she called you.”
Like all other punctuation, single and double commas are acceptable when writing a sentence in which the subject is referred to by a verb (such as “I ate an apple”) or when it refers to one of the main ideas in the sentence (such as “The dog eats” or “A man loves his dog”).
However, they’re not allowed when inferring from a verb or a topic mentioned in the sentence. “A man loves his dog” is a sentence with a subject and a verb, and “you love your dog” is not. Thus, you shouldn’t use single and double commas in these examples. (But don’t worry; other kinds of punctuation are fine.)
Indirections are very common in most written material. For example, the following sentence is grammatically correct: “You walked into the store last night, but the man behind the counter told you that the prices are up.” The sentence uses a conjunction (store), a subject (walk), a verb (fine), and a tense (last). Thus, it’s an independent clause. Independent clauses are those that stand by themselves without being dependent on anything else in the sentence.
When writing a sentence with dependent clauses, be sure to use commas between them, and then follow this with a coordinating independent clause, such as “You walked into the store last night, but the man behind the counter told you that the prices are up.”
This shows that the information provided is true. However, it also shows that the store owner prefers you to walk there instead. If he tells you that it is closed on your own sheet of paper, it doesn’t make sense. He doesn’t need to say it on your paper – he can say it on his computer if you ask him.
Commas are important in the construction of conditional statements. For example, “It is raining cats today.” As the sentence implies that it is raining cats, so it’s assumed that cats are present in the future.
The colon is used to delimit the dependent clauses from the main body of the sentence. Using commas separates the subject from the main verb. The last sentence in the example above shows that using commas in the dependent clauses of the sentence creates the strong imperative.
Grammar Tips – When Writing a Sentence, Drop a Verb Or Preposition
When I was younger, I used to struggle when writing a sentence. My English wasn’t that good and although I could come up with an adequate sentence at times, when I was pressed for time, I would usually go with a poor quality sentence. I would use the words “although” and “while” and “itself” in order to fill the blank spaces. Even though the sentence might make sense, it lacked coherence and really didn’t make me think. To me, this is where my problem started.
While this example is extreme, I am sure there are many others where you might have been tempted to use although but decided against it. One of my favorite sayings is “While he had it, he didn’t have so much.” This is saying that he had it initially but didn’t have so much as after a while. Although this sounds like a contradiction in terms, it actually makes sense in the context of the proverb.
Using a conjunction when the verb is also a whole verb can be tricky. For example, “While he had it, he didn’t have so much.” Here, although he had it initially, he did not have so much as after a while.
One of the biggest tips I give to students when writing a sentence is to use conjunction often. In our example above, we had the pronoun “he,” the verb “was” and the conjunction “when.” Although these three items are required in every sentence, don’t overdo it with the use of these items. It can sound unnatural and even grammatically incorrect.
Although most languages don’t have a word for the idea of while, many English teachers insist on using the idea of “a while.” The problem with this strategy is that it makes the sentence sound very flat. When I teach, I always tell my students to use a conjunction and a preposition. This ensures that the meaning of the sentence is clear from the beginning and the meaning of the conjunction and preposition are consistent throughout the sentence.
When writing a sentence where there are a conjunction and a preposition, always make sense out of the relationship. For example, “While he had it, he did not have so much.” Here, although he had it initially, he didn’t have so much because he did not have it when he had it.
If you find the verb to be unnecessary, drop it; for example, “While he had it, he did not have so much.” In the first sentence, the verb to is redundant because it does not need to be in the clause “he did not have so much.” The preposition “while” does not change the meaning of the sentence because it still fails to connect the subject (the verb) to the object (the noun). This type of grammar is called nominalization where the verb is used as a linking verb and the subject is still grammatically incorrect.
When writing a sentence where there are a conjunction and a preposition, always remember that you can drop one or both of the elements if needed. “While he had it, he did not have so much.” Here, although he had it initially, he did not have so much because he did not have it when he had it. Remember that the goal is to emphasize the action or result, not the fact that the action occurred in the middle of a sentence. Using the above tips will help you not only remember the order of your verbs but will help you when you’re writing an essay, paper, or other written work.