SENTENCES AND PHRASES

The first step to develop your writing style is to focus on sentences and phrases. The more you practice with different sentences and phrases, the more you improve and enhance your writing style.

Let us again understand the grammatical terminologies of a sentence. A sentence can be briefly defined as a group of words that consists of a subject (i.e., someone or something that does an action) and a verb (the action). The least group of words is called a clause. Some sentences may also contain an object (the thing or person acted upon).

The report recommended changes.
Subject Verb Object

If the word group has no subject or no verb, but its still makes some basic sense, then it is a phrase. It is a fragment and not a complete sentence, and is often used to create colorful and imagistic effects. These can be used in creative writing, but try to avoid using them in formal or specialist styles.

 

Phrase: While crossing the river.

Sentence: While crossing the river, he slipped on the wet stepping stones.

Make sure you consider the following qualities while writing complete sentences:

1. A verb that shows time: Include something that happens or is described in the past, present, or future. If the group of words has no verb, then it is a fragment. Even if it contains a verb but no tense, it fails to qualify as a complete sentence. Remember, gerunds (-ing) and infinitives (-to do) are not tensed verbs and can be used as nouns or participles.

Fragment: The committee considering the proposal.

Sentence: The committee considered the proposal.

Sentence: The committee considers the proposal.

Sentence: The committee will consider the proposal.

2. The absence of a subordinating word: Your group of words fails to be a complete sentence if any one of the following words or phrases is placed in front of it:

after if until
although in case when
as provided that whenever
as if since whereas
as though so that whether
because that which
before unless while

Consider the following example:

While common law has long implied that there is a requirement for mutual respect and fair dealings in the employment relationship.

 

The while at the beginning of the sentence implies that there is a second part to this sentence, which contrasts with the information given in the first. Without this second part, the sentence is not complete. To correct this problem, either put a comma after relationship and add another clause, or take away while.


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