Does Every Sentence Make Sense?

To revise well, you need to be able to evaluate your sentences’ clarity and effectiveness. Just because you understand a sentence does not mean that others will.

  • Make sure each of your sentences contains at least one subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. If you have difficulty identifying your sentences’ subjects and verbs, it will make it more difficult to evaluate your sentences.
  • Review your sentences for prepositional phrases. If they’re “loaded” with them, that could weaken your sentences effect.

Example: In college, Jane studied math during the day after lunch with Judy.

The above example contains four prepositional phrases, each of which begins with a preposition:

  • in college
  • during the day
  • after lunch
  • with Judy

The example above could be improved by this rewrite: In college, Jane and Judy studied math after lunch.

For those grammatically inclined, “Jane” and “Judy” form a compound subject, “studied” is the verb, “math” is a direct object indicating what Jane and Judy studied, and “after lunch” and “In college” are prepositional phrases serving as adverbs that reveal when Jane and Judy studied math together.


One thought on “Does Every Sentence Make Sense?”

  1. Prepositional phrases might have been the lesson I loved the most in grammar. Everything a mouse could do to a cloud or something like that. (heh heh heh…bad grammar there, I know). I am rather fond of using incomplete sentences in my fiction writing. I don’t think I overdo it. I do think it can add a flavor to writing.


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