Sentence Style “ Let us guess that whenever we read a sentence and like it, we unconsciously store it away in our model-chamber; and it goes, with the myriad of its fellows, to the building, brick by brick, of the eventual edifice which we call our style.” -- Mark Twain
A modifying—or descriptive—phrase must have a logical relationship to some specific words in the sentence.
When those words are omitted, the phrase “ dangles ” without anything to modify. Dangling modifiers frequently occur at the beginnings of sentences and often can be corrected by adding the proper subjects to the main clauses.
Misplaced Modifiers occur when modifying words, phrases, or clauses are not placed near the word they describe. This often results in confusion or unintentional humor.
Maintain consistent verb tenses. Consistent verb tenses clearly establish the time of the actions being described. When a passage begins in one tense and then shifts without warning and for no reason to another, readers are distracted and confused.
Incorrect : Big Joe saw the police car coming up behind, so he turns into the next alley.
Correct : Big Joe saw the police car coming up behind, so he turned into the next alley.
Mixed constructions is a catchall term that applies to a variety of sentence construction errors. Usually, the term refers to a sentence in which the writer begins with one kind of structure and then shifts to another in mid-sentence.
Untangle the grammatical structure
Straighten out the logical connections
Avoid is when , is where , and reason…is because constructions
Some sentences contain one main statement and one or more less emphasized elements; the less important ideas are subordinate to, or are dependent upon, the sentence’s main idea. Subordinating conjunctions introduce dependent clauses.
Without Subordination : Superman stopped changing his clothes. He realized the phone booth was made of glass.
With Subordination : When he realized the phone booth was made of glass, Superman stopped changing his clothes.
The only torture worse than listening to someone’s nails scraping across a blackboard is being forced to read a paragraph (or essay) full of identically constructed sentences.
Example (subject + predicate pattern):
Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Soccer exists in almost every country. Soccer players are sometimes more famous than movie stars. Soccer teams compete every few years for the World Soccer Cup. Soccer fans often riot if their team loses. Soccer is the only game in the world that makes people crazy.