Chapter 3 - Writing
a Sentence for the Web
Every English sentence
needs a subject (noun) and a predicate (conjugated verb). Most sentences
also have a direct object, prepositional phrase, adverb or adverbial phrase,
or predicate adjective or predicate nominative. Example: The police captured
the fugitive. Subject (Police) + Predicate (Captured) + Direct Object
Not Too Many Thoughts
Readers get confused
if they have to digest too much information in one sentence. Sentences
exist to break up thoughts into logical bits of information that we can
easily digest. Stop a sentence at the end of one main message with a period
and start a new thought with a capital letter.
Most professional writers
agree that the average sentence length of good writing does not exceed
30 words per sentence. Many writers believe that the ideal average is
25 words per sentence. Such a word count promotes sophisticated persuasive
writing that is easy to read but not too choppy. Note that we are talking
about averages. Some sentences in your document might have 50 words while
others might have 15 words. Varying the number of words in your sentences
makes your document more interesting for the reader and creates staying
To help the reader
from becoming bored, break your writing pattern by inverting the order
of your sentences. For example, you can write: After dinner, I ate a perfect
piece of strawberry pie. You can also write: I ate a perfect piece of
strawberry pie after dinner.
Each part of a series
of things in a sentence should appear in the same structure. You are not
using parallel construction if you write: Today I am going to eat pizza,
onion soup, and take a long hike across town. You are using parallel construction
if you write: Regular exercise will help you reduce your chances of getting
osteoporosis, improve your outlook on life, and make your clothes fit
better. You are also using parallel construction if you write: The elite
athlete runs not only with speed but also with grace.
Making a List
If you have a long-winded
sentence containing many complex qualifications, you can break it apart
by writing the sentence in the form of a list. Here is an example of a
Joe earned the MVP
1. training hard
5 days a week;
2. eating a healthy diet;
3. sleeping 9 hours every night;
4. trying his best at every game;
5. scoring the most assists and goals; and
6. attending the Ultradave Fitness and Skills Program.
Introduce the list
with a colon. After the colon, indent and number each item of the list.
Begin each item with a lower case letter and end each item with a semicolon.
Place and or or after the next-to-last item on the list. Make each part
of the list grammatically the same, and make sure that each item in the
list follows the rules of parallel construction. Wouldn't that sentence
be better as a list?
Go to Chapter 4 - The Powerful Verb ---
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