The Art of the Sentence: Simple Sentences

It is important in your writing, as you grow and develop, that you be very wary of making sentences more complex than need be, like this one, because ultimately readers will not understand your writing, and you will find that you are putting most readers to sleep with your superfluous words and confusing sentence structure. Do you see what I did there? Let’s try that opening sentence again. A careful writer should write simple sentences. Whew, that’s better. These two sentences show the difference between simple sentences and needlessly complex sentences.

You may be wondering, “But what is a simple sentence?” As you know, a sentence usually contains a subject, verb, and object. A subject generally names a person, place, or thing. A verb identifies an action or a state of being. Finally, an object receives the action. A simple sentence allows a reader to easily identify each of these elements of the sentence. Here are some examples of simple sentences (see if you can pinpoint the subject, verb, and object in each one):

  • Eddie and Jean took the bus.
  • The bus arrived late.
  • Eddie and Jean walked into the courtroom fifteen minutes late.
  • The judge dismissed the case ten minutes later.

Why should you use simple sentences? Well, there are a host of reasons why you should use simple sentences. Simple sentences provide clarity. Simple sentences are easier to read. Simple sentences allow you to communicate important points.

Now you may be thinking, “Okay I get it. But too many simple sentences can become dull and boring, right?” You are right, and that brings us to compound and complex sentences. Alas, that is a topic for another post.

Next week on Grammar Monday, I will cover Compound and Complex sentences and when to use them. In addition, stay tuned for an upcoming webcast, “Let’s Nerd Out, Pt. 1: Simple, Complex, and Compound Sentences,” airing on Sunday, October 25th. Until then, go forth and simplify!

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