300 Days of Better Writing

May 14, 2010

Combine two sentences by using an introductory phrase or clause.


Let’s say you have two short sentences or one average-length sentence with a short sentence that provides additional information. To prevent your document from sounding too choppy or repetitive, you can combine the two sentences into one. One way to do this is to create an introductory clause or phrase from the additional information. Consider these sentences.

  1. “Our grant writing consultant expressed his belief that the proposal will be funded.”
  2. “He made this statement to the district superintendent.”

These two sentences are nearly the same: the person + speak + statement. This makes the two sentences sound repetitive. Sentence two provides some extra information about the main concept in sentence one. Using this tip, we can create an introductory phrase from sentence two. This gives us the following revision.

“While speaking to the district superintendent, our grant writing consultant expressed his belief that the proposal will be funded.”

With the extra information in an introductory phrase and not in the main sentence, the specific facts of the sentence are still clear. This is also a good way to vary sentence length, resulting in more engaging writing, without making your sentences difficult to understand.

(This is the tip for day 106 in 300 Days of Better Writing. Do you find these tips useful? Buy the entire book! Available as a PDF and for Kindle.)

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