Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Source: Me and things found on the WWW.

When writing, it is important to put your sentences together correctly so as not to confuse readers and to avoid misunderstandings. What am I talking about? What do I mean? I’m glad you asked. Here is a good example of a sentence poorly constructed:

The team of archaeologists determined when the dogs were buried through ceramics and other items found in nearby pits under the apartment building in the populous Mexico City borough of Aztacapozalco, Sanchez Morales said.

Now, if you were not reading with your full attention, you might ask what I asked myself: Dogs were buried through ceramics?

I had to go back to the start of the sentence and read it again slowly. Then I understood what the writer meant. It would be better to move a part of the sentence around and use some commas to make the sentence more clear:

The team of archaeologists determined, through ceramics and other items found in nearby pits, which were under the apartment building in the populous Mexico City borough of Aztacapozalco, when the dogs were buried.

The first underlined clause tells the reader HOW the archaeologists determined when the dogs were buried. The second underlined clause tells the reader WHERE the pits were. Then the final part of the sentence: when the dogs were buried.

The actual sentence is: The team of archaeologists determined when the dogs were buried. The subject is “team“.  Then, “of archaeologistsdefines the team. The verb is “determined“. The object is “dogs“, but that is not complete. You see, archaeologists don’t need to “determine dogs“. I think scientists know what a dog is. What they determined was “when” the dogs were buried. 

The other parts of the sentence are not part of the sentence, actually. They are informational clauses telling 1) how it was determined, and 2) where the dogs were buried. A clause is not a complete sentence.

I initially understood the sentence to read “. . .the dogs were buried through ceramics and other items. . .”, which is not correct. That sentence structure makes it easy to misunderstand the sentence. It is awkwardly constructed.

So, by using the excellent example above, you can see the importance of properly constructing sentences that are clear and easy to understand.

The next time you write something, like a novel, short story, etc., carefully proofread your work and see if maybe there is an awkward, poorly constructed sentence that could mislead the reader.

I hope this little blog post helps you understand the importance of proper sentence structure.

Good luck with all your writing endeavors!

Advertisements