II. Writing Effective Sentences

Effective sentences need to be concise, fluent, emphatic. To write good sentences takes careful study and good, regular practice. You can study the guides in such textbooks as Writing for College and Technical English in the CAT electronic library or on-line books such as Elements of Style. This section will provide some guides that can help you avoid the most common problems candidates have in writing sentences. The list is basic and selective.

It is expected that you can write Standard American English. If you need to review rules about grammar, punctuation, spelling, or sentence structure, you are asked to consult a college composition handbook. In fact, it is recommended that all candidates have a composition handbook on their desks for reference at all times.

Following are some guidelines for writing effective sentences.

1. Conciseness in Sentences

When you write your first drafts of documents, undoubtedly you will write sentences that need to be pruned. Here are some strategies for writing sentences that are concise. It is important to note that concise sentences can be filled with sophisticated material. They can be packed with content, but they do not contain unnecessary words.

2. Fluency in Sentences

Fluent sentences use a variety of patterns. In using different word orders and sentence lengths, fluent sentences make clear connections between major and minor points. Good writers write sentences that have fluidity and connectedness, while inexperienced writers tend to use choppy, repetitious, short sentences.

When you write technical documents, you will discover that generally, you will write shorter sentences than those you write in essays. Yet, the sentences you do write in technical documents ought to have some variety in length and word order. These variations will make ideas clear and emphatic.

Here are some guides for writing fluid sentences.

3. Emphasis in Sentences

Good writers make arrange words and phrases in sentences to emphasize key points. They foreground main ideas and background subordinate ideas.

Here are some guidelines for writing sentences that underscore the most important information.

4. Make Sentences Clear

It is crucial that a sentence convey the meaning of ideas easily and immediately. Good writers strive to make sentences clear upon the first reading.

Here are some guidelines for writing clear sentences.

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