Does Every Sentence Make Sense?

To revise well, you need to be able to evaluate your sentences’ clarity and effectiveness. Just because you understand a sentence does not mean that others will.

  • Make sure each of your sentences contains at least one subject and verb and expresses a complete thought. If you have difficulty identifying your sentences’ subjects and verbs, it will make it more difficult to evaluate your sentences.
  • Review your sentences for prepositional phrases. If they’re “loaded” with them, that could weaken your sentences effect.

Example: In college, Jane studied math during the day after lunch with Judy.

The above example contains four prepositional phrases, each of which begins with a preposition:

  • in college
  • during the day
  • after lunch
  • with Judy

The example above could be improved by this rewrite: In college, Jane and Judy studied math after lunch.

For those grammatically inclined, “Jane” and “Judy” form a compound subject, “studied” is the verb, “math” is a direct object indicating what Jane and Judy studied, and “after lunch” and “In college” are prepositional phrases serving as adverbs that reveal when Jane and Judy studied math together.

1 reply »

  1. Prepositional phrases might have been the lesson I loved the most in grammar. Everything a mouse could do to a cloud or something like that. (heh heh heh…bad grammar there, I know). I am rather fond of using incomplete sentences in my fiction writing. I don’t think I overdo it. I do think it can add a flavor to writing.


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