The good sentence is a well-secured load

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January 11, 2013 by bradcharlesbeals

A sentence carries its meaning as a truck its load. The good driver secures it carefully.

He cuts weight: innocuous modifiers (very, really, somewhat, rather, quite), redundancies explicit and implied; a long word when a short one will do; the passive voice. It all goes.

He secures the load squarely between the axles: he avoids unnecessary shifts in subject, keeps like elements parallel, coordinates the clauses.

And while he’s mindful of the things around him–the traffic, the compass, the weather–he knows full well that getting his freight safely home is up to him. He is no car in a long train. He is a truck.

Using a different analogy, Verlyn Klinkenborg writes…

One by one, each sentence takes the stage.

It says the very thing it comes into existence to say.

Then it leaves the stage.

It doesn’t help the next one up or the previous one


It doesn’t wave to its friends in the audience

Or pause to be acknowledged or applauded.

It doesn’t talk about what it’s saying.

It simply says its piece and leaves the stage.

Either way, Writer, it’s all about those sentences.

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