We are familiar with the subject-verb-object sentence structure, but a series of consecutive sentences constructed that way is boring to read. Add a little variety to make the writing more lively and more emphatic.

Part of what distinguishes good writing is that graceful sentence structure is helps the reader breeze through it.  Subject-verb-object construction, as in She presented the report,  is a clear, direct structure, but a series of such sentences produces the monotonous, repetitive pattern common to children’s storytelling.

Product X will be completed and delivered before the deadline. More than 30 models have already been produced. The product has a well-funded upgrade path. Da-da da-da da-da.(pause) Da-da da-da da-da.(pause) The reader is asleep.

Pick up the pace by varying the beginning. Not only will you add variety but you also will add a bit of emphasis. You can move the direct object to the front, begin with an adverb, or open with a phrase. Read the sentences below aloud and listen to the differences.

Move the direct object to the front

(The direct object is whatever receives, or is affected by, the action of the verb.)

  • original:  Judy will do the fundraising.
  • revised:   The fundraising will be Judy’s responsibility.
    Notice that when you move fundraising up front, you vary the structure and you add emphasis to fundraising.
  • original:  He awards most of the contracts to people he knows.
  • revised:  Most contracts he awards to people he knows.

 

Begin with an adverb

  • original:  Our team improved gradually.
  • revised:  Gradually, our team improved.
  •  original:  He gives a free workshop occasionally.
  • revised:  Occasionally, he gives a free workshop.

 

Open with an introductory phrase

  • original:  We found a candidate after a lengthy search.
  • revised:  After a lengthy search, we found a candidate.
  •  original:  She took the job even though she had little experience and no familiarity with the industry.
  • revised:  With little experience and no familiarity with the industry, she took the job.

Learning to write sentences for a particular purpose, in this case to create variety and emphasis, is an important step in lifting your writing out of the mediocrity that pervades the workplace today.