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Grammar and writing basics

Writing Tip/Prepositional Phrases

Sometimes we get on a roll, and we don’t notice we’ve strung about four prepositional phrases together. Um. No good. Too many prepositional phrases slow reading down, which is not the goal. The goal is to be concise and readable.

For instance, “In the dark of night beneath an overcast sky, we took a walk.”

Holy smoke! You have to fix that one right now.
How about this? “It was dark and overcast, but we took a walk.”

You can rewrite the sentence any way that gets rid of the phrases. I turned it into a compound sentence. Also give thought to changing the prepositional phrases into a clause or a prepositional phrase with words in a series as the object of the preposition.

If you like a bunch of prepositional phrases starting the sentence (for artistic reasons, perhaps, or striving to make a word count on a subject you don’t know enough about), then put a comma after the last one. That is, in the first example the comma would come after “sky.”

See, reads better already doesn’t it.

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June 10, 2009 um 9:52 am
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