QUICK TIPS FOR STRONGER SENTENCES
by Barbara Florio Graham
Make sure the MAIN information is in the MAIN clause.
Select an ACTIVE verb for the main clause,
unless you deliberately choose to express a situation describing the status quo.
Avoid weak verbs.
Check every adverb immediately following a verb to determine if:
- it's necessary,
- if a stronger verb might incorporate the adverb,
- if it's redundant.
Look for adverbs masquerading as conjunctions.
Check them, if necessary, against a list of subordinate conjunctions.
Find the REAL subject of the verb in the main clause.
Select as PRECISE a noun as possible to use as the subject.
Reduce relative clauses to participial phrases.
Question every adverb phrase or clause.
Does it add useful information concerning where, when, how, why?
Is it placed in the best location?
Change participles following verbs into infinitives.
Try an infinitive phrase instead of a gerund phrase, where a present participle is used as a noun.
Test adjectives by visualizing what they describe.
Each adjective should add visual description in terms of color, size,
perceptible quality, emotional impact, etc.
As you examine adjectives, check for missing hyphens.
Find every AND; does it join two equals?
Can you justify EVERY SINGLE COMMA?
Have you used commas within sentences in pairs, as handles?
Count quotation marks in pairs.
© Barbara Florio Graham - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED