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Sentences and Style

Learn about English sentence rules and style suggestions to help you become a more confident writer

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A sentence is "a group of words, usually containing a verb, which expresses a thought in the form of a statement, question, instruction or exclamation and starts with a capital letter when written" (Cambridge University Press, n.d., para. 1).

A well-crafted sentence is clear, concise, easy to understand, and contains all the necessary information to express the desired thought. This guide focuses on explaining how to build strong sentences by providing information on

  1. Sentence elements: Typical pieces that make up a sentence
  2. Parallel structure: Use patterns in lists in sentences to help readers understand
  3. Sentence errors: Common mistakes in sentences
  4. Concise writing: How to make sentences as direct and specific as possible
  5. Improve choppy writing: Suggestions of how to improve the flow of writing

You are welcome to jump into the section of the guide that is of most interest to you or navigate page-by-page through the guide using the navigation buttons at the bottom of each page.


Cambridge University Press. (n.d.). Sentence. Cambridge dictionary. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

Qualities of academic writing

This video provides an overview of the qualities of academic writing. Those qualities are relevant to sentences because it's at the sentence level that authors make decisions that ensure their writing is clear, concise, easy to understand, and meets the expectations of the assignment.

The video will start automatically in browsers where autoplay of audio is enabled. If the video doesn't immediately begin, click the pause button and then click play.