Making Sentences More Distinct

Hi, and welcome to this video lesson on how to make sentences more distinct!

In the English language, sentence structure is extremely important to how we express our ideas. All sentences need a subject and a verb to be considered a complete sentence, but we also need to add distinction to our sentences. Distinction in your sentences will allow others to fully understand what you are trying to tell them.

One of the main ways that we can make sentences more distinct is by making them more specific. For example, let’s look at the following sentence:

“He played outside.”

Now, technically, there is nothing wrong with this sentence. It has a subject and a verb and is a complete thought. We understand that someone played outside, but we do not know any specific details such as who played outside, where he played specifically, and what he played. So, let’s add some specific words to make this sentence more distinct.

We can first start by stating that “Thomas played outside.” Just by changing the word he to Thomas, we now know who specifically played outside. It is no longer a singular pronoun, but a proper noun that allows for those reading or hearing the sentence to know who the exact person was.

Since we know who it was that played outside, let’s add what he was playing to the sentence. We can make the sentence state that “Thomas rode his bicycle outside.” These words help us to have a better understanding of what Thomas was doing. In our original sentence, played was just too vague and could apply to any number of activities. But by replacing played with just three words, we know exactly what Thomas was doing.

We can also change the word outside to something more specific. Instead of saying that “Thomas rode his bicycle outside,” let’s say “Thomas rode his bicycle on the sidewalk.” By adding on the sidewalk in the place of outside, we know where Thomas was exactly when he was riding his bicycle.

If we compare our original sentence of “He played outside” to our new sentence “Thomas rode his bicycle on the sidewalk,” we can see that the new sentence is more distinct. After reading or hearing the sentence, we know exactly what happened, where it happened, and who it happened to. This sentence helps readers to have a better understanding of what we are trying to tell them.

Adding specific words to a sentence is a great way to add distinction to sentences, but you will want to make sure that you do not add too many words. Look at this sentence for example:

“Thomas, a young, four-year-old boy with blonde hair and blue eyes, pedaled his cherry-red bicycle with a bell and training wheels on the dark, medium-gray- colored concrete which made up the structure of the sidewalk near the road and houses.”

This sentence is definitely descriptive and helps the reader to grasp what is happening exactly, but it is also just too wordy. There are so many specific words and phrases that the sentence is bombarding the reader with too much information. So, although adding specific words and phrases to sentences can help them to be distinct, it can also make the sentence worse if we add too many words to sentences.

I hope this video helped you understand sentence structure a little better!

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: September 6, 2021