Expressive Punctuation: Contrasting sentence lengths

Short-long combos

Simple situation, unexpectedly complicated

This next snippet uses a short-long sentence combination to show a simple situation being unexpectedly complicated.

Brian crawled to the back of the van. When one of the doors swung in, he grabbed at it, but it flew open again, jerking him forward.

The Glass CastleJeanette WallsSource

Notice how there are four clauses in the second sentence, and they go back and forth between the door and Brian, like the two of them are fighting:

When one of the doors swung in, he grabbed at it, but it flew open again, jerking him forward.

Corin hid inside the storage closet. When a box of toilet paper fell off the shelf, she tried to grab it, but it bounced off a stack of mops, which fell over with a crash.

The crayfish scuttled out of the sunken ship. As bubbles rushed out of the filter, the crayfish swiped at them, like it thought they were prey, but it couldn’t catch anything.

Marcy passed a note across Kevin’s desk to Shoshana. When Shoshana read it she giggled, started to write a reply, but then Mr Kleiner cleared his throat, and Marcy glanced up nervously.

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