Simple sentences

Wrapping up

Checkpoint – Putting simple sentences together

If you go looking for longish snippets of text that only use simple sentences, you'll find it surprisingly hard.

The fact is that simple sentences are quite limiting on their own, and putting a lot of them together can make a paragraph sound jarring or repetitive.

But this can be useful sometimes. Here's a snippet from The Martian, where the main character is mentally checking through some equipment to figure out what he can use.

(The section in brackets is its own sentence. The brackets are used instead of a full stop to show it's a related thought.)

Martinez's space suit was in the rover. Johanssen's was outwitting the regulator. Lewis's was serving as a water tank. I didn't want to mess with mine (hey, it's custom-fitted!).

The MartianAndy WeirSource

Notice how it's essentially a list: This is here. This is doing this. That's doing this other thing. I can't use that (it's special!).

It's snappy and easy to follow – you get a quick rundown of all the things in the scene and what they're currently doing.

Let's try it for ourselves.

The leaves rose from the pavement. Gigantic trees blocked out the sun. The wind whistled ferociously. The elves were ready to fight the whole world (well, their weapons were ready).

She wanted roast beef. I wanted grilled halloumi. She stamped hard on my foot. I wasn't going to argue anymore (hey, I hike twice a week!).

Now have a go yourself. You can try to stick with the same kinds of elements as were in the original snippet (like in the first rewrite), or you might like to change it up a little (like the second rewrite). But make sure you only use simple sentences.

Your turn

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