An announcement (in the sense it has here) is a preliminary statement which tells the reader, "Watch out, here comes something important":

Finally, last point about the man: he is in trouble.

Benjamin DeMott

The construction receiving the stress should be phrased concisely and vigorously and separated from the preceding announcement by a colon or dash (though sometimes a comma will do).

Anticipatory constructions, which we saw on page 141 as a potential source of deadwood, can function effectively as a form of announcement. They are low-key, reducing the introduction to little more than a pronoun (or there) + a verb:

This was the consequence we feared. Evelyn Jones inability of human beings to understand each Other. Joy Packer

The Fragment

A fragment is a construction which, like a sentence, begins with a capital and ends with full-stop punctuation, but which does not satisfy the traditional definition of a sentence.1 While they are often serious grammatical faults, fragments can be used positively as a means of emphatic statement, drawing attention because of their difference:

And that's why there's really a very simple answer to our original question.

What do baseball managers really do?



For a living. Leonard Koppett

Going off her diet, she gained back all the weight she had lost. Also the friends. Student

1. See page 112 for that definition.

The Short Sentence

Short sentences are inherently emphatic. They will seem especially strong in the context of longer, more complicated statements. Often the contrast in length reinforces the contrast in thought:

As Thompson and the Transcript man had said, Vanzetti was naturally and quietly eloquent. So he was electrocuted. Phil strong

Again, it's an incontrovertible fact that, in the past, when contraceptive methods were unknown, women spent a much larger proportion of a much shorter life pregnant, or nursing infants whom they had borne with little or no medical help. And don't believe that that's a natural, a healthy thing for human beings to do, just because animals do isn't. . Elizabeth Janeway

The Imperative Sentence

At its simplest the imperative sentence is a command:

Come here! Listen to me!

Its distinguishing that it drops the sub ject and begins with the verb, although some commands use a noun of address or an actual subject:

John, come here! You listen to me!

While commands are rare in composition, imperative sentences can be emphatic in other ways:

Insist on yourself; never imitate. Ralph W&ldo Emerson

Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito's wing that falls on the rails. Henry David Thoreau

Consider, for example, those skulls on the monuments.

. Aldous Huxley

Aside from being strong, imperative sentences also link writer and reader. Emerson does not say "men and women must insist on themselves"; he addresses you. Thoreau urges you to participate in a new way of life, and Huxley invites you to look with him at the statuary he is examining. Huxley's sentence also illustrates another use of the imperative: moving readers easily from one point to another.

The Inverted Sentence

Inversion means putting the main elements of a sentence in an order other than subject-verb-object. Some patterns of inversion signal questions ("Are you going into town today?") ; some signal condition contrary to fact ("Had I only been there"). Other inversional patterns indicate emphasis. The most frequent is the sentence that opens with an adverbial word or phrase (to which further modification may be attached) and follows it with the verb and subject:

And in one corner, book-piled like the rest of the furniture, stood a piano. Kenneth Grahame

Less commonly, emphatic inversion follows the pattern object-subject-verb:

Wrangles he avoided, and disagreeable persons he usually treated with a raid and freezing contempt. Douglas Southall Fieeman

Inversions are tricky, subject to subtle conventions of idiom, too numerous and complex to bother with here. If you aren't sure whether a particular inverted sentence will work, read it out loud and trust your ear. If it sounds un-English, it probably is.

The Interrupted Sentence

Normally a sentence moves from subject to verb to complement. Interruption breaks that flow by inserting constructions between the main elements and forcing pauses. As we shall see later in this chapter, interruption is an important means of emphasizing particular words. But it can also render an entire statement emphatic:

And finally, stammering a crude farewell, he departed.

Thomas Wolfe

The sentence could be expressed straightforwardly:

And he finally departed, stammering a crude farewell.

But while more natural, the revision is weaker. (Not therefore "poorer"; it depends on purpose.)

Interrupted movement makes demands on the reader, especially when the interrupting constructions grow numerous and long. But kept reasonably short and simple, interruption is an effective technique of emphasis.

The Periodic Sentence

A periodic sentence (sometimes called a suspended sentence) does not complete its main thought until the end:

If you really want to be original, to develop your own ideas in your own way, then maybe you shouldn't go to college. student

It differs from a loose sentence, which places its main clause at the beginning and then adds subordinate ideas:

Maybe you shouldn't go to college if you really want to be original, to develop your own ideas in your own way.

Periodic sentences can be constructed in various ways. Many are built by beginning the sentence with adverbials, like the "if"-clause in the example above. Others start off with a noun clause:

That John Chaucer was only an assistant seems certain.

John Gardner

That the author of Everyman was no mere artist, but an artist-philosopher, and that the artist-philosophers are the only sort of artists I take seriously will be no news to you.

George Bernard Shaw

However they are constructed, periodic sentences make stronger statements than do loose, requiring that we pay attention and suspend understanding until the final words pull everything together. But this type of sentence has limitations. It quickly grows tiresome, for the alertness it demands wearies readers. Furthermore, periodic structure has a formal, literary tone, unsuitable for informal occasions. Yet despite these limitations an occasional periodic sentence supplies valuable emphasis and has the further advantage of varying your style.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

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