How to restructure your sentences
Varying the structure of your sentences is important to make your writing more interesting. It can also help you express your meaning more clearly by either emphasizing or separating out certain parts.
It is common to switch the order of two clauses; however, it is best to only do so for the sake of chronology (1) or emphasis (2).
- Can I watch TV if I wash all the dishes? --> If I wash all the dishes, can I watch TV?
- She knew he was there before she even opened her eyes. --> Before she even opened her eyes, she knew he was there.
- The president, who has been described as a tyrant, regularly imprisons his opponents.
- Described as a tyrant, the president regularly imprisons his opponents.
- This model, which was released earlier this month, is the newest you will find on the market.
- Released earlier this month, this model is the newest you will find on the market.
A prepositional phrase
It is common to move a prepositional phrase to the beginning of the sentence; however, the prepositional phrase should not be the main object.
- In 1918, Sami wrote her masterpiece. ✔
- About his crush, he daydreamed in class. X
It is not so common to move an object to the beginning of the sentence, especially in formal writing, unless it is related to time.
- The moment she stepped off the plane, she felt she was finally home.
- $200, we spent on confectionery. (used for emphasis in informal language)
- He drove into a signpost.
- It was a signpost that he drove into.
A verb-ing phrase
When the subject is a verb-ing phrase (especially when it is long), you can rearrange the structure as follows: 'it' + clause + 'to' + verb phrase.
- Pushing to the front of the queue is rude.
- It is rude to push to the front of the queue.
- Moving to a new neighbourhood upset our children.
- It upset our children to move to a new neighbourhood.
The clause/phrase moved to the beginning should be followed by a comma. It should also be preceded by a comma when it follows a conjunction.
- The report highlighted that, after months of debate, no meaningful reform was passed.
- She wept and, when the tears stopped coming, finally slept.
- When cleaning his car, he found a half-eaten sandwich. ✔
- When cleaning his car, it started to rain. X