I love to think – and talk – about sentences. Writers quite naturally want to talk about big concepts: unity, coherence, emphasis, and the like. I prefer to get up-close-and-personal with a sentence. I think that’s where great writing happens.
Let’s edit a sentence today:
Protein, as well as vitamins A and C, abounds.
It’s correct. But I don’t like it. I think readers are going to stumble when they come to abounds. Shouldn’t it be abound?
Nope. The sentence is saying that protein…abounds.
“As well as vitamins A and C” is extra. You drop your voice. Those vitamins don’t really count. (Read the sentence aloud – you’ll hear that it’s really about protein.)
I have a rule (okay, I made it up) that if a sentence sounds odd, you should change it. So here’s my version:
Protein and vitamins A and C abound. CORRECT
Elegant and easy! (Isn’t that what we’re aiming for when we write?)
It’s always a good idea to take an extra minute or two to edit a sentence. Those small changes add up!