Let’s Edit a Sentence

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!

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Edit a Sentence

  1. Avatarballroomdancer Post author

    I like your version! “Protein abounds” is wonderful – livelier than my sentence.
    I’m wondering if some readers might think that vitamins A and C also abound. English is a funny language! Sometimes it’s hard to pin down the meaning.

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