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Subject + Action = Object of sentence.

When I enrolled for a preliminary course for my Freelance editing certificate, one of the first principles of language that my professor taught the class was this: the subject of a sentence, followed by action, equals the object of the sentence, and when written in this style the reader will always understand the sentence’s meaning. The writing convention shouldn’t have surprised me, but it was an aha… moment. To this day, if I stumble over my words or another author’s words, I ensure the sentence follows this basic structure.

I became a Reedsy Discovery Reviewer recently, and I was reminded about this writing style when an author didn’t follow the rule, leaving me confused in regards to the sentence’s meaning. While a novice writer may not comprehend basic sentence structure and the importance of word placement, at some point, they must learn their craft prior to publishing to ensure their readers understand the meaning of their sentences.

Let’s say a sentence is written as: “At every desk worked people.”

This sentence indicates that the desk is working, not the people, which is incorrect. Stylistically, the idea of people working at their desks would be better understood if written as: “People worked at every desk.”

This basic sentence structure is effective, which is why I wanted to share this simple structure with you. Subject + Action = Object (or meaning) of sentence.

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