Types of Sentences


The Loose Sentence


A loose sentence is one in which various details are added after the meaning of the main clause is complete. These sentences are easy to follow, because they are additive with one idea following the next.


"I believe we have a moral responsibility to honor America's seniors, so I brought Republicans and Democrats together to strengthen Medicare. Now seniors are getting immediate help buying medicine. Soon every senior will be able to get prescription drug coverage, and nothing will hold us back.” (George W. Bush at the Republican National Convention 2004)


The Parallel or Balanced Sentence


Two or more parts of the parallel sentence expressing ideas of equal importance are represented in similar grammatical forms. They show a regularity of structure and rhythm which constitutes a regular pattern, by making a noun with another noun, a phrase with another phrase, a clause with another clause.


“There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last — the city of final destination, the city that is a goal.” (From: City of Final Destination by E. B. White)


The Periodic Sentence


A sentence in which the thought is not complete until the end is called a periodic sentence. The effect of the periodic sentence is one of suspense. The reader, in other words, is forced to wait for the main idea until after he has comprehended the subordinate details upon which the main idea is based. Since the large majority of sentences are loose sentences, an occasional periodic sentence is emphatic. Since the mind grasps the thought of a short sentence so quickly, it is only in long sentences that periodic structure has any noticeable psychological effect and creates suspense.


“And whether it is a farmer arriving from Italy to set up a small grocery store in a slum, or a young girl arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh eyes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company.”

(From: City of Final Destination by E. B. White)