The reading level for this article is Novice
Connectors — conjunctions, punctuation, and transitional phrases — allow readers to process information promptly by creating balance and relationships between sentence parts. The connectors are performing the same work as verbs, objects, modifiers and multiple subjects.
Here are four uncommon connections that will create an easier flow for your readers:
1. Parallel Constructions. This side-by-side structure builds the bond between multiple joined parts. Example: In the children’s story, Peter Pan stresses the need “for Wendy to sew” his shadow back on, “for her to return” to Never Never Land with him to take care of the Lost Boys, and “for them to leave” before her parents returned.
2. Beginning your sentence with a conjunction. One way to divide a long sentence or several independent clauses is to make each clause an independent sentence. And, but and or are three common conjunctions used frequently. This shortens the sentence, creates a conversational level, and keeps the reader moving forward.
3. Creating A Series Without A Conjunction. Using punctuation, usually commas but not limited to them, instead of words to separate, opens the door of possibilities in the reader’s mind. It allows them to “feel” the “something more” and mindfully fill in their own words. The series allows readers to sense a separateness rather than a joined relationship. Example: Tinker Bell got angry, didn’t like Wendy, flew frantically around the room. Many times editors want to add a conjunction — and, but or or — to the last series. When actually it is intentionally not added to create the feeling of possibilities. Ask yourself, “Do I want to create this feeling, or be more adamant with the reader?”
4. Listing Your Series In Order of Length — From Short to Long. Arranging the words of your series from short to long and from simple compound/ complex make the process easier to understand. And if you can list them in alphabetical order it expands flow. There has also been research done on how people try to memorize and slow down when they read this type of series.
In the first example, parallel construction, the listing was an exception. The complex part was in the middle because of the chronological series of events.
In the first paragraph, “verbs, objects, modifiers and multiple subjects” is listed in the short to long and create an easier reading flow. If you read the sentence this way: “The connectors are performing the same work as modifiers, multiple subjects, verbs, and objects” your mind stops and goes. Many times this causes the reader to be confused or even for them to exit.
Web writing differs from paper-printed writing because of the way it is read. People scan what they read. This is people don’t blink and they approach the Net with a mind set of information overload. Additionally, this is why there are different structural rules. Using connectors is just one such change you need to make in your writing for the World Wide Web.
(c) Copyright 2004, Catherine Franz. All rights reserved.