Start with What Your Reader Has Just Read About
One way of making your text easier to read and more structured is to start your sentences with what your reader has just read about – and then place new information towards the end of the sentence.
Compare the following sentences:
- Approximately 400 000 Swedes suffer from diabetes. Problems with the heart, kidney, and sight are complications of diabetes.
- Approximately 400 000 Swedes suffer from diabetes. Diabetes may lead to problems with the heart, kidney, and sight.
Both alternatives begin with the same sentence, while the second sentence is different. Please look at both versions again and consider which one is easier to read.
It is the second one, isn’t it? The first sentence mentions diabetes, so the reader understands that the text is about diabetes, and therefore it seems logical to the reader that the next sentence begins with that and that the new information – about the specific complications – appears towards the end of the sentence. In the first version we may initially wonder (if only for a second) why we are now reading about problems with the heart, kidney, and sight – because we have to wait until the end of the sentence to see how the two sentences are connected.
However, you should not always start the second sentence with the word that you ended the previous one with, as in the example above. On the contrary, that would become tedious. What is most important is that the thing that is already known (diabetes) appears before the new information (the specific complications). Another way of presenting the information may therefore be:
- Approximately 400 000 Swedes suffer from diabetes. Complications of diabetes include problems with the heart, kidney, and sight.
Someone might point out that all three versions presented here are in fact fairly easy to understand. That may be because the information in these sentences is fairly straightforward – and because there are only two sentences rather than an entire text. Remember that the more complex the topic, the more important it is that the text is easy to follow. When you write about complex topics – like you often do when you are a student – it is therefore extra important to start sentences with what you just wrote about, and place new information towards the end of the sentence.