The Structure of Sentences

What comes first in a sentence is often given more attention than what comes later.

  • Example: “The Austrian Diabetes Association has reported that daily exercise relieves diabetes complications" (3).

Here, the Austrian Diabetes Association appears to be the focus of the sentence, since that is the information the reader is provided with first.

  • Possible revision nr. 1: "Daily exercise may relieve diabetes complications" (3).

In this version, the writer only references the study in the in-text citation, and instead foregrounds the content of the report ("daily exercise..."). The sentence suggests that the source is not important enough to warrant an explicit mention, and that the information is credible and non-controversial. 

  • Possible revision nr 2: "Daily exercise relieves diabetes complications, according to the Austrian Diabetes Association" (3).

In this version, the writer has reversed the sentence order. Here, the source is included, but does not overshadow the content.  

In short, there are several ways to structure the same information depending on what effect you want the sentence to have on your reader. Remember: what appears first in the sentence will seem more central.

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