Writing Effective Sentences for Business Communication

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  • 0:01 Effective Sentences
  • 1:15 Simple Sentence
  • 1:45 Compound Sentence
  • 2:12 Complex-Sentence
  • 3:06 Compound-Complex Sentence
  • 3:38 Sentence Strategy
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Business writing hinges on the ability to craft well-developed sentences. Learn about four different types of sentence structures that can be used to build a professional, well-received message.

Effective Sentences

In order for business communication to be effective, it is critical that the message has a well-developed sentence structure. Poor writing skills are a detriment to communication and will cause employees to have difficulty in moving up the corporate ladder.

As a college professor, I have found that many students have problems writing papers because they have not grasped the basic mechanics of writing a well-built sentence. In addition, I have found that teaching how to write effective sentences can be a challenge in the classroom. Many students find it dry, boring and end up drooling on their desks.

One idea I present in class is to look at building a sentence as constructing a puzzle. Perhaps by looking at constructing appropriate sentences as a challenge will cause you to have more interest in developing the writing skill. Let's look at how the puzzle challenge works. The correct puzzle pieces are needed in order to make an effective sentence. Each puzzle piece will be a subject, predicate, main clause/independent clause or dependent clause. We will use the puzzle pieces to explain how to put together each of the following four sentences: simple, compound, complex-sentence and compound-complex sentence.

Simple Sentence

A simple sentence has one main clause, which contains a simple subject - a person, place, thing - and a predicate - the verb or verb phrase. A simple sentence can be expanded by adding pronouns - such as them, her/him - or nouns. Let's take a look at a simple sentence with the two puzzle pieces of subject and predicate.

Julia ran fast down the city street.

The word 'Julia' would be the subject, and 'ran' would be the predicate.

Compound Sentence

A compound sentence is made up of two puzzle pieces or two main clauses (both independent and both equally important). Let's take a look at an example.

Julia ran fast down the street, and Nick peddled his bike.

Both of the clauses before and after the comma could stand independently as complete sentences. This type of sentence is excellent to use to show two independent thoughts or ideas.


A third type of sentence structure is a complex-sentence, which contains one main clause and one subordinate clause or dependent clause. A subordinate clause or dependent clause is a collection of words following a main clause that begins with a conjunction or verb and does not form a complete sentence. Here is an example:

Julia ran fast down the street and avoided many puddles.

The independent clause is 'Julia ran fast down the street,' and the dependent clause is 'avoided many puddles'. 'Julia ran fast down the street' would be the first puzzle piece, and the second puzzle piece is 'and avoided many puddles.' The dependent clause would not be able to exist as a full sentence without the independent clause. 'Avoided many puddles' is not a full sentence because it is lacking a subject.

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