Varying Sentence Structure with Embedded Clauses and Phrases

Varying Sentence Structure with Embedded Clauses and Phrases
Writing in a fashion that is interesting and elegant for readers is certainly the hope of most academics and scholars, but it is also imperative that scholarly prose be clear, accurate and thorough, expressing facts and ideas with precision and sophistication. An effective way for authors to achieve all of these goals simultaneously can be found in the practice of varying the structure of the sentences used to describe procedures, report evidence and discuss meanings and implications. A book or paper should consist not only of simple sentences, but of compound and complex sentences as well, making good use of these longer structures, the details they can include, the relationships they can discuss and the logical progression they can provide. All three of these sentence types can be further varied and enriched with information of just about any kind by embedding descriptive clauses and phrases into their larger structures.

There are two basic kinds of embedded clauses and phrases – essential and nonessential – and two basic punctuation patterns for incorporating them into sentences. Essential clauses and phrases are, as their name suggests, essential to the overall meaning of the sentences in which they appear. ‘The researchers who were working on the project strongly opposed its termination’ and ‘The book that is on the desk was most enjoyable’ both feature essential embedded material. In the first, ‘who were working on the project’ is the embedded clause; in the second, ‘that is on the desk’ is the essential embedded information. In neither case can the sentence retain its original meaning if the embedded clause or phrase is removed, and this close relationship is reflected in the lack of commas. Essential clauses and phrases do not require surrounding punctuation when they are embedded in sentences and other clauses. In some cases one or more of the words in an embedded construction may not be required and can certainly be eliminated if they prove awkward. ‘She claimed that the book that is on the desk was most enjoyable’ is a good example, with the elimination of ‘that is’ resulting in smoother wording: ‘She claimed that the book on the desk was most enjoyable.’
PhD ThesisEditing Services
Embedded clauses and phrases that are nonessential also modify and qualify other elements of the sentences in which they are embedded, but such nonessential information, as the terminology implies, can be removed without altering the general meaning of a sentence or compromising its grammatical construction. ‘The conference attendees, particularly those who were specialists in the area, protested loudly’ and ‘The library books, which are all on the table, are entirely inappropriate for her age group’ both contain nonessential embedded clauses. In the first, ‘particularly those who were specialists in the area’ offers the additional information that the specialists were the most eager in their protest, but does not alter the rest of the sentence. In the second, ‘which are all on the table’ tells the reader where the books are, but their inappropriate nature remains unchanged. Phrases and clauses that are nonessential are usually enclosed in commas, as both these examples are, but they can alternatively be marked with dashes or parentheses. Dashes or parentheses can change the effect of an embedded clause or phrase and often enable different wording as well: ‘The conference attendees (none more so than the specialists) protested loudly’ and ‘The library books – I threw them on the table over there – are entirely inappropriate for her age group.’ Using commas, dashes and parentheses selectively around embedded nonessential material can therefore add further variation to sentence structure and can also be extremely helpful when reporting research data by allowing details to be added parenthetically amidst more general results and relationships.

Why Our Editing and Proofreading Services?
At we offer the highest quality journal article editing, phd thesis editing and proofreading services via our large and extremely dedicated team of academic and scientific professionals. All of our proofreaders are native speakers of English who have earned their own postgraduate degrees, and their areas of specialisation cover such a wide range of disciplines that we are able to help our international clientele with research editing to improve and perfect all kinds of academic manuscripts for successful publication. Many of the carefully trained members of our expert editing and proofreading team work predominantly on articles intended for publication in scholarly journals, applying painstaking journal editing standards to ensure that the references and formatting used in each paper are in conformity with the journal’s instructions for authors and to correct any grammar, spelling, punctuation or simple typing errors. In this way, we enable our clients to report their research in the clear and accurate ways required to impress acquisitions proofreaders and achieve publication.

Our scientific proofreading services for the authors of a wide variety of scientific journal papers are especially popular, but we also offer manuscript proofreading services and have the experience and expertise to proofread and edit manuscripts in all scholarly disciplines, as well as beyond them. We have team members who specialise in medical proofreading services, and some of our experts dedicate their time exclusively to PhD proofreading and master’s proofreading, offering research students the opportunity to improve their use of formatting and language through the most exacting PhD thesis editing and dissertation proofreading practices. Whether you are preparing a conference paper for presentation, polishing a progress report to share with colleagues, or facing the daunting task of editing and perfecting any kind of scholarly document for publication, a qualified member of our professional team can provide invaluable assistance and give you greater confidence in your written work.

If you are in the process of preparing an article for an academic or scientific journal, or planning one for the near future, you may well be interested in a new book, Guide to Journal Publication, which is available on our Tips and Advice on Publishing Research in Journals website.

topbanner errow