Effective writing is about expressing what is in your mind. You can construct different types of sentences to express your ideas. There is no right or wrong way to do that, but your sentence construction reflects what is in your mind.
To illustrate, you have these ideas in your mind:
a beautiful day
a bomb exploded
many children killed
Writing sample one
It was a beautiful day that ended in a tragedy. A bomb exploded and killed many children.
“It was a beautiful day that ended in a tragedy.”—a complex sentence (a simple sentence + a subordinate clause joined by a subordinating conjunction “that”).
“A bomb exploded and killed many children.”—a compound sentence (two simple sentences joined by a coordinating conjunction ”and”).
Writing sample two
It was a beautiful day. But it ended in tragedy: a bomb exploded, killing many children.
“It was a beautiful day.”—a simple sentence for emphasis.
“But it ended in tragedy: a bomb exploded, killing many children.”—a compound sentence (two simple sentences joined by the punctuation mark “:” to replace a coordinating conjunction e.g. ”and”, “but”, “or “ , “nor”, and "yet."
Of course, there are other ways of expressing the same ideas. Remember these:
A simple sentence is often used to express a simple idea, and usually for emphasis.
A compound sentence is joining two or more simple sentences to show their relationship: “A bomb exploded and killed many children.”
“A bomb exploded, killing many children.” becomes a simple sentence, putting emphasis more on “bomb exploded” than on “killing many children.”
A complex sentence is joining a simple sentence and one or more subordinate clauses. In the complex sentence “a bomb exploded that killed many children”, the emphasis is more on “bomb exploded” than on “killed many children.”
As mentioned earlier, there is no right or wrong way of constructing your sentences, but remember the importance of variety and emphasis.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau