How would you describe the sentences in italics below?
A. What kind of sentences are they? They are obviously not simple subject-verb constructions or what are commonly called compound or complex –or even compound-complex sentences.
B. Do they work for you? Do you find them effective, easy to follow, descriptive, and maybe even at times evocative?
C. Are they grammatically correct?
1. A pungent odor of dried coriander and bay leaves permeated the room; the scent mixed with garlic, a hint of bread, and darker overtones.
2. Roman guards stood equally spaced at intervals along the wall, silhouetted against barrels of fire and the considerable light of the almost-full moon now setting on the horizon.
3. The Lower City rose to her left, white boxes with dark windows and door slits, tiered row upon row.
4. Sara moved through the street of the Lower City, holding an infrared flashlight that pulsed invisibly, something only Benjamin could see with the night vision goggles.
The quotations in italics above are from Amy Deardon’s novel A Lever Long Enough (©2009, availabe at Amazon.com, including for Kindle), a novel I recommend. They were picked at random.
Here are my answers:
A. They are called cumulative or loose sentences. I call the segments added onto the main clauses “add-ons” See more in the post here: http://keystowriting.com/2011/11/
B. Yes. Yes.
Modern English constantly transcends what is taught in many books on writing–certainly many books on grammar.
Contemporary published writers, including best-selling ones, use the types of phrases illustrated in the italicized quotations above constantly in their writing. And effectively too. Often with lyrical beauty approaching poetry and with descriptive power.
Are they part of your writing arsenal?
Recommended additional reading:
Best books and courses:
Notes Toward a Modern Rhethoric by Frances Crhistensen
A Modern Rhetoric by Frances Christensen and Bonniejean Christensen
Building Great Sentences by Brooks Landon, Ph.D., University of Iowa, 24-part lecture series, http://www.thegreatcourses.com by The Teaching Company.