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Periodic Sentences

In a sentence, there are two locations that add emphasis to an idea: the beginning and the end.

Periodic sentences withhold the main meaning of a sentence until the end, as in the following examples. These examples postpone the main idea by withholding the entire independent clause

An independent clause, also called a main clause, is a group of related words that makes a complete statement. Every sentence has at least one independent clause.

The following sentence is an independent clause:

Many people of all ages enjoy soccer.
until the end of the sentence.

In opening minds, instilling values, and creating opportunities, education has no equal.

With pristine beaches, sun-drenched days enhanced by the heady aroma of tropical flowers, and glorious, breathtaking sunsets, Aruba is a vacationer’s paradise.

These examples interrupt the main idea by withholding the predicate

The predicate of a sentence describes the action performed or received by the subject. A predicate includes the verb of the sentence and all its modifiers and auxiliaries.

In the following sentence, the words jumped over the hurdle make up the predicate:

The runner jumped over the hurdle.

The simple predicate consists of the verb and its helping verbs: jumped.

The complete predicate includes the simple predicate and any modifiers, objects, and complements: jumped over the hurdle.

until the end.

Education, by increasing knowledge, enhancing personal values, and opening career opportunities, shapes lives.

The hotel, through the addition of a state-of-the art fitness spa, extensive advertising, and weekend specials, has greatly expanded its customer base.

Creating suspense for the reader by postponing the main clause or by interrupting it, the periodic sentence, which forces the reader to concentrate, helps emphasize important ideas.


Quick Check  

Which of these sentences postpones the main idea of the sentence by withholding the entire independent clause until the end of the sentence?

The Italian neighborhood, with its colorful, antique villas, fragrant flower gardens, and panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea, was enchanting.
By staying in bed-and-breakfasts, eating in restaurants off the beaten track, and taking advantage of public transportation, visitors may find the city more affordable.

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