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Because the verb in the following sentence appears too late, the reader will have to work unnecessarily to understand the information. (The subject of the main clause is in red and the verb of the main clause is in blue).

The reason why the lions were hiding in the tall grass by the lake, where many animals came to drink, was to ambush antelope.



To ambush antelope, the lions hid in the tall grass by the lake.


The lions hid in the tall grass by the lake to ambush antelope.

Note that the unrevised sentence exemplifies the 'blah blah blah is' form, in which the writer places many words before and sometimes after a 'to be' verb. Like a see-saw, the sentence balances on the weak verb 'to be'.


Unfortunately, abstracts in research papers are often written in a noun-based style. Find the late-appearing, main verbs in the following examples.

The comparative distribution of organic components in different soil fractions as a result of the activities of two of the most representative species of termites (Cubitermes niokoloensis and Macrotermes bellicosus) in the semi-arid savanna of Senegal was assessed by physical fractionation.

The fact that statistical analysis of sampling data pertinent to zoosporic fungal species frequency and distribution with moss-covered and proximal exposed soils has led to the conclusion that species in a specific habitat are more likely to occur with one moss/soil complex than another raises many questions.


In the following example, the verb vary appears too late, the adjective herbivory might be a noun, and the noun effects might be a verb. The author was trying to do too much in one sentence and was also trying to reduce prepositional phrases but needed the first one.

Above-ground herbivory (which we will refer to as grazing) effects, both direct and indirect, on below-ground biota vary with site conditions.

The verb is still too removed from the subject in this revision:

The effects of grazing by above-ground herbivores on soil organisms vary with site conditions.

Find alternatives:

Cattle, antelope, and other grazers can directly and indirectly affect soil organisms, and these effects vary with site conditions.


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