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Writing in English. Sentences

Interuniversity Style Guide

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participated with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.


      • There are three main types of sentence in English: simple, compound and complex.

      • Simple

        Registration begins on 14 September.

      • Compound

        Registration begins on 14 September but courses do not start until 1 October.

      • Complex

        Although registration starts on 14 September, courses do not start until 1 October.

    • Well-written texts will contain sentences not only of all these three types but also of different lengths. Although short sentences are more understandable than long ones, avoid a telegraphic style by writing short, medium and (sometimes) long sentences. Aim for an average sentence length of between 15 and 20 words and beware of excessively long sentences with too many subordinations and parenthetical elements.