Loose sentence

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A loose sentence (also called a cumulative sentence) is a type of sentence in which the main idea (independent clause) is elaborated by the successive addition of modifying clauses or phrases.


It adds modifying elements after the subject, complement, and verb.


Loose sentences may make a work seem informal, relaxed, and conversational. However, according to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (2000), a succession of loose sentences, especially those of two clauses, is to be avoided because of "mechanical symmetry and sing-song".


  • He went into town to buy groceries, to visit his friends, and to go to the bookstore. (visit friends and go to bookstore independent variable)
  • "Bells rang, filling the air with their clangor, startling pigeons into flight from every belfry, bringing people into the streets to hear the news." (From the English Reviewer)
  • She drove her car to go to the movies, and got gas.
  • "I have been assured by a very knowing American friend of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nourished is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked or boiled; and I make no doubt it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout." Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal