Sentences - Grammar

AMA Manual of Style - Stacy L. Christiansen, Cheryl Iverson 2020


A sentence must have, at minimum, a subject and a verb; it also usually contains modifiers.

7.8.1 Fragments.

Sentence fragments, which lack a subject or a verb, should not be used in scientific or technical writing (except within the structured abstract; see 2.5, Abstract). Writers of prose and poetry occasionally use sentence fragments intentionally, for effect.

Her affect signaled depression. Utter depression.

In scientific writing, these fragments are likely to be unintentional and are inappropriate.


The clinical spectrum of disease varying according to the population and age group under study.


The clinical spectrum of disease varies according to the population and age group under study.

7.8.2 Run-ons.

Run-on sentences contain 2 (or more) independent clauses that run together without intervening punctuation or a coordinating conjunction. Run-on sentences are difficult to read and are not appropriate in scientific writing.


A structured abstract is required see the instructions that follow.


A structured abstract is required; see the instructions that follow.


A structured abstract is required, so see the instructions that follow.

7.8.3 Common Misperceptions About Sentence Beginnings and Endings.

There are a number of mistaken caveats about sentence beginning and ending words. Two of the most common are the use of conjunctions to begin a sentence and the use of prepositions to end a sentence. Beginning a Sentence With a Conjunction.

The widely held belief that writers should not begin a sentence with a conjunction has no basis in formal English grammar.2,4 In fact, it can be used (when used correctly) to good effect.

A patient’s last experience in life should not be one of fear. That hand gave me peace and hope, regardless of my outlook at the time. And maybe that is what we are missing when we educate generations of physicians about empathy and compassion.

The committee’s proposal to overhaul the payment model may help with the health plan’s budget. But do you think the changes go far enough?

Because there were few missing data, and in accordance with our statistical analysis plan, we did not conduct multiple imputation analyses. Ending a Sentence With a Preposition.

There is also no grammatical basis for the admonition to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition.2 Sometimes a sentence ending in a preposition simply sounds better and reads more clearly than one performing acrobatics to avoid the construction.

These are the test results that I have been waiting for.


These are the test results for which I have been waiting.

The nurse assured the patient there was nothing to be frightened of.


The nurse assured the patient there was nothing of which to be frightened.