Editor's note: This column is the fourth in a series of tutorials adapted from Joseph M. Williams' book Style: Toward Clarity and Grace.

Part 1 of this article appeared in the August 2001 issue

Regarding topics, Williams (1995) states and then gives the following wonderful example: “Here's the point. In the clearest writing, the topics of most sentences and clauses are their grammatical subjects. But what's more important than their grammatical function is the way topics control how readers read sentences, not individually, but in sequences, and the way that writers must therefore organize sequences of topics. The most...

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