Bridge Sentence Structure

Bridge sentence structure moves the subordinate phrase to the beginning of the sentence, and the main claim to later in the sentence. Thus the “bigger” ideas get piled atop “supporting” information, just like a bridge spanning a river where the pilings are placed before setting the road or walkway atop it.

The purpose of this structure is either to draw attention to the subordinate phrase first, which starts readers thinking about that before reading the main claim, thus strategically directing them to the impression that the author plans.

For example, when you read the following sentence:

» The sleek racehorse trotted from the stable.

do you first think of the horse’s power or its elegance? (Or maybe just its monetary value or smell.) Various readers could have all sorts of first impressions, so if you want to control their impression, use a bridge sentence to suggest the impression you want to create before they get a chance to do so without your influence.

» Tall, dark, and sexy, the sleek racehorse trotted from the stable.

Bridge sentences can make your writing sound more elegant, artistic and expressive.

Additional examples show other strengths of the bridge sentence structure to control meaning:

» Although Eric hated to admit it, the lightning storm made his blood run cold.

The main clause {the storm made his blood run cold} is so much stronger than the subordinate phrase {although Eric hated to admit it} that the subordinate claus would hardly get noticed if the order had been reversed.

» While not the optimal configuration, a 64 bit computer system can run a Mac emulator.

The main claim {a 64 bit computer system can run a Mac emulator} would sound a lot more positive if the author hadn’t first pointed out that it’s not optimal.

Because it takes slightly more effort to parse (make sense of) bridge sentence structure, pyramid sentences are a better choice when clarity is your primary goal.

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