Subjects and verbs are terrible at social distancing.
Readers naturally seek them out in tandem, so separating the two can cause confusion and sap energy from sentences.
For clarity's sake, keep your subjects and verbs close to each other.
Watch what happens when they get too far apart:
Grace Provisions, which has had to transform its operations due to the pandemic and whose owners hope to maintain business, keep its staff employed, and support the local food industry, will donate 15 percent of profits from a new takeout menu to local restaurant workers laid off or furloughed by the crisis.
Readers could easily get lost searching for the verb in a sea of commas and explanatory words. To fix this mouthful of a sentence, move the verb closer to its subject and place the explanatory material in a new sentence.
Grace Provisions will donate 15 percent of profits from a new takeout menu to local restaurant workers laid off or furloughed by the crisis. The owners hope to maintain business, keep staff employed, and support the local food community.
Let’s review another example. Notice how this unneeded separation causes choppy writing.
We, after reviewing your strong credit score and debt-to-income ratio, accept your mortgage application.
You can fix this sentence by reuniting the subject and verb.
Option 1: Start with the subject and verb.
We accept your mortgage application after reviewing your strong credit score and debt-to-income ratio.
More often than not, placing the subject and verb near the beginning of a sentence is a smart writing move, and certainly so in this example. Why leave the reader in suspense? Lead with the good news.
Options 2: Start with an introductory phrase or clause.
After reviewing your strong credit score and debt-to-income ratio, we accept your mortgage application.
The Big Takeaway
If keeping subjects and verbs close seems like a simple writing move, that's because it is! However, this practice has a profound effect on the clarity of your writing. So, the next time you revise a document or correspondence, check your subjects and verbs. Are they close enough to each other?