Loose sentence

The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms - Ross Murfin 2018

Loose sentence

Loose sentence: A complex sentence in which an independent clause is followed by one or more other elements; the opposite of a periodic sentence, which is not syntactically complete until its very end. A loose sentence typically contains independent clauses connected by coordinating conjunctions (and, or, but) or an independent clause followed by one or more dependent clauses. Loose sentences are less formal, more conversational, and more common in English than periodic sentences. Works in which loose sentences predominate usually exhibit paratactic style.

EXAMPLES: The following sentence from Eleanor Roosevelt’s speech on V-J Day, August 14, 1945, marking the surrender of Japan and thus the end of World War II, is loose:

Today we have a mixture of emotions, joy that our men are freed of constant danger, hope that those whom we love will soon be home among us, awe at what man’s intelligence can compass, and a realization that that intelligence uncontrolled by great spiritual forces, can be man’s destruction instead of his salvation.

So are the opening sentences from Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (2003):

I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it.