Given – new principle

Compare the following passages

I have a house. There is a room in the house. There is a sofa in this room.

I have a house. In the house is a room. In this room is a sofa.

The second passage probably feels more natural, and this is because each sentence starts with an established position (i.e. given information) and adds new information to it. The first passage feels more like a zig zag – it introduces new information, moves back to refer to the previous sentence and then moves forward again to include new information.

Both approaches are ‘correct’ from a grammatical perspective, but the second places less strain on the reader and so is generally more desirable when dealing with complicated, dense texts. Importantly, given information doesn’t always have to derive from the previous sentence: it can also draw on the topic of the paragraph or commonly-understood beliefs.