Tips for Writing Strong Sentences. by Glynnis Whitwer October 30, 2013

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1 Tips for Writing Strong Sentences by Glynnis Whitwer October 30, 2013

2 The basis of good writing Great sentences come in all sizes. Some are great because they are short: Jesus wept. (John 11:35) Some are great because they are long and beautiful: There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.' C.S. Lewis

3 It all starts here.

4 A Sentence A sentence contains a subject and predicate and expresses a complete thought. A sentence ends with a period or other concluding punctuation. Subject (who or what the sentence is about) Predicate (tells something about the subject) The writer loved to read.

5 Subject Is always a noun or a pronoun Predicate Includes a verb (action or state of being) Writers write. She forgot to turn off the light. Dogs are great pets. NOTE: to be a true predicate, a verb ending in ing must always have a helping verb. The girl was working on her essay.

6 Imperative sentence One where the subject (you) is understood. Write!

7 Independent Clauses Contains a subject and a predicate and a complete thought Does not necessarily end with a period Can stand alone Example: The author finished the book.

8 Dependent Clauses Contains a subject and a predicate, but not a complete thought. A dependent clause cannot stand alone.

9 Example: After the author finished the book, After the author finished the book, she went to bed.

10 Fragment

11 Sometimes I measured myself against other people. She s so clever. She s so educated. She s so connected. Who am I compared to all that? Gradually, I shrank back. I pulled away. I put up a front of perfection with carefully crafted words and a house and kids that looked just right. Polished on the outside, yet completely undone on the inside. Lysa TerKeurst, Will You Share Your Story?

12 Simple Sentence Contains one independent clause Example: The class was easy.

13 There can be a compound subject and/ or a compound predicate. The brother and sister had fun. The teacher walked into the classroom, greeted the students, and took attendance.

14 Compound Sentence Contains two independent clauses joined by a conjunction/coordinator Coordinators: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so The class was easy, but the lab was hard.

15 A Semi-colon is used when there is no coordinator. The class was easy; the lab was hard.

16 Complex Sentence Contains one or more dependent clauses, joined to an independent clause. A complex sentence always has a subordinator (because, since, after, although or when) or a relative pronoun (that, who or which).

17 Subordinators Comparison & Contrast * Although * Though * Even though * While Cause & Effect * Since * So that * Because Time * After * When * Until * Whenever * Before

18 More Subordinators Possibility * if * as if * whether * unless Place & Manner * wherever * where * how

19 Complex Sentence Rule #1 When the sentence begins with a subordinator, a comma is required at the end of the dependent clause. Although the class was easy, the lab was hard.

20 Complex Sentence Rule #2 When the sentence begins with the independent clause, no comma is required. The lab was hard although the class was easy. John passed the test because he studied hard and understood the material.

21 A Compound-Complex Sentence Contains two independent clauses joined by one or more dependent clauses. While the class was easy, and the lab was hard, the students enjoyed both. Although I like books, I do not like suspense novels, but my sister loves them.

22 Run-on Sentence Two independent clauses joined without punctuation Example: She wanted to write about an exciting life she didn t want to leave the house.

23 Practice Dan loved the idea of writing but he didn t like the act of writing. Dan loved the idea of writing, but he didn t like the act of writing.

24 Many years were spent regretting sins from my past; sins that had hurt others and myself. Many years were spent regretting sins from my past, sins that had hurt others and myself.

25 Dan loved the idea of writing, he bought a computer. Dan loved the idea of writing; he bought a computer.

26 Dan bought a computer, since he loved the idea of writing. Dan bought a computer since he loved the idea of writing.

27 There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou

28 The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. Mark Twain

29 No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. Robert Frost

30 How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. Henry David Thoreau

31 The power in sentences comes down to two things: Word choices Word order

32 Anastrophe Anastrophe is a form of literary device wherein the order of the noun and the adjective in the sentence is exchanged. This reversed order creates a dramatic impact and lends weight to the description offered by the adjective. "This is the forest primeval." Henry Longfellow in Evangeline

33 Antimetabole Reversal of repeated words or phrases for effect. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. John F. Kennedy

34 Antithesis A rhetorical device containing a contrast of ideas in a balanced parallel construction To be or not to be, that is the question. Shakespeare To err is human; to forgive, divine. --Pope That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. -- Neil Armstrong

35 Willa Cather A Wagner Matinee She sat looking about her with eyes as impersonal, almost as stony, as those with which the granite Rameses in a museum watches the froth and fret that ebbs and flows about his pedestal-separated from it by the lonely stretch of centuries.

36 Her lip quivered and she hastily put her handkerchief up to her mouth. From behind it she murmured, And you have been hearing this ever since you left me, Clark? Her question was the gentlest and saddest of reproaches. My aunt wept quietly, but almost continuously, as a shallow vessel overflows in a rainstorm.

37 The next beautiful sentence is yours to write!

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