Five useful sentence patterns:. 1. The Actor Action Object sentence. Example: The balance sheet showed a significant loss. 2. The -ing or -ed opening with a comma. Example:Rifling through his papers, the salesman found the missing receipt.
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1. The Actor Action Object sentence.
Example: The balance sheet showed a significant loss.
2. The -ing or -ed opening with a comma.
Example:Rifling through his papers, the salesman found the
3. The -ing beginning without a comma.
Example: Joining Ralph meant everything to Sarah.
4. The middle break.
Example: Traffic snarled in front of the plant; Mr. Todd had
been playing police officer again.
3. The guide-word beginning.
Example: Reluctantly, the manager ordered the plant closed.
Not:The promotion of creative
employees is the policy of this
Instead:This company promotes
Convert weak verbs into strong verbs by asking “Who did what?”
Not:The account was handled
Instead:Jack Bevins handled the account carelessly.
Notice that passive verbs often leave out the subject of the sentence.
Not:The unification of companies will prove beneficial to the establishment of financial arrangements more conducive to solvency and profitability.
Instead:Merging our companies will help solve our money problems.
Change heavy nouns to simple nouns, inserting verbs where possible.
Not:Please write a minorities opportunity evaluation report.
Instead:Please write a report evaluating opportunities for minorities.
Change some nouns to verbs, inserting prepositions where possible.
Not:There are two financial packages suited to our needs.
Instead:Two financial packages suit our needs.
Put important words at the beginning of the sentence.
Monotony:A meeting was held last Thursday. It was decided that the milling machine was beyond repair. A budget was established for rebuilding the machine. This repair should take approximately three weeks.
Variety:At last Thursday’s meeting, managers approved a budget for the repair of the milling machine. Barring unforeseen problems, repairs should take three weeks.
Readers prefer short sentences that can be read easily.
Not:We reviewed the benefits package. The benefits package provided for most of
the health needs of employees.
Instead:We reviewed the benefits package and determined that it provided for most of the health needs of employees.
Instead:We reviewed the benefits package, which provided for most of the health needs of employees.
Change repeated nouns to synonyms, inserting verbs where possible.
Not:We ran an advertisement in a trade journal in May for a manager of the sales division at our subsidiary in Wisconsin.
Instead:In May we ran a trade journal advertisement seeking a sales manager for our Wisconsin subsidiary.
Avoid long strings of prepositional phrases by converting them into two- or three-word descriptive phrases.