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Spice Up Your Writing with Sentence Variety.

Spice Up Your Writing with Sentence Variety.

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Spice Up Your Writing with Sentence Variety.

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  1. Variety is the Spice of Life! Spice Up Your Writing with Sentence Variety. by Carol Dillon

  2. Why Sentence Variety? If our sentences feel, sound or look the same, they may… • Distract readers • Cause them to lose interest • Shift their attention from our message to our writing style • some options . . .

  3. Spice up yourwriting . . .vary yoursentences ~Sentence Length~ ~Sentence Structure~

  4. Sentence Subject Verb Clause Independent Clause Dependent Clause Definitions Needed

  5. Definitions (cont.) A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. Francine dances. A subject is what the sentence is about. Francine dances. A verb is a word that expresses an action or links the subject to the rest of the sentence. Francine is a professional dancer. Francine dances in competitions.

  6. Definitions (cont.) • Clause – a group of words that contains a subject and a verb that indicates time. • An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence. Francine (subject) dances (verb that indicates present time).

  7. Definitions (cont.) A dependent clause cannot stand alone - it depends on another clause. While Francine dances (dependent), she always smiles (independent). Notice that the word “while” makes this clause dependent.

  8. Spice it up… Sentence Length ~Short~ ~Long~

  9. Use Short Sentences Spice it up…vary length • Save for important statements • Use to emphasize critical information The people of this small nation stood together against tyranny and won. Methamphetamine labs pose a threat to every person in every community.

  10. Long Sentences:Coordinate Ideas Short: The federal government needed to raise taxes. Lawmakers knew that the people would object. Revised: The federal government needed to raise taxes; lawmakers knew that the people would object. or... Spice it up…vary length

  11. Relate Coordinating Ideas: Use a Comma with a Coordinating Conjunction The federal government needed to raise taxes, but legislators knew that the people would object. OR The federal government needed to raise taxes, and legislators knew that the people would object. but and for nor or so yet Spice it up…vary length

  12. Relate Coordinating Ideas: Use a “Heavier” Conjunction • Use words like however, therefore, consequently, etc. after a semicolon to show the relationship of the two ideas. • Follow the word showing the relationship with a comma. (These conjunctions are always set apart from the rest of the sentence with commas.) The federal government needed to raise taxes; however, lawmakers knew that the people would object. Spice it up…vary length

  13. Short: Sandy had a headache. She was in no mood to watch Desperate Housewives with her roommates. Add a condition (if, because, although, when, etc.) to make one of the ideas dependent on the other. Subordinate LessImportant Ideas Revised: Because Sandy had a headache, she was in no mood to watch Desperate Housewives with her roommates. Spice it up…vary length

  14. Spice it up… Sentence Structure ~Adverbs~ ~Prepositional Phrases~ ~Appositives~ ~ed Verb Forms~ ~ing Verb Forms~ ~Adjectives Clauses~

  15. Begin the sentence with an adverb. (a word that tells how, when, why, etc.) We walked slowly over the icy sidewalks to the cafeteria. Revised:Slowly we walked over the icy sidewalks to the cafeteria. (for emphasis, add a comma after the adverb) Slowly, we walked over the icy sidewalks. Start with an Adverb Spice it up…vary structure

  16. Start witha Prepositional Phrase Chuck could see from his window the frozen pond and wondered if he could finally skate on it. Revised:From his window Chuck could see the frozen pond and wondered if he could finally skate on it. (Note: If the prepositional phrase is 4 or more words, add a comma after the phrase.) Spice it up…vary structure

  17. Use an Appositive Margaret was an avid reader. She would devour two or three books every weekend. Revised:An avid reader, Margaret would devour two or three books every weekend. OR Margaret, an avid reader, would devour two or three books every weekend. • A noun or noun phrase that identifies something or someone Spice it up…vary structure

  18. Use an –ed Verb Form Jenny was renowned for her landscape paintings. She also had a reputation as a skillful portrait artist. Revised:Renowned for her landscape paintings, Jenny also had a reputation as a skillful portrait artist. Spice it up…vary structure

  19. Use an –ing Verb Form Henry traveled across the country interviewing the homeless. He was gathering information for a book. Revised:Gathering information for a new book, Henry traveled across the country interviewing the homeless. Spice it up…vary structure

  20. Use Adjective Clausesto Join Ideas Settlers often transported all of their possessions in covered wagons. They could take only the essentials to start a new life. Revised: Settlers, who could take only the essentials to start a new life, often transported all of their possessions in covered wagons. Spice it up…vary structure

  21. Summary The content of your paper may be fascinating, but if your sentences are the same length and/or the same structure, readers will likely judge your writing to be boring.

  22. Practice These Techniques Try varying the sentences in one of your own paragraphs. OR Vary the sentences in the paragraph that follows.

  23. Sentence Variety Exercise Read the following paragraph, noting the places where it could be revised. The local community wanted to get involved with a recycling program. They knew that the alternative was building another landfill. The city council met in a special session. They decided to get bids for curbside service from two local companies and three companies outside the city. The bids were all unfortunately about the same amount. The council decided to sign a 10-year contract with one of the local companies. The company chosen had been a part of the community for almost 20 years. It had a sterling reputation for its dependability. The members of the community have overwhelmingly supported the new program. They are excited about contributing to their community and the environment. Write your revision of this paragraph below. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  24. A Revised Version The local community wanted to get involved with a recycling program because the people knew that the alternative was building another landfill. Meeting in a special session, the city council decided to get bids for curbside service from two local companies and three companies outside the city. Unfortunately, the bids were all about the same amount. The company chosen, a part of the community for almost 20 years, had a sterling reputation for its dependability. Overwhelmingly, the members of the community have supported the new program and are excited about contributing to their community and the environment.

  25. Needs Revision: The local community wanted to get involved with a recycling program. They knew that the alternative was building another landfill. The city council met in a special session. They decided to get bids for curbside service from two local companies and three companies outside the city. The bids were all unfortunately about the same amount. The council decided to sign a 10-year contract with one of the local companies. The company chosen had been a part of the community for almost 20 years. It had a sterling reputation for its dependability. The members of the community have overwhelmingly supported the new program. They are excited about contributing to their community and the environment. Revised: The local community wanted to get involved with a recycling program because the people knew that the alternative was building another landfill. Meeting in a special session, the city council decided to get bids for curbside service from two local companies and three companies outside the city. Unfortunately, the bids were all about the same amount. The company chosen, a part of the community for almost 20 years, had a sterling reputation for its dependability. Overwhelmingly, the members of the community have supported the new program and are excited about contributing to their community and the environment. Side-By-Side They Look Like This

  26. Brought to you by… The WRITING CENTER Arts & Sciences Hall, 150 University of Nebraska at Omaha