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by Marie L. Waddell Robert M. Esch Roberta R. Walker Barron's Educational Series; 3rd edition (Aug. 1993). The Art of Styling Sentences: 20 Patterns for Success. PATTERN 1: Compound sentence: semicolon, no conjunction (2 short, related sentences now joined) S V ; S V .

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the art of styling sentences 20 patterns for success

Marie L. Waddell

Robert M. Esch

Roberta R. Walker

Barron's Educational

Series; 3rd edition

(Aug. 1993)

The Art of Styling Sentences: 20 Patterns for Success

PATTERN 1: Compound sentence: semicolon, no conjunction

(2 short, related sentences now joined)

SV ; SV .

What precedes and what follows the

semicolon must be capable of standing alone.

pattern 1
Pattern 1


a. Try on this jacket; it seems to be your size.

b. Hard work is only one side of the equation; talent is the other.

c. Some people dream of being something; others stay awake and are.

d. “E.T., don’t phone home; it’s too expensive.”

– El Paso Herald-Post

e. “Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.” – Aesop

f. “Forget defensive driving; practice paranoid driving.” – Jim Lanham, El Paso Herald-Post

A friend whom you have been gaining

during your whole life you ought not to

be displeased with in a moment.  A

stone is many years becoming a ruby;

take care that you do not destroy it in

an instant against another stone.

~ Saadi (Sheikh Muslih Addin)

Iranian poet; c. 1184–?1292

pattern 1a s v however s v
PATTERN 1ASV ; however, SV .

Use a conjunctive adverb (connector)

such as however, hence, therefore, thus,

then, moreover, nevertheless, likewise,

consequently, or accordingly.

The comma after the connector is

optional; however, I recommend using

one if you use a polysyllabic

conjunctive adverb.

pattern 1a
Pattern 1A


a. David had worked in the steaming jungle for two years without leave; hence he was tired almost beyond endurance.

b. This gadget won’t work; therefore, you shouldn’t buy it.

PATTERN 1B: Use a coordinating conjunction (also a connector)

such as and, or, for, but, nor, yet, or so.

SV ; SV , and SV.


SV, but SV ; SV .

pattern 1b model


a. It was radical; it was daring, but mostly it was cheap.

b. The snow fell rapidly, and in the building Harold felt safe; he dreaded leaving his shelter for the long, dangerous trip home.

pattern 1c s v s v s v

a. “Blot out vain pomp; check impulse; quench appetite; keep reason under its own control.” – Marcus Aurelius

b. “Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is the freshness of the deep spring of life.”

– Stanley Ullman,

15th-century French essayist

pattern 2

Compound sentence with elliptical construction

S V DO or SC ; S , DO or SC.


(comma indicates the omitted verb)

Elliptical clauses add elegance and efficiency to your sentences.

elements of elliptical clauses
Elements of elliptical clauses:
  • grammatically incomplete
  • missing either the relative pronoun (dependent word) that introduces it . . .
  • . . . or something from the predicate in the second part of a comparison
  • missing parts are understood in context
  • reader probably not aware that anything is missing
pattern 21
  • This is really the same as Pattern 1, but here the verb in the second clause is omitted BECAUSE and ONLY IF it would needlessly repeat the verb of the first clause, which must be exactly the same.
  • If you leave out more than the verb, you may need to insert a word, such as one, here.
  • It is also possible to omit more than just the verb; sometimes you may even omit the subject.
pattern 2 models
Pattern 2 Models


  • Jessica had five dollars; Monica, three. (The verb had was dropped from the second clause, but the meaning is still clear.)
  • A red light means stop; a green light, go.
  • For many students the new math crusade of

the 1950s was a disaster; for others, a godsend.

d. Tom played a musical number by Bach; Jed, one by


e. An artist’s instinct is intuitive, not rational; aesthetic,

not pragmatic.

f. Washington, D.C., has 92 police officers per 10,000 people; New Jersey, 41; West Virginia, 16.

pattern 3 compound sentence with an explanatory statement
PATTERN 3compound sentence with an explanatory statement

SV : SV.

General statement (idea) specific statement (example)

_____________________ : _________________________

(an independent clause) (an independent clause)


When he is dying, Giles Corey murmurs these famous words: “More weight.”

  • “Adultery, John”—Elizabeth reminds John of his broken commandment.
  • I take the fifth commandment a step farther: Honor your teachers.

a. Darwin’s Origin of Species forcibly states a harsh truth: only the fittest survive.

b. A lizard never worries about losing its tail: it can always grow another.

c. Don’t forget what the old saying prudently advises: Be careful what you wish for because you may actually get it.

  • When you are faced with hard times, remember Edwin Markham’s inspiring words: “Sorrows

stretch out places in the heart for joy.”

SP 3
  • A colonsignals that something important or explanatory will follow and indicates that the second clause will specifically explain or expand an idea expressed in the first clause.
  • Capitalization of the first word after the colon is a matter of personal taste and style; however, do capitalize the first word when quoting someone.
  • Remember the test for every compound sentence: both clauses must be full statements and capable of standing alone as sentences.
pattern 3 model

Nothing makes the earth seem

so spacious as to have friends at

a distance: they make the

latitudes and longitudes.

~Henry David Thoreau

pattern 3a compound sentence using a dash
PATTERN 3Acompound sentence using a dash

SV – SV.

A. Specific statement (example) general statement (idea)

________________________ – _________________________

(an independent clause) (an independent clause)

  • The second statement may also signify a break in thought.

Because a dash is more informal,

use this structure sparingly.

what is the difference between a semicolon a colon and a dash
What is the difference between a semicolon, a colon, and a dash?
  • The semicolon is the neutral choice.
  • Use a colon to amplify or illustrate the first clause (general > specific).
  • A dash signals an abrupt change of tone or thought; a dash gives force to an added idea.
pattern 3a models
  • Only one man knew the safe’s combination – he was out of town.
  • Eva said nothing could stop her from attending college – she meant it.
  • “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” – Following this commandment might keep teens from gossiping about their peers.
complete the best punctuation or
Complete the best punctuation (; or :)
  • We do not ride upon the railroad __ it rides upon us.
  • Minds are like parachutes __ they function only when open.
  • Half of all advertising is wasted __ no one knows which half.
pattern 3a model
  • Where and how would you connect these two independent clauses?
  • “All successful men have agreed in one thing they were causationists” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

A series of parallel items

(in any part of the sentence)

separated by commas

but without a conjunction

A, B, C S V.

S V A, B, C.

ap term to know asyndeton
AP term to know: asyndeton

the deliberate omission of conjunctions in a

series of related clauses


  • may speed up the pace of a work
  • may add emphasis to text
  • adds a degree of equality to the terms
pattern 4 model

a. The coach is loud, profane, demonstrative; he has again been trapped, caught, humiliated.

b. With wisdom, patience, virtue, Queen Victoria directed the course of 19th-century England.

c. “And [the film star] looks every inch the actor: painted, powdered, affected, vain, insecure, unreal, quite frightening, grotesque.”

– Dundan Fallowell, European Travel and Life, Sept. 1990

d. “Our priorities run to safety over style, value over flash, comfort over speed.” – Caroline Miller, Lear, April 1993

e. “She was attentive, friendly, even casual – not really different from her demeanor at any other meeting, though her mind must have been racing.”

– Gregory Curtis, Time, Jan. 8, 2001

PATTERN 4A:a series with conjunctions between all items (but usually not more than three); series may be in any place in the sentence

A and B and C S V.

S V A or B or C.

ap term to know polysyndeton

AP term to know: polysyndeton

the deliberate use of many conjunctions for special emphasis


creates a flowing, continuous sentence


highlights quantity or mass of detail

may slow down the pace of a work

4 a models

a. Peering down from the hill, Merlin could see the castle swathed in gloom and fear and death.

b. Despite his handicaps, I have never seen Frank angry or cross or depressed.

c. Collies and geese and children tumbled out of the farmhouses in Alsace Lorraine, barking or hissing or shouting according to their unique French natures.

pattern 4a model

Time draweth wrinkles in a fair face

but addeth fresh colors to a fast friend,

which neither heat nor cold nor misery

nor place nor destiny can alter or


~Eng. Renaissance poet, wit, and playwright John Lyly [1554-1606]

pattern 5

This series of an even number of balanced pairs joined by a coordinating conjunction creates a balanced rhythm.

(The even number of items may be in any slot in the sentence.)

A and B, C and D, E and F S V .

pattern 5 model

a. The actual herbs in special vinegars – thyme and basil, rosemary and garlic, hot pepper and chive – float in beautifully designed bottles.

b. Eager yet fearful, confident but somewhat suspicious, Joe eyed the barber who would give him his first haircut.

c. The story of Spain is a history of kings and poets, saints and conquistadores, emperors and revolutionaries, Cervantes and Picasso, Franco and Juan Carlos, the Alhambra and the Escorial.

what is an appositive
What is an appositive?
  • An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that renames another noun right beside it. The appositive can be a short or long combination of words.
  • All modern American literature comes from one book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
  • Huck’s friend Tom gets all his ideas from reading.
PATTERN 6: an introductory series of appositives (parallel in structure and related in meaning) with a dash and a summarizing subject

APP, APP, APP – summary word SV.

pattern 6 cont
PATTERN 6 (cont.)

Sample summary words = such, all, those, this, many, each, which, what, these, something, someone

Bull riding, camel racing, bronco riding, and roping – these events mean “rodeo” to many people; they mean money to the cowboy.

pattern 6 cont1
Pattern 6 (cont.)
  • Vanity, greed, corruption – which serves as the novel’s source of conflict?
  • The tea tax, the lack of representation, the distance from the mother country, the growing sense of being a new and independent nation – what do you think caused the American Revolution?
pattern 6 model
Pattern 6 model
  • Newspapers, novels, magazines – these sources help time pass quickly for travelers.
  • Sleeping late, going out with friends, catching up on movies – which of these activities will you enjoy over the long weekend?
write your own pattern 6


TV shows

Recording artists






Places you hope to visit




Video games

Write your own pattern 6:
pattern 7 an internal series of appositives or modifiers enclosed by a pair of dashes
PATTERN 7: An internal series of appositives or modifiers enclosed by a pair of dashes

S—appositive, appositive, appositive—V.

S—modifier, modifier, modifier—V.

pattern 7 examples
PATTERN 7 examples
  • The much despised predators – mountain lions, timber wolves and grizzly bears – have been shot, trapped and poisoned so relentlessly for so long that they have nearly vanished from their old haunts.
  • Many of the books kids enjoy reading – Little Women, Jane Eyre, David Copperfield – portray women in traditional and often uncomplimentary


  • The basic fencing moves – the advance, the retreat, the lunge – demand careful balance by both fencers.
pattern 7a a single appositive or a pair enclosed by two dashes or two commas
PATTERN 7A: A single appositive or a pairenclosed by two dashes or two commas.

You may use parentheses, but

(a) a pair of dashes makes the appositive dramatic,

(b) parentheses will make it almost whisper, and

(c) commas are ordinary.

pattern 7a model

S — appositive — V.

S, appositive, V.

pattern 7a examples
PATTERN 7A Examples

a. A sudden explosion – artillery fire – signaled the deadly assault.

b. A familiar smell – fresh blood – assailed his jungle-trained nostrils.

c. My current plan, to change my major from marketing to civil engineering, is on hold for the moment.

d. A popular theory among climatologists (the greenhouse effect) suggests how the earth’s changing temperature threatens humanity.

e. The new slogan – “See Texas First” – promotes tourism.

f. The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, is a man whom the world will never forget.

  • The show’s famous motto – ”Live long and prosper” – proved to be downright prophetic.
  • Although he occasionally puts his head down, the student – obviously not asleep – quickly refocuses when reprimanded.
pattern 8
  • PATTERN 8 : Dependent clauses in a pair or in a series at the beginning or end of a sentence
  • If . . . , if . . . , if . . . , then S V.
  • When . . . , when . . . , when . . . , S V.
  • S Vthat . . . , that . . . , that . . .
pattern 8 model

a. When he smelled the pungent odor of pine, when he heard the chatter of jays interrupting the silence, when he saw the startled doe, the hunter knew he had reached the center of the forest.

b. Whether one needs fantasy or whether one needs stark realism, the theater can become a mirror of life.

c. Frieda was convinced that her point of view was the right one, that she was entitled to act on it, and that ultimately her parents would approve.

pattern 9

Repetition of a key term

in a modifying phrase

repeated key term

S V key termjoined by in a phrase –

a dash or a comma not in anindependent clause

uses for pattern 9
Uses for pattern 9
  • This pattern is helpful when you have mentioned a number of similar ideas in several sentences.
  • Repetitions help echo key words, emphasize important ideas, unify sentences, or develop coherence among sentences.
  • Repetition is appropriate in different positions in the same sentence and in the same position of the sentence. For example, the same preposition is repeated in a series, or the same word is used as the object of different prepositions.
  • Be sure that the word is worthy of repetition.
Although the repetition may occur anywhere, a key word is often most effective toward the end.
  • Or, if you have a key word in the subject slot, the repetition may be a part of an interrupting modifier.
  • Regarding punctuation, remember that a dash suggests a longer pause, a greater break in thought than a comma.
  • Y ou may change the form of the repeated word, but be sure it is worthy of repetition. Use a dash or comma before the repetition, depending on your intended meaning.
which sentence correctly meets the criteria for sp 9
Which sentence correctly meets the criteria for SP 9?
  • He was a good father, providing a good home for his good children.
  • He was a cruel brute of a man, he was brutal to his family and even more brutal to his friends.
  • He was a cruel brute of a man, brutal to his family and even more brutal to his friends.
pattern 9 models

a. We all inhabit a mysterious world – the inner world, the world of the mind.

b. Neither the warning in the tarot cards – an ominous warning about the dangers of air flight – nor the one on her ouija board could deter Marsha from volunteering for the first Mars shot.

  • He praises the beauty of his love, a love unfortunately hopeless because it is not mutual.
  • Looking into the mansion, we saw great splotches of mud on the marble, marble that only that morning had shone from Cinderella’s meticulous efforts.
  • “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” (Winston Churchill)
pattern 9a same word repeated in parallel structure
PATTERN 9A: Same word repeated in parallel structure

S V repeated key word in same position of the sentence.

  • the repetition at the end of successive sentences or lines of the last word or phrase of a clause, sentence or line
  • May be found in SP 9A sentences
  • Example from the Gettysburg Address: “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
pattern 9a models

a. His greatest discoveries, his greatest successes, his greatest influence upon the world’s daily life came to Edison only after repeated failure. (effective adjective)

b. The city itself sets the pace for Venetians – for their leisure, for their tasks, for their efforts, and for their hopes. (same preposition)

c. Government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. (object of different prepositions)

d. Audrey appeared really chic, really classic, really blasé. (adverb or intensifier)

e. Sam devoted his life to those selfish people, for their selfish cause, but clearly with his own selfish motives dominating his every action. (same modifying word in phrases that begin with different prepositions)

f. “It isn’t always others who enslave us. Sometimes we let circumstances enslave us; sometimes we let routine enslave us; sometimes we let things enslave us; sometimes, with weak will we enslave ourselves.” – Richard Evans’ Quote Book (same verb or alternative forms of same word)

pattern 10
  • PATTERN 10: Emphatic appositive at end and after a colon

S V word (or idea): the appositive (the second naming)

(with or without modifiers)

pattern 10 model

a. Atop the back of the lobster is a collection of trash: tiny starfish, moss, sea conchs, crabs, pieces of kelp.

b. Anyone left abandoned on a desert should avoid two dangers: cactus needles and rattlesnakes.

c. Airport thieves have a common target: unwary travelers.

pattern 10a

Appositive (single or pair or series) after a dash or a colon

S V word – the appositive

(echoed idea or second naming)

A DASH almost always precedes a short, climactic appositive,

whereas a COLON generally precedes a longer appositive.

pattern 10a model

a. Adjusting to a new job requires one quality above all others – a sense of humor.

b. Many traditional philosophies echo the ideas of one man – Plato.

c. The grasping of seaweeds reveals the most resourceful part of the sea horse – its prehensile tail.

d. The Greeks’ defeat by Alexander could have been averted if they had listened to their most astute statesman: Demosthenes, the brilliant adviser of the Athenians.

pattern 11 interrupting modifier between s and v
PATTERN 11: Interrupting modifier between S and V

The word stressed is a modifier rather than an appositive, as in pattern 10.

Choose the punctuation pairs to set it off

according to the type of emphasis you want to give the modifier.

pattern 11 model

1. A small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, can make millions think.

2. Rare meat, even though containing more natural juices than well-done meat, is chewier.

3. Mule deer (once common throughout North America) are now almost extinct.

4. Curanderos – often seen in many urban barrios and rural areas in the Southwest – combine herbs, massage, and prayer into a magical healing process.

5. Relaxation and informality are important parts of our fantasies about life in a tropical paradise; once you get accustomed to having twenty people waiting on you hand and foot (it doesn’t take very long), you no longer feel like a guest.

pattern 11a a full sentence statement or question or exclamation as interrupting modifier
PATTERN 11A: A full sentence(statement or question or exclamation) as interrupting modifier