patterns for sentence variety n.
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Patterns for Sentence Variety. Conscious practice in imitating the following sentence patterns can contribute a great deal to improving sentence style—one of the most decisive factors in creating lively, effective writing.

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Conscious practice in imitating the following sentence patterns can contribute a great deal to improving sentence style—one of the most decisive factors in creating lively, effective writing.

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There are a wide variety of types of modifying structures available to writers in English. The best way to master each structure is to practice creating sentences by imitating each specific model. Gradually, these structures will become part of your unconscious mental process and will come to mind just as needed to shape a particular thought.

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Method # 1

Vary simple sentences with different types of modifying elements.

1 free modifier s
1. Free modifier(s):
  • The whirlwind descended, turning furiously, howling like a train, lifting the lawn chairs up and away.
2 a series of modifiers most effective in triplets
2. A series of modifiers (most effective in triplets):
  • With passion, clarity, and simplicity, our president spelled out her vision for our club.
3 a series of balanced pairs
3. A series of balanced pairs:
  • His youth and inexperience, his intelligence and creativity, his desire for revenge and need to bejustified brought about Hamlet’s downfall.
4 nominative absolute
4. Nominative absolute:
  • I noticed the trash can had been toppled over, its contents spilling forth in a neat array.
5 an internal series of appositives or modifiers
5. An internal series of appositives or modifiers:
  • The steps in building a house—finding an architect, deciding on a builder, getting the financing—can turn a dream into a nightmare.
6 an interrupting modifier between a subject and verb
6. An interrupting modifier between a subject and verb:
  • A red rose petal, lyingstill on the damp ground, made me think about my good fortune.
7 introductory participles singly or in a series
7. Introductory participles, singly or in a series:
  • Fumbling with the year-old magazine, looking for something to occupy his mind, the expectant father passed the longest hours of his life in the waiting room.
8 gerund phrases in noun slots
8. Gerund phrases in noun slots:
  • Going to the station seemed his most difficult task. He soon found racing for a departing train worse.
9 infinitive phrases in noun adverb and adjective slots
9. Infinitive phrases in noun, adverb, and adjective slots:
  • To run for office is challenging. Voting wisely to represent your constituents fairly is a goal to be aimed for daily.
10 a single modifier out of place for emphasis
10. A single modifier out of place for emphasis:
  • Above, the Canadian geese formed a nearly perfect “V.”
11 an introductory prepositional phrase
11. An introductory prepositional phrase:
  • Throughout the house an eerie light shone.
12 an object or complement before the subject and verb
12. An object or complement before the subject and verb:
  • Her approach to being successful I did not appreciate.
13 tripled verbs in a simple sentence
13. Tripled verbs in a simple sentence:
  • Clare crouched quietly, looked left and right, and then sprang over the little creek.
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Method # 2

Vary sentence structures by combining simple sentences to create compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences.

1 compound sentence with coordinating conjunctions
1. Compound sentence with coordinating conjunctions:
  • It was spring, and the jonquils bloomed gloriously on the hillsides and in the gardens of small houses.
2 compound sentence with semi colon
2. Compound sentence with semi-colon:
  • The azaleas bloomed early this spring; they are breathtakingly beautiful.
3 compound sentence with elliptical construction
3. Compound sentence with elliptical construction:
  • A soccer team has a coach; a baseball team, a manager.
4 compound sentence with explanatory statement connected by colon
4. Compound sentence with explanatory statement connected by colon:
  • Your answer left me encouraged: I now have reason to hope where I had not hoped before.
5 compound complex sentence with conjunctive adverb
5. Compound-complex sentence with conjunctive adverb:
  • Robert’s most important accomplishment was his excellent timing in a sprint;nevertheless, he chose to run the marathon because he wanted to develop a broader range of skills.
6 complex sentence with adjective clause
6. Complex sentence with adjective clause:
  • Michael is the candidate who will win the contest.
7 complex sentence with adverb clause
7. Complex sentence with adverb clause:
  • After the ship came, Sean was ready to leave the docks.
8 subordinate clause filling a noun slot
8. Subordinate clause filling a noun slot:
  • That this décor is the most satisfying for long periods is supported by its long-term popularity.
9 complex sentence with series of dependent clauses
9. Complex sentence with series of dependent clauses:
  • When he heard the twig snap, when he saw the intruder, the ranger immediately signaled to spring the trap.
10 define a repeated term with a subordinate clause
10. Define a repeated term with a subordinate clause:
  • I had intended to give the same old speech, aspeech that I had used the last time I announced I was a candidate.
11 repetition of the same words ideas in a parallel structure
11. Repetition of the same words/ideas in a parallel structure:
  • Few would be willing to work so hard for so little pay; fewer still would do so for so no pay.
12 parallel constructions with coorelative conjunctions
12. Parallel constructions with coorelative conjunctions:
  • Each man lives notonly his own personal life, but also the life of his era.