Learning Objectives

Identify ways to vary sentence structure.Write and also revise sentence structure at the start of sentences.Write and revise sentence framework by connecting ideas.

You are watching: When editing your draft, how can you use underlining to include sentences of varying length?

Have you ever before ordered a dish in a restaurant and been not happy v its taste, also though it had most of her favorite ingredients? simply as a meal might lack the finishing touches necessary to spice that up, so too could a i contain all the straightforward components but still absence the stylistic finesse compelled to engage a reader. Sometimes writers have actually a propensity to reuse the same sentence sample throughout their writing. Like any repetitive task, reading text that includes too countless sentences v the exact same length and structure can end up being monotonous and boring. Proficient writers mix it increase by utilizing an assortment that sentence patterns, rhythms, and lengths.

In this chapter, you will certainly follow a student named Naomi who has written a draft of one essay however needs come refine her writing. This ar discusses how to present sentence range into writing, exactly how to open up sentences utilizing a selection of techniques, and also how to usage different species of sentence structure as soon as connecting ideas. You have the right to use these approaches when amendment a file to carry life and also rhythm to your work. Castle will additionally make analysis your work more enjoyable.

Incorporating Sentence Variety

Experienced authors incorporate sentence range into their creating by varying sentence style and also structure. Using a mixture of different sentence frameworks reduces repetition and adds focus to vital points in the text. Review the adhering to example:

During my time in office i have completed several goals. I have actually helped increase funding for local schools. Ns have lessened crime prices in the neighborhood. Ns have urged young human being to get associated in their community. My competitor argues that she is the better choice in the upcoming election. Ns argue that it is ridiculous to resolve something that isn’t broken. If you reelect me this year, i promise to proceed to offer this community.

In this extract indigenous an choice campaign, the writer supplies short, an easy sentences the a similar length and also style. Writers often mistakenly think that this technique makes the text more clear for the reader, however the result is a choppy, unsophisticated i that does no grab the audience’s attention. Currently read the revised paragraph through sentence variety:

During my time in office, I have actually helped increase funding for regional schools, decreased crime rates in the neighborhood, and also encouraged young people to get affiliated in your community. Why solve what no broken? If you reelect me this year, i will continue to achieve good things because that this community. Don’t take a possibility on an unknown contender; vote for the proven success.

Notice exactly how introducing a short rhetorical question amongst the much longer sentences in the i is an effective way of keeping the reader’s attention. In the amendment version, the writer combine the choppy sentence at the start into one longer sentence, which to add rhythm and also interest come the paragraph.


Effective writers often implement the “rule that three,” which is basically the assumed that points that save on computer three elements are much more memorable and an ext satisfying to readers than any type of other number. Try to use a collection of 3 when giving examples, grouping adjectives, or generating a list.

Exercise 1

Combine each collection of an easy sentences right into a link or a facility sentence. Compose the combined sentence top top your own sheet that paper.

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug. Thousands of heroin addicts dice each year.Shakespeare’s writing is still relevant today. He wrote around timeless themes. These themes encompass love, hate, jealousy, death, and destiny.Gay marital relationship is currently legal in six states. Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, brand-new Hampshire, and Maine all permit same-sex marriage. Various other states are likely to follow their example.Prewriting is a an essential stage that the creating process. Prewriting helps you organize your ideas. Species of prewriting encompass outlining, brainstorming, and idea mapping.Mitch Bancroft is a renowned writer. He likewise serves together a governor on the neighborhood school board. Mitch’s two children attend the school.


Please share with a classmate and also compare your answers.

Using Sentence variety at the beginning of Sentences

Read the following sentences and also consider what lock all have actually in common:

John and also Amanda will certainly be examining this week’s financial report.

The auto screeched come a halt simply a few inches away from the young boy.

Students rarely come to the test adequately prepared.

If friend are having actually trouble figuring the end why this sentences are similar, try underlining the topic in each. You will notification that the topic is positioned at the beginning of every sentence—John and Amanda, the car, students. Because the subject-verb-object pattern is the simplest sentence structure, many writers tend to overuse this technique, which can result in repetitive paragraphs with little sentence variety.

Naomi wrote an essay about the 2008 federal government bailout. Check out this excerpt native Naomi’s essay:


This ar examines several means to introduce sentence selection at the beginning of sentences, utilizing Naomi’s essay as an example.

Starting a Sentence with an Adverb

One an approach you deserve to use so regarding avoid start a sentence v the subject is to use an adverb. An adverb is a native that defines a verb, adjective, or various other adverb and also often end in –ly. Examples of adverbs incorporate quickly, softly, quietly, angrily, and timidly. Read the complying with sentences:

She slowly turned the corner and also peered right into the murky basement.

Slowly, she turned the corner and also peered into the murky basement.

In the 2nd sentence, the adverb slowly is placed at the start of the sentence. If you review the two sentences aloud, girlfriend will notification that relocating the adverb transforms the valuation of the sentence and also slightly transforms its meaning. The 2nd sentence emphasizes just how the topic moves—slowly—creating a buildup of tension. This method is efficient in fictional writing.

Note the an adverb used at the beginning of a sentence is usually followed by a comma. A comma suggests that the reader must pause briefly, which creates a advantageous rhetorical device. Read the complying with sentences aloud and consider the result of pausing after the adverb:

Cautiously, the unlocked the kennel and waited because that the dog’s reaction.

Solemnly, the policeman approached the mayor and placed him under arrest.

Suddenly, he slammed the door shut and sprinted across the street.

In an scholastic essay, moving an adverb come the start of a sentence serves to vary the rate of a paragraph and increase sentence variety.


Naomi has used 2 adverbs in she essay that might be relocated to the beginning of their respective sentences. An alert how the following revised version creates a an ext varied paragraph:


Adverbs of time—adverbs that suggest when an activity takes place—do not always require a comma when used at the start of a sentence. Adverbs of time encompass words such together yesterday, today, later, sometimes, often, and also now.

Exercise 2

On your own sheet of paper, rewrite the complying with sentences by moving the adverb to the beginning.

The red van sped furiously past the camper van, blaring the horn.Jeff snatched at the bread hungrily, polishing off 3 slices in under a minute.Underage drinking frequently results from peer pressure and lack the parental attention.The firefighters bravely tackled the blaze, yet they were beaten back by flames.Mayor Johnson privately identified that the spending plan was excessive and also that further conversation was needed.


Please share through a classmate and also compare your answers.

Starting a Sentence with a prepositional Phrase

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that behaves together an adjective or an adverb, editing a noun or a verb. Prepositional phrases contain a preposition (a indigenous that mentions place, direction, or time) and an item of the preposition (a noun phrase or pronoun that adheres to the preposition).

Table 7.1 usual Prepositions


In this sentence, the prepositional phrase is underneath the table. The preposition underneath relates come the object that complies with the preposition—the table. Adjectives might be placed between the preposition and also the object in a preposition phrase.

Some preposition phrases have the right to be relocated to the beginning of a sentence in order come create range in a item of writing. Look at the following revised sentence:

Notice that as soon as the prepositional expression is moved to the start of the sentence, the emphasis shifts from the subject—the terrified child—to the ar in i m sorry the son is hiding. Words that are placed at the start or end of a sentence generally receive the biggest emphasis. Take it a look in ~ the following examples. The prepositional expression is underlined in each:

The bandaged male waited in the doctor’s office.

In the doctor’s office, the bandaged man waited.

My train pipeline the terminal at 6:45 a.m.

At 6:45 a.m., my train leaves the station.

Teenagers exchange drugs and also money under the railway bridge.

Under the railway bridge, teenagers exchange drugs and also money.

Prepositional phrases are helpful in any type of writing. Take one more look in ~ Naomi’s essay on the government bailout.

The underlined words room all preposition phrases. Notice how they include additional information to the message and provide a feeling of flow to the essay, do it less choppy and much more pleasurable come read.

Unmovable prepositional Phrases

Not every prepositional phrases have the right to be placed at the start of a sentence. Review the following sentence:

In this sentence, without whipped cream is the preposition phrase. Because it explains the cacao sundae, it cannot be moved to the beginning of the sentence. “Without whipped cream i would prefer a coco sundae” does not make as lot (if any) sense. To determine whether a prepositional phrase have the right to be moved, we must identify the an interpretation of the sentence.

Overuse of prepositional Phrases

Experienced writers often include more than one prepositional phrase in a sentence; however, the is necessary not to overload your writing. Using too many modifiers in a i may produce an unintentionally comical effect as the following instance shows:

The endowment lay hidden under the old oak tree, behind the crumbling fifteenth-century wall, close to the schoolyard, where youngsters played merrily during their lunch hour, unaware of the riches that remained covert beneath your feet.

A sentence is no necessarily reliable just due to the fact that it is long and also complex. If your sentence shows up cluttered v prepositional phrases, division it into two much shorter sentences. The vault sentence is far an ext effective as soon as written as two easier sentences:

The endowment lay hidden under the old oak tree, behind the crumbling fifteenth-century wall. In the surrounding schoolyard, kids played merrily throughout their lunch hour, unaware the the riches that remained hidden beneath your feet.

Writing at Work

The overuse of prepositional phrases often occurs as soon as our thoughts room jumbled and we space unsure how ideas or concepts relate come one another. If you are preparing a report or a proposal, take the time to organize your thoughts in an outline before writing a unstable draft. Review the draft aloud, either to yourself or to a colleague, and identify locations that room rambling or unclear. If you an alert that a particular component of your report has several sentences over twenty words, girlfriend should dual check that details section to make particular that that is coherent and also does not contain unnecessary preposition phrases. Reading aloud periodically helps finding unclear and also wordy sentences. Girlfriend can also ask a partner to depicted your main points come ensure that the meaning is clear.

Starting a Sentence through Inverting Subject and Verb

As we provided earlier, most writers follow the subject-verb-object sentence structure. In an inverted sentence, the order is reversed so the the subject follows the verb. Check out the following sentence pairs:

Notice just how the 2nd sentence in each pair places more emphasis top top the subject—a truck in the an initial example and also the file in the second. This method is beneficial for drawing the reader’s attention to your main area that focus. We can apply this an approach to an scholastic essay. Take another look in ~ Naomi’s paragraph.

To emphasize the subject in specific sentences, Naomi deserve to invert the timeless sentence structure. Read her amendment paragraph:

Notice the in the first underlined sentence, the topic (some economists) is put after the verb (argued). In the second underlined sentence, the topic (the government) is inserted after the verb (expects).

Exercise 3

On your very own sheet of paper, rewrite the following sentences together inverted sentences.

Teresa will never ever attempt come run an additional marathon.A in-depth job description is enclosed with this letter.Bathroom framework are across the room to the left that the water cooler.The well-dressed stranger stumbled with the doorway.My colleagues remain unconvinced around the propose merger.


Please share with a classmate and also compare her answers.

Connecting principles to rise Sentence Variety

Reviewing and also rewriting the beginning of sentence is a an excellent way of presenting sentence variety into her writing. One more useful method is to affix two sentences using a modifier, a family member clause, or one appositive. This ar examines just how to affix ideas throughout several sentence in bespeak to increase sentence selection and boost writing.

Joining concepts Using an –ing Modifier

Sometimes it is possible to incorporate two sentence by converting one of them into a modifier making use of the –ing verb form—singing, dancing, swimming. A comprehensive is a word or phrase that qualifies the an interpretation of another element in the sentence. Check out the adhering to example:

Original sentences: Steve confirm the computer system system. He uncovered a virus.

Revised sentence: check the computer system system, Steve found a virus.

To attach two sentences utilizing an –ing modifier, include –ing to one of the verb in the sentences (checking) and also delete the subject (Steve). Usage a comma to separate the modifier from the topic of the sentence. The is important to make certain that the main idea in her revised sentence is contained in the key clause, no in the modifier. In this example, the key idea is the Steve found a virus, no that he checked the computer system.

In the adhering to example, one –ing modifier shows that 2 actions are occurring at the very same time:

Noticing the police car, she change gears and also slowed down.

This way that she slowed under at the same time she noticed the police car.

Barking loudly, the dog ran across the driveway.

This way that the dog barked together it ran across the driveway.

You can include an –ing modifier to the start or the end of a sentence, depending upon which fits best.

Beginning: Conducting a survey amongst her friends, Amanda discovered that couple of were happy in your jobs.

End: Maria filed the final report, meeting her deadline.

Dangling Modifiers

A usual mistake once combining sentences utilizing the –ing verb type is to misplace the modifier so that it is not logically linked to the rest of the sentence. This creates a dangling modifier. Look at the following example:

In this sentence, jogging throughout the parking lot seems to modify my breath. Because breath cannot jog, the sentence need to be rewritten so that the topic is placed automatically after the full or included to the dangling phrase.

For much more information top top dangling modifiers, check out Chapter 2 “Writing Basics: What makes a good Sentence?”.

Joining concepts Using one –ed Modifier

Some sentences have the right to be merged using an –ed verb form—stopped, finished, played. To usage this method, one of the sentences should contain a form of be as a helping verb in addition to the –ed verb form. Take it a look in ~ the adhering to example:

Original sentences: The Jones family members was delayed by a website traffic jam. They come several hrs after the party started.

Revised sentence: delay by a website traffic jam, the Jones family arrived several hrs after the party started.

In the original version, was acts as a help verb—it has actually no meaning by itself, but it offer a grammatical duty by put the main verb (delayed) in the perfect tense.

To affix two sentences making use of an –ed modifier, drop the helping verb (was) and also the subject (the Jones family) from the sentence v an –ed verb form. This creates a modifying phrase (delayed by a website traffic jam) that can be added to the start or finish of the various other sentence follow to i beg your pardon fits best. As with the –ing modifier, be careful to place the word the the expression modifies automatically after the expression in bespeak to stop a dangling modifier.

Using –ing or –ed amendment can aid streamline your creating by drawing obvious connections between two sentences. Take a look at at how Naomi might use modifiers in her paragraph.

The revised variation of the essay provides the –ing comprehensive opting to draw a connection in between the government’s decision come bail the end the banks and also the an outcome of that decision—the salvation of the mortgage-backed securities.

Joining concepts Using a relative Clause

Another method that writers usage to integrate sentences is to sign up with them using a relative clause. A relative clause is a group of indigenous that includes a subject and a verb and describes a noun. Loved one clauses duty as adjectives by answering questions such as which one? or what kind? loved one clauses begin with a relative pronoun, such as who, which, where, why, or when. Check out the following examples:

Original sentences: The managing director is visiting the company next week. He stays in Seattle.

Revised sentence: The regulating director, who lives in Seattle, is visiting the agency next week.

To affix two sentences utilizing a loved one clause, instead of the subject of among the sentence (he) because that a family member pronoun (who). This gives you a relative clause (who resides in Seattle) that deserve to be put next to the noun it explains (the controlling director). Make sure to keep the sentence you desire to emphasize together the key clause. Because that example, reversing the key clause and also subordinate clause in the preceding sentence emphasizes wherein the regulating director lives, no the reality that that is visiting the company.

Relative clauses are a useful means of providing additional, nonessential info in a sentence. Take it a look at exactly how Naomi could incorporate relative clauses right into her essay.

Notice just how the underlined family member clauses have the right to be gotten rid of from Naomi’s essay without an altering the definition of the sentence.


To check the point of family member clauses, assess whether or no the clause deserve to be taken the end of the sentence without changing its meaning. If the family member clause is not necessary to the an interpretation of the sentence, it should be put in commas. If the loved one clause is crucial to the meaning of the sentence, the does not need commas around it.

Joining ideas Using an Appositive

An appositive is a word or team of indigenous that explains or renames a noun or pronoun. Combine appositives into your writing is a useful means of combining sentences that are too short and also choppy. Take a look in ~ the adhering to example:

Original sentences: Harland Sanders began serving food for hungry travelers in 1930. That is Colonel Sanders or “the Colonel.”

Revised sentence: Harland Sanders, “the Colonel,” began serving food for hungry travelers in 1930.

In the modification sentence, “the Colonel” is an appositive because it renames Harland Sanders. To integrate two sentences utilizing an appositive, autumn the subject and verb from the sentence that renames the noun and turn it right into a phrase. Keep in mind that in the previous example, the appositive is positioned automatically after the noun it describes. One appositive may be placed almost everywhere in a sentence, however it should come directly prior to or after ~ the noun come which the refers:

Appositive after noun: Scott, a poorly trained athlete, was not meant to victory the race.

Appositive before noun: A poorly trained athlete, Scott to be not supposed to success the race.

Unlike loved one clauses, appositives are constantly punctuated through a comma or a set commas. Take a look at the means Naomi supplies appositives come include additional facts in her essay.

Exercise 4

On your own sheet that paper, rewrite the adhering to sentence pairs as one sentence making use of the techniques you have actually learned in this section.

Baby sharks are referred to as pups. Pups have the right to be born in among three ways.The Pacific ocean is the world’s largest ocean. That extends indigenous the Arctic in the north to the Southern ocean in the south.Michael Phelps won eight yellow medals in the 2008 Olympics. He is a champion swimmer.Ashley introduced her partner Dan to her husband, Jim. She speculated that the 2 of lock would have actually a lot in common.Cacao is harvested by hand. The is then marketed to chocolate-processing suppliers at the Coffee, Sugar, and also Cocoa Exchange.


Please share v a classmate and compare her answers.

Writing at Work

In addition to varying sentence structure, consider varying the varieties of sentences you room using in a report or other workplace document. Most sentences space declarative, however a closely placed question, exclamation, or command have the right to pique colleagues’ interest, even if the subject material is reasonably dry. Imagine that you are writing a budget plan analysis. Beginning your report v a rhetorical question, such together “Where is ours money going?” or “How have the right to we boost sales?” encourages human being to proceed reading to discover out the answers. Return they should be provided sparingly in scholastic and experienced writing, inquiries or regulates are effective rhetorical devices.

See more: How To Change Parental Controls On Ps2 (Slimline), How Do I Turn Off Parental Controls On Ps2

Key Takeaways

Sentence selection reduces repeat in a item of writing and adds emphasis to vital points in the text.Sentence variety can be presented to the beginning of sentence by starting a sentence v an adverb, starting a sentence with a preposition phrase, or by inverting the subject and also verb.Combine ideas, using modifiers, loved one clauses, or appositives, to achieve sentence variety.