How to write more interesting sentences of
varied length and structure

› by avoiding some words and constructions
› by us...
Which works better?
It was because she was often absent and
rarely did her homework that she failed.
She failed because sh...
There or this followed by a linking verb. Avoid
this construction in a paper. There is a weak
pronoun. There is not the su...
The word not leads to wordiness. The
English vocabulary is rich with negative
words. Beware the cheapening of your
words b...
The reason is because… can always be replaced by because or some other
suitable word. Beware of all the forms.

The reason...
Myself
Yourself
Herself
Himself
Itself

Plural

Singular

I
You
She
He
It

Ourselves
Yourselves
themselves

We
You
They
―Woman in Mirror‖ Pablo Picasso 1932
COMMON USES
1. We use reflexive pronouns when the subject
and object in a sentence are the same, as
in the following examp...
2. In imperative sentences with reflexive
pronouns, use:
Yourself when the subject is singular.
Don`t push yourself so har...
3. Reflexive pronouns are also used to stress or
emphasize a noun, in which case they are
most often placed immediately af...
4. The use of "by + reflexive pronoun"
signifies that the performer of the action
had no help, as in this example
sentence...
We

Use for two people

Each
other

Use for more than
two people

You
They
Indicate
reciprocical
relationship

One
another...
With a learning partner, choose the right
reciprocal pronoun:
1. All of the members of the team have a
lot of respect for ...
A verbal is a word formed
from a verb but
functioning as a different
part of speech. We can
use verbals to improve
and cla...
use verbals to join sentences
use verbals to clarify
Prince Valiant was dejected.
He rode through the crowd with his head down.
The Prince rode to the castle.

A present parti...
Junie was not very excited about school.
There weren’t very many things she cared
about at school.
There was one thing she...
are used with nonessential elements in writing to
add detail.
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION is included in the
sentence without commas:
The boy in the red hat is my brother.
NON-ESSENTIAL INFO...
Where do the commas go?
I do not understand and I never will how to
ride a motorcycle.
Many people wonder and will always
...
You can recognize sentence modifiers
easily because they are phrases and
clauses that add something to the entire
sentence...
here’s how to decide!
--locate the main subject and verb
--If the phrase comes before the main SUBJECT and VERB, use a
com...
Use commas to set off parenthetical
expressions.
• A parenthetical expression is a side remark
that adds information. By t...


The platypus is the oddest mammal. It has a
duckbill instead of a nose. It has sensors
inside its duckbill. Those senso...


All of the sentences are structured in the exact
same way: Subject, Verb, Object. Subject, Verb,
Object.



There is n...


Adjective clause: modifies a noun or
pronoun
› Usually introduced by a relative pronoun:

who / whom / that / which / w...


Adverbial clause: any clause that modifies
a verb by expressing the cause,
comparison, condition, manner, result or
tim...
The active voice pattern is highlighted in
green
 Infinitive phrases can be adjectival and
adverbial


› Adjectival: Tho...
The platypus is the oddest mammal.
It has a duckbill instead of a nose. It
has sensors inside its duckbill. Those
sensors ...


With a few inversions—such as in the final
sentence—and a few adjectives and
adverbs, the same active voice paragraph
c...
Sandra loves to sing. She sings any time she
can. She is not a very good singer. Sandra
loves to dance. Sandra goes to sch...
be sure to
submit your
notes as you
go!
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
Help with writing -- nuts and bolts
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Help with writing -- nuts and bolts

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Help with writing -- nuts and bolts

  1. 1. How to write more interesting sentences of varied length and structure › by avoiding some words and constructions › by using pronouns correctly in good sentences  reflexive pronouns  reciprocal pronouns  by using verbals  infinitives  gerunds  participles  by using correct punctuation well  comma use in restrictive/non-restrictive phrases  using the dash effectively
  2. 2. Which works better? It was because she was often absent and rarely did her homework that she failed. She failed because she was often absent and rarely did her homework.
  3. 3. There or this followed by a linking verb. Avoid this construction in a paper. There is a weak pronoun. There is not the subject – something else is. Find it, replace it, and be done with it. e.g. --There is a place I like to go to get gelato when I am in Rome. Both of these sentences are more effective: --When I am in Rome, I like to get gelato at Guiseppi’s! --Guiseppi’s in Rome has the very best gelato in the city.
  4. 4. The word not leads to wordiness. The English vocabulary is rich with negative words. Beware the cheapening of your words by using not. Not happy – unhappy, distressed, Be exact. Not on time – late, tardy… Not healthy – sick, ill, infirm… Not allowed – refused Not up for it – ill prepared, unprepared Not to be trifled with – dangerous Not able – unable
  5. 5. The reason is because… can always be replaced by because or some other suitable word. Beware of all the forms. The reason I write is because I need money. – I write because I need money. (or I write to eat.) John said the reason he is late is because his car doesn’t work well. – John is late because his car is unreliable. (or An unreliable car made John tardy). The fact that… must always be revised –often omitted. The fact that I’m here shows that I love the opera. – My presence shows my love for the opera. It’s just the fact that I’m fed up with talking about taxes. – I hate talking about taxes. I’d like to call your attention to the fact that I still haven’t been paid for my work. – Let me remind you that I still haven’t been paid for my work.
  6. 6. Myself Yourself Herself Himself Itself Plural Singular I You She He It Ourselves Yourselves themselves We You They
  7. 7. ―Woman in Mirror‖ Pablo Picasso 1932
  8. 8. COMMON USES 1. We use reflexive pronouns when the subject and object in a sentence are the same, as in the following examples. • The woman saw herself in the mirror and smiled. • If you don't know him, you should introduce yourself.
  9. 9. 2. In imperative sentences with reflexive pronouns, use: Yourself when the subject is singular. Don`t push yourself so hard, Tom. Yourselves when the subject is plural. Don`t push yourselves so hard, guys.
  10. 10. 3. Reflexive pronouns are also used to stress or emphasize a noun, in which case they are most often placed immediately after the noun, as in the following example sentences. • Money itself can't buy happiness. • The company president himself made the announcement.
  11. 11. 4. The use of "by + reflexive pronoun" signifies that the performer of the action had no help, as in this example sentence. • She made the dress by herself. However, "be + reflexive pronoun" means to act or behave in an unusual manner.  Just be yourself at your interview.
  12. 12. We Use for two people Each other Use for more than two people You They Indicate reciprocical relationship One another Examples of usage: •Tom and Sara met each other at work. •We all told one another about our jobs. •Fred and Jane blamed each other Fred and Jane blamed themselves.
  13. 13. With a learning partner, choose the right reciprocal pronoun: 1. All of the members of the team have a lot of respect for (each other or one another). 2. Mary and John love (each other or one another)so much. 3. So many students arguing with (each other or one another) will never solve anything.
  14. 14. A verbal is a word formed from a verb but functioning as a different part of speech. We can use verbals to improve and clarify our writing.
  15. 15. use verbals to join sentences use verbals to clarify
  16. 16. Prince Valiant was dejected. He rode through the crowd with his head down. The Prince rode to the castle. A present participle is an –ing form of a verb. Riding dejectedly through the crowd, Prince Valiant made his way to the castle. Notice this says the same as the three sentences above, but the new sentence is much more effective. It says just what we want to say, but uses fewer, more interesting words to do so.
  17. 17. Junie was not very excited about school. There weren’t very many things she cared about at school. There was one thing she wanted to learn and that was to read. Reading was one of the few things Junie wanted to learn at school.
  18. 18. are used with nonessential elements in writing to add detail.
  19. 19. ESSENTIAL INFORMATION is included in the sentence without commas: The boy in the red hat is my brother. NON-ESSENTIAL INFORMATION requires commas: That boy, the one in the red hat, is my brother. Think of the commas surrounding non-essential information like handles—you can pick these phrases up and remove them from the sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence.
  20. 20. Where do the commas go? I do not understand and I never will how to ride a motorcycle. Many people wonder and will always wonder how Stonehenge was constructed.
  21. 21. You can recognize sentence modifiers easily because they are phrases and clauses that add something to the entire sentence, but do not function as a complete sentence by themselves. As I said… If I could… Because of…
  22. 22. here’s how to decide! --locate the main subject and verb --If the phrase comes before the main SUBJECT and VERB, use a comma. Modifiers do not require a comma if they come after the main subject and verb. Because I love to read, I will volunteer at the library. I will volunteer at the library because I love to read.
  23. 23. Use commas to set off parenthetical expressions. • A parenthetical expression is a side remark that adds information. By the way, for example, however, I think, and to tell the truth are all common parenthetical expressions. › Of course, I believe that your excuse is real. › To tell you the truth, I have never told a lie in my life. › I would, for example, always tell my parents the truth.
  24. 24.  The platypus is the oddest mammal. It has a duckbill instead of a nose. It has sensors inside its duckbill. Those sensors allow it to forage and hunt for food. The platypus has spurs in its two hind legs. The male platypus has poison in the spurs. Female platypus lays eggs. The female platypus lactates through her skin to feed her young. Platypuses are ornery, territorial mammals. › Notice anything?
  25. 25.  All of the sentences are structured in the exact same way: Subject, Verb, Object. Subject, Verb, Object.  There is no rise or fall in the tension of the language: the sentences don’t urge the reader forward. They just seem to sit there on the page. The paragraph drags on and on.  Although the common active voice sentence structure is Subject Verb Object, a writer can use phrases and clauses to create variety and interest in their active writing.
  26. 26.  Adjective clause: modifies a noun or pronoun › Usually introduced by a relative pronoun: who / whom / that / which / whoever / whomever.  The bear who was looking out his window began to wonder about life in the wild.  That mustache, which is scraggly at best, looks like an eyebrow from here.
  27. 27.  Adverbial clause: any clause that modifies a verb by expressing the cause, comparison, condition, manner, result or time of the verb. › Here are some signal words or phrases: as / as if / rather than / although / even if / except that / if only / if / in case / where / wherever / so / after / unless / as soon as / before / since / until / till / whenever / still  As soon as your brother returns we can leave.  In case there is an emergency, I have left you my cell phone number
  28. 28. The active voice pattern is highlighted in green  Infinitive phrases can be adjectival and adverbial  › Adjectival: Those mice are working together to hijack this hayride! › Adverbial: Brian was doomed to look awkward for two more weeks, or until his hair grows back.  Prepositional phrases can be adjectival and adverbial › Adjectival: Those girls in the next room are too loud. › Adverbial: The handsome cab rode past in a flash of white.  Notice how the italicized phrases—working as adjectives and adverbs—give the sentences extra information or action?
  29. 29. The platypus is the oddest mammal. It has a duckbill instead of a nose. It has sensors inside its duckbill. Those sensors allow it to forage and hunt for food. The platypus has spurs in its two hind legs. The male platypus has poison in the spurs. Female platypus lays eggs. The female platypus lactates through her skin to feed her young. Platypuses are ornery, territorial mammals. The platypus is the oddest animal. Even though it lays eggs it is still considered a mammal because it lactates through its skin to feed its young. Rather than a nose, it has a duckbill made of cartilage. Inside the duckbill is a cluster of sensors that allow the platypus to forage and hunt for food. Although both males and females have spurs on their hind legs, only the spurs on the male platypuses have poison inside. Ornery and territorial, male platypuses will fend off any intruders.
  30. 30.  With a few inversions—such as in the final sentence—and a few adjectives and adverbs, the same active voice paragraph comes alive. Suddenly the reader can see just how odd the platypus is to the writer! › The writer has set up a pattern of contrasting the normal characteristics of a mammal with those of a platypus:  ―instead of a nose it has a duckbill‖  ―instead of a live birth, it lays eggs‖
  31. 31. Sandra loves to sing. She sings any time she can. She is not a very good singer. Sandra loves to dance. Sandra goes to school across town. Sandra loves nature. She loves to walk through the park on her way to school. Sandra dances and sings on her way to school.
  32. 32. be sure to submit your notes as you go!

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