Basic Sentence Concepts explains the subject-verb/complement pattern and shows how you can expand that pattern almost indefinitely with a few simple principles such as coordination and subordination. Now we'll look at some more advanced sentence strategies. Again the aim is to increase your versatility as a writer, to help you see the full range of options for solving writing problems. As your flexibility increases, you'll not only satisfy minimal standards of clarity and correctness, you'll express yourself with new-found energy and power.
While the S V/C pattern, with agent as subject, is by far the most common pattern for building English sentences, it's by no means the only one. Nor is it best in every situation. Sometimes you may wish to turn things around in order to create a particular kind of emphasis or rhythm:
She always caught fly balls. She usually missed grounders.
Fly balls she always caught. Grounders she usually missed.
... the aim is to increase your versatility as a writer, to help you see the full range of options for solving writing problems.
Sometimes you'll see more than one possible variation:
My bicycle stood by the tree.
By the tree stood my bicycle.
By the tree my bicycle stood.
Such inverted sentences can be used to vary the rhythm or shift your reader's attention to an important word or phrase. When used carelessly or too often, however, they can produce an artificial, even awkward style.
3.8 Try inverting the following sentences. Come up with at least one variation for each. When you're finished, compare your results with those of your classmates. Are any sentences better in normal order? Does inversion ever change the meaning?
a. The night is tender.
b. My brother burst into the house.
c. The lion climbed onto the table. d. Some rain must fall into each life.
e. Lithuania lost the war.
f. A rifle hung in the truck's rear window.
g. Money is the root of all evil.
h. The bottle was empty.
i. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
Expletives and Passive Constructions
These constructions can drain your style of vigor and confuse meaning.
These common sentence patterns are undeniably useful, but overused by beginners who don't see that these constructions can drain their style of vigor and confuse meaning.
Expletives, as the term is used here, are words used primarily to take up space. They fill a slot in a sentence or round out a rhythm. Their meaning isn't important. They're commonly placed in the subject slot when a writer either doesn't know or doesn't want to name the agent. Notice how "it" and "there" work in the following examples.
With expletive: It has been decided that we will meet next Monday.
Without expletive: We have decided to meet next Monday.
With expletive: There are good job opportunities in computer science.
Without expletive: Computer science offers good job opportunities.
In both cases the second choice is more economical, more direct, and therefore preferable for most situations. Another concern with expletives as subjects is subject-verb agreement. Because "there" is neither singular nor plural, it can't tell you whether you'll need a singular or a plural verb. To learn that, you need to look at the complement.
Not in agreement: There's two good catchers on our team.
In agreement: There are two good catchers on our team.
Rewrite the sentence above without an expletive. Is it weaker or stronger?
In passive constructions the subject is the receiver of the action rather than the agent. Like constructions that open with expletives, passives can be useful when you wish to emphasize the results of an action or when you don't want to draw attention to the doer of the action.
Passive: Most of those mansions were built by wealthy lumber barons.
Active: Wealthy lumber barons built most of those mansions.
Which is stronger? It's hard to say. True, the second sentence is slightly shorter, but the guiding factor here probably would be whether the writer wanted to emphasize the mansions or the lumber barons.
Passive voice most often causes problems when it adds unnecessary words without producing any clear benefits. Find weak passive constructions in the following passage:
I played the fish slowly and carefully, not wanting to take a chance that it might snap the thin tippet at the end of my line. At last it grew tired. When it finally turned over on its side in exhaustion, I eased it into my net. The fly was carefully taken from its mouth, but as I paused for a moment to admire the trout's colors before putting it away in my creel, one last leap was made by it, out of my hands and back into the stream.
3.9 Read the following sentences to see if any could be improved by using expletives or passive constructions differently. Some may be fine as they stand; if so, make no change. Otherwise, rewrite the sentence to make it stronger.
a. It's supposed to rain again this afternoon.
b. My motorcycle was bought by a dentist. My stereo was bought by a young girl. Everyone bought something.
c. There's several ways of solving the problem.
d. A person can solve the problem in several ways.
e. There are many benefits to come from living in the city.
f. Last night a very funny story about my father was told to me by a total stranger.
g. Whoever was there at the time built a quaint cabin near the marsh.
h. There's a candidate for every office.
i. It's amazing to me that I could have flunked chemistry.
j. There was only one point that was raised by him that I objected to.
... you'll discover several alternatives for expressing a single idea, and you can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Most of the following activities will give you practice in combining, "de-combining," or even "re-combining" sentences. Others will ask you to write sentences that imitate specific patterns. Combining short sentences into longer ones can eliminate unnecessary words and provide more expressive flexibility. Both advantages, but especially the second, are important stylistically. As you do the activities, remember that the ultimate goal is to discover new options for self-expression.
If you practice combining sentences, You can build rhythmic effects that create precisely the kinds of fluid and dynamic structures needed to express thoughts with individuality and distinction, and you can see how different patterns change the emphasis or meaning of an essential concept.
Balance and Parallelism
Balance in sentences is similar to balance in other areas of life. Imagine a high-wire artist above the circus ring's sawdust floor, placing one foot carefully in front of another, holding a long pole crosswise, exactly in the middle. Now read the following sentence, and notice how it does a kind of balancing act as it moves forward.
From Lowman to Cape Horn the weather was rainy, but from Cape Horn to Stanley it was clear.
Here the balance point is the coordinator "but." Probably you can feel how it centers the sentence.
From to the weather was ________, but from ______ to ______ it [the weather] was clear.
The two independent clauses balance each other, and the balance is further emphasized by the prepositional phrase that opens each clause. The structure and even certain key words from one sentence part are repeated in another. That patterned repetition is the key to balance.
Sometimes the balance will be perfect, and sometimes a sentence that seems essentially balanced will have some unbalanced parts. Because these qualities are easier to see and recognize than to analyze and understand, a few more examples may be helpful:
The men wore coats and ties, and the ladies wore long dresses and heels.
Can you locate the balance point in the sentence above? Can you see why you should signal that point with a comma?
Some people may find such elaborately balanced structures too artificial, even too repetitious. They'll want to disturb the balance by dropping a few words from one clause:
The men wore coats and ties, the ladies, long dresses and heels.
That technique can work well, but be careful not to destroy the balance completely and cause the whole sentence design to come apart:
By all the men coats and ties were worn, and the ladies were all dressed up in long dresses and heels.
When two or more sentence parts have similar meaning or purpose, its almost always effective to highlight that similarity with balanced structure.
One especially useful kind of balance is called parallelism. See if you can find any parallel structures in the following sentence:
It was a very sad time in my life, living alone, looking for work, dreaming of home.
Because the three phrases at the end of the sentence all serve the same purpose, telling why the writer was sad, it makes sense to use structural patterns that point up the similarity. Notice what happens when we disrupt the parallelism:
It was a very sad time in my life, living alone, to look for work, dreaming of home.
Besides being less rhythmic, this version loses clarity. Does "to look for work" explain why the writer was living alone or why the writer was sad? No such problems arise in the first version, where parallel structure helps keep the rhythm smooth and the meaning clear.
3.10 For each of the following sentences write an equivalent using the same pattern but filling in the missing words as needed.
Every wedding turned into a joke, and every joke turned into a nightmare.
Every drop fell into a pitcher, and every pitcher poured into a creek.
a. In a year of movies, it's the movie of the year.
In a _____ of ______, it's the _____ of the _______.
b. The atmosphere was great, but the food was greasy.
The ______ was _______ , but the _______ was _______.
c. My cousin likes to play the fiddle, tap the rhythm, and call the tune.
My ______ _______ s to _____ the ______, ______ the ______ and _______ the _______.
d. With her eyes closed, her teeth clenched, and her arm extended, the old woman pulled the trigger.
With ____d, ____d, and ______d, the ________ __________d the _______.
e. Money and power are the goals of the greedy, but peace and love are the rewards of the faithful.
_______ and ________ are the ______ of the ______ , but _______ and _______ are the ______ of the _______.
3.12 As you read the following sentences, look for balanced structures, especially for parallelism. Underline any examples you find. If you find sentences that could be improved by repeating a structural pattern, rewrite them so they're stronger.
a. With tears running from his eyes and that fell onto his fatigues, Peterson finally surrendered.
b. My new puppy is shaggy as a bear and mean as a rattlesnake.
c. Some people love to drink, and some people drink to love.
d. I've got to bear down on my studies after flunking Chemistry and I got a D in Algebra I.
e. More than he ever wanted anything before, more than he had even wanted her to leave, Harvey wanted Alice to come back.
f. If you believe you can do it and by working on it hard enough, you can usually succeed.
g. Firecrackers and rockets don't convey the true spirit of Independence Day anymore than the real spirit of Christmas can be seen through Santa Claus and his reindeer.
h. What you see is what you get.
i. This is the place where girls become women, boys become men, dreams become reality.
j. There in the meadow stood a solitary elk, peaceful, majestic, quietly.
3.13 Combine each of the following groups of sentences into one single sentence containing balanced or parallel structures.
We rode the Silver Twister. It was huge. It was fast. Its speed was like lightning. Our stomachs churned. Our blood pumped. We screamed with delight.
Stomachs churning, blood pumping, we screamed with delight as we rode the huge, lightning fast Silver Twister.
a. We were trying to reach the summit. The summit was of Mt. Greylock. We were tired. We were hungry. We were determined.
b. Our group was small. Our group was young. We played in a hall. The hall was immense. The hall was old.
c. The dust was everywhere. It was in our mouths. We got it in our hair. It was in our eyes. We even got it in our noses.
d. Jim Thorpe was outstanding at sports. The sports were many. One was football. Track was also good for him. So was soccer.
e. The people are looking for answers. The answers are to economic questions. The people are looking to the president. The president is looking for answers. His questions are the same. He is looking to his advisors.
Periodic and Cumulative Structure
Which sentence has the base clause at the beginning?
Notice how the following sentences differ:
If you're the kind of person who likes to cry at the movies, you'll love Casablanca.
You'll love Casablanca if you're the kind of person who likes to cry at movies.
Which sentence has the base clause at the end? That sentence is periodic. Which sentence has the base clause at the beginning? That sentence is cumulative.
When speaking of periodic structure, we'll call the elements leading up to the base clause leaders. When speaking of cumulative structure, we'll call the elements following the base clause trailers.
If you're the kind of person who likes to cry at the movies, (leader)
you'll love Casablanca. (base clause)
You'll love Casablanca (base clause)
if you're the kind of person who likes to cry at movies. (trailer)
Some sentences, like the following, use both leaders and trailers and therefore are not purely periodic or cumulative, but rather a combination:
After three triple cheeseburgers, two orders of fries, and two steins of beer, I rose slowly, holding onto the edge of the table while I contemplated the chaos in my belly.
Can you find the base clause in that sentence? The leader? The trailer? Try switching the parts around, putting the trailer first and the leader last. What do you think of the results?
Beginning with a leader, besides adding variety to your sentence patterns, can help keep your reader's attention level high. So accustomed are we to reading sentences built on the S VC pattern that we start, almost immediately, to look for a base clause. Of course we aren't aware that we're looking for this, but until we find it, our attention level is especially high.
As a matter of fact, this unconscious need to locate the base clause is why you often need to set off introductory elements with a comma, to signal that the leader is done and the base clause about to begin. Notice the difference:
After he had eaten my brother got sick.
After he had eaten, my brother got sick.
My brother got sick after he had eaten.
"After" signals that we're in a dependent clause. We know, therefore, that "he" can't be the subject of the base clause, so we continue scanning for a subject. "Brother" seems a likely candidate, but wait, isn't it the complement of "had eaten"? Is this a story about cannibalism? Then we see the verb "got sick" and realize that "brother" has to be the subject. At last we can process the information.
True, the first sentence keeps our attention level high clear through to the end, but it causes unnecessary confusion along the way. The second sentence indicates with a comma that the leader is complete. The third sentence is clear and correct, but lacks the energy of the second. Now look at the following two sentences:
Between the time I graduated from high school and the time I was discharged from the Navy, I never thought about my future.
I never thought about my future between the time I graduated from high school and the time I was discharged from the Navy.
The first sentence uses the leader to establish a time interval and arouse curiosity about what happened during that time. Then the base clause fills the gap. The second sentence, however, fills the gap before it's created, and the information about the timeframe is like an afterthought. Instead of building toward a strong ending, the sentence fades into insignificance.
3.14 Combine each of the following sentence groups into a single sentence containing at least one leader before the base clause. Don't forget to set off the leader with a comma.
a. The preacher paused in his sermon. My father woke up.
b. Annie was about to enter the strange room. She pushed the door back hard. She wanted to make sure no one was hiding behind it.
c. The old man went from one island to another. He wandered over storm-troubled seas. He was searching for home.
d. Renee said goodbye to her mother. She picked up her purse. She boarded the bus.
e. The car coughed and sputtered fitfully. It did this for a few moments. It shook hard one last time. It died with a hideous gasp.
Its a process of gradual clarification and refinement.
The main function of cumulative structure is to clarify or qualify an idea stated in a preceding base clause. Phrases and clauses at the beginning of the sentence may clarify also, but with an important difference. When we read periodic modifiers, we don't yet know what they'll modify.
For that reason, and also because too long a delay of the main clause can be frustrating, leaders are generally not good places to stack up phrases and clauses intended to offer supplementary comment on the main idea. Such dependent structures are usually stronger after the base clause, as trailers. Compare the following sentences:
Clemente cared deeply about his people, not feeling that he owed them anything out of guilt but serving them instead with a heartfelt sense of oneness, an awareness that their destinies were inseparable.
Not feeling that he owed them anything out of guilt but serving them instead from a heartfelt sense of oneness, an awareness that their destinies were inseparable, Clemente cared deeply about his people.
Here the writer wants to explain Roberto Clemente's commitment to his people. Putting that general idea in the base clause and getting it up front makes sense. Then the two trailers clarify the reasons for Clemente's caring, so that by the end of the sentence we have a more precise understanding of the central idea. It's a process of gradual clarification and refinement. The second example frustrates because it leaves us disoriented for so long. By the time we find the base clause, we're likely to have dismissed or forgotten the information in the leaders.
The following diagram will help you to see how the structure of the sentence about Roberto Clemente works:
Clemente cared deeply about his people,
feeling not that he owed them anything out of guilt
serving them instead from a heartfelt sense of oneness,
an awareness that their destinies were inseparable.
What does the first trailer modify? What does the second one modify? Can you find an example of parallel structure? Now read the following sentence and try to answer some questions about it:
While she wrote Ariel, Plath was not the happiest of people, living in a cramped London apartment, trying hard to play the role of the ideal mother, a part for which she was neither trained nor temperamentally suited, consuming herself in frustrated rage and passion.
What is the base clause? What three structures are parallel? What do they all modify? What does "a part for which she was neither trained nor temperamentally suited" modify? Rewrite the sentence, beginning with "Living in a cramped London apartment. . .." Is the sentence stronger or weaker?
3.15 Combine each of the following groups of sentences into a single sentence that makes use of cumulative structure. Put the central idea in the base clause and position the base clause at or near the beginning of the sentence. Use parallelism to keep related ideas in similar form.
a. The morning fog was thick. It obscured the sun. It blurred the horizon. It lent nearby objects an aura of mystery. This was especially true of sea shells and driftwood.
b. It was after a bad start. The Yankees got a tongue lashing from their owner. This woke them up. This made them angry. This turned their season around.
c. The restaurant was small. It was really a shack. It was located along Highway 101. This is on the Oregon coast. It is in the town of Yachats. Yachats is a city of fine restaurants. These restaurants serve seafood. The seafood is fresh-caught.
d. The people were angry. They were angry about plans for the new highway. It would run through the middle of their neighborhood. This would force many people to move. It would also split the neighborhood in half. The neighborhood would be split with a barrier. The barrier would be made of concrete. It would be made of steel. It would be made of carbon monoxide.
e. Alicia was delighted with her birthday present. It was a mountain bike. It was extremely lightweight. Yet it was strong. It was a pleasure to look at. It was a joy to ride.
One effective way of combining ideas into a single sentence is to place one of the ideas in a relative clause. This means that one of the ideas is joined to the base clause with a relative pronoun, such as who, whom, whose, which, or that. After looking at the following example, you'll probably recognize this as a familiar process.
Uncombined: Albert Einstein suffered from dyslexia. Albert Einstein formulated the theory of relativity. Changing: Albert Einstein suffered from dyslexia. (who) formulated the theory of relativity.
Combined: Albert Einstein, who formulated the theory of relativity, suffered from dyslexia.
You can see how our substitution of the relative pronoun "who" for "Albert Einstein" allows us to fold one sentence into the other. You may have noticed also that the second sentence could have served as the carrier and the first as the relative. Thus you could write either of the following, depending on what you wanted to emphasize.
Albert Einstein, who formulated the theory of relativity, suffered from dyslexia.
Albert Einstein, who suffered from dyslexia, formulated the theory of relativity.
Both sentences are correct, and when they appear in isolation like this, it's hard to say which is better. What can we say, though, is that the effects of the sentences are very different. The first emphasizes Einstein's dyslexia, and the second emphasizes his formulation of the theory of relativity. As you can see, the idea in the base clause, or carrier, receives emphasis.
... you'll probably recognize this as a familiar process.
Choosing a relative pronoun needn't be difficult if you remember a few guidelines:
1. Who and whom are used to refer to people.
The one who pays the piper calls the tune.
Uncle Teddy, whom you haven't met, is a rare bird.
2. Whose is used to show possession.
I caught a ride with Tony, whose car barely made it up the hill.
3. Which is used to refer to animals and things.
Their guacamole, which I had never tasted before, turned out to be delicious.
The white cat, which Susan left behind in her move, took up residence in an abandoned Chevy.
4. That is used to refer to animals, things, and people.
The dream that I didn't nurture finally died.
The wild horses that roam central Oregon are becoming a problem.
The little girl that I'm looking for is my daughter.
Often, especially with whom and that, the relative pronoun may be omitted, making the sentence more compact and less formal.
The very people whom the senator held in contempt voted him out of office.
The very people the senator held in contempt voted him out of office.
Alex returned the book that I had checked out from the library.
Alex returned the book I had checked out from the library.
Before concluding this section on the relative clause, two final points should be noted. First, the antecedent of the relative pronoun must be immediately and unmistakably clear. See the discussion of pronoun reference if you need to review this. Second, nonrestrictive relative clauses should be set off with commas; see rule 3 for using commas, if you need to review this.
3.16 In each of the following sentences, boldface the base clause, italicize the relative pronoun and underline its antecedent, and use commas to set off the relative clause if necessary.
Example: Chubby Checker, who popularized the twist, isn't all that chubby.
a. He learned that trick from General Custer who used it at the Little Big Horn.
b. The course that you most dread often turns out to be the most needed.
c. Even watching television which is my favorite hobby grew boring.
d. This document was reviewed by an attorney whose understanding of the law is formidable.
e. Samuel T Broderick whose understanding of the law is formidable reviewed this document.
f. The last minister whom we liked was rather liberal.
g. The new restaurant that opened in the mall specializes in health foods.
h. A new restaurant that specializes in health foods opened in the mall.
i. Any money that you earn in tips must be reported on your income tax form.
j. All key terms are listed in the index which you will find in the back of the book.
3.17 Combine each of the following groups of sentences into a single sentence that contains at least one relative clause.
a. Peterson was elected chairman of the board. The board consists of eleven members. These members make all major policy decisions for the theatre.
b. The Foreign Relations Committee is currently conducting confirmation hearings. These hearings are expected to produce a recommendation for the nominee's approval.
c. The car was made in Italy. It looks like an imitation of a Hyundai.
d. A Justice sits on the bench of the Supreme Court. This is the highest court in the land. This justice is becoming senile.
e. The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas. It grows wild along roadsides. It is painted on state highway signs.
f. My cousin is a carpenter. This hutch was built by him.
You probably have been using participial phrases unknowingly, both in your papers and in the activities above. Because participial phrases are so convenient and effective, they deserve a closer look.
Ruined by the recession, Mr. Alvarez closed the door to his shop, turning the key in the lock.
The preceding contains two participial phrases, one at the beginning and one at the end, and the base clause is between them. Read the following fragments and notice what they are missing.
Mr. Alvarez ruined by the recession.
Mr. Alvarez turning the key in the lock.
If you said that both word groups need to have was or is or some other word inserted after the subject, you're well on your way to understanding what participles are and how they work in sentences. What you've seen is that a participle is part of a verb, that by itself aparticipal can't serve as the main verb of a sentence.
Because they're so convenient and effective, participals deserve a closer look.
You may also have noticed that there are two different kinds of participles: present and past. A present participle is formed by adding ing to the verb stem. The result is the form that would be used with the helping verb is. The past participle is the verb form that would be used with the helping verb have, and it is usually, but not always, formed by adding ed to the verb stem. The chart below shows how this works.
|Verb Stem||Present Participle||Past Participle|
While the participle can't serve as the main verb of a sentence without its helper, it can be used, either alone or in combination with other words, as a modifier:
[Formed over ten thousand years ago,] these lava beds have changed very little.
Every evening we could hear a bell [ringing somewhere in the distance.]
In the preceding sentences, the bracketed word groups are called participial phrases. The underlined words are those the phrases modify. It's important that your reader can immediately see exactly what the phrase modifies. Notice the possibilities for confusion in the following sentences.
Bill found a rusty pocket knife climbing the volcano.
Curling gently around the mountains, Sarah watched the clouds.
In both cases, confusion results from the fact that the phrases are positioned too far from the words they modify. Can you revise the sentences to eliminate the problem? If not, or if you have problems with the following activities, review the discussion of Misrelated Modifiers in Six Problem Areas.
3.18 Bracket each participial phrase, and italicize the word it modifies. If you find a misrelated modifier, rewrite the sentence to eliminate the problem.
a. Tired from the long ride, the travelers stopped at a small cafe surrounded by trucks.
b. Out of a small purse decorated with flowers, Andreana took a little book bound in green plastic.
c. Hoping to avoid the heavy traffic, the back roads were selected for our trip home.
d. Stripped of all but his dignity, Marquez took the beating in silence, never looking down, never showing his pain.
e. This new home, built of the finest straw, will withstand even the strongest wind.
3.19 Combine each of the following groups of sentences into a single sentence containing at least one participial phrase.
a. The watch had a blue face. The face was scratched from years of use.
b. An old Harley Davidson pulled up beside me. It was covered with dust. The dust was light red.
c. The new lion looks sleepy. He is lying in the corner of his cage. He is flicking his tail. He is retired from a career in the circus.
d. Under every stone we found worms. The worms were wiggling. They were small. They were pink. Their wiggling was frantic.
e. Dr. Higginson was leaning on the lectern. He was discussing the paintings of Edgar Degas. He was praising the painter's sense of color and of movement.
f. The main burner was clogged. It was clogged with grease. It was clogged with food particles. These particles were tiny. They prevented the flow of gas.
g. The Red Sox were refreshed. They were refreshed by the cool autumn air. They staged a rally. The rally catapulted them into first place.
h. The singer swung his arm. He swung it like a windmill. The windmill was in a tornado. The arm was his left one. He held a microphone in his right hand. He sometimes caressed it with his lips. He sometimes shook it. The shaking was violent. It was at the audience.
The activities in this section will give you more practice with the constructions and processes you've been working with. They ask you to draw upon what you've been learning about sentence structure and to use that knowledge to make decisions about stylistic effectiveness. The goal is to become more aware of the options available and to make effective choices among them. In the end you'll be more nearly able to say exactly what you want to say in precisely the way you want to say it.
3.20 Read the following groups of sentences carefully, paying particular attention to their construction. When you've finished, look back over the sentences and decide which one you think is most effective. Then find the one you think is least effective. Be prepared to explain your choices.
The goal is to become more aware of the options available and to make effective choices among them.
A. Most Effective ___ Least Effective ___
1. Maria, annoyed by her father's suggestion that she hadn't studied enough, argued that she had over studied for the test.
2. Annoyed by her father's suggestion that she hadn't studied enough, Maria argued that she had over studied for the test.
3. Maria argued that she had over studied for the test, annoyed by her father's suggestion that she hadn't studied enough.
4. Maria, whose father's suggestion that she hadn't studied enough annoyed her, argued that she had over studied for the test.
5. Arguing that she had over studied for the test, Maria was annoyed by her father's suggestion that she hadn't studied enough.
B. Most Effective ___ Least Effective ___
1. Berra peeled off his face mask and, wiping the sweat from his forehead, walked slowly toward the shower after the last out of the last game of what had turned out to be a dismal season.
2. After the last out of the last game of what had turned out to be a dismal season, Berra peeled off his face mask and, wiping the sweat from his forehead, walked slowly toward the shower.
3. Berra, peeling off his face mask and wiping the sweat from his forehead after the last out of the last game of what had turned out to be a dismal season, walked slowly toward the shower.
4. Peeling off his face mask and wiping the sweat from his forehead, Berra walked slowly toward the shower after the last out of the last game of what had turned out to be a dismal season.
5. Berra walked slowly toward the shower after the last out of the last game of what had turned out to be a dismal season wiping the sweat from his forehead and peeling off his face mask.
C. Most Effective ___ Least Effective ___
1. Doubtful that it would become permanent now that it had finally been arranged, both sides were anxious that the cease-fire should hold.
2. Having fully arranged the cease-fire, both sides were anxious that it should hold but doubtful that it would become permanent.
3. The cease-fire, with both sides doubtful that it would become permanent but anxious that it should hold, had now finally been arranged.
4. Now that the cease-fire had finally been arranged, both sides were anxious that it should hold but doubtful that it would become permanent.
5. With both sides anxious that it should hold but doubtful that it would become permanent, a cease-fire had finally been arranged.
D. Most Effective ___ Least Effective ___
1. The best tomatoes to plant in this area are Jet Star, a hardy variety that thrives in our arid climate, or Avalanche, a new hybrid that looks promising, developed by university researchers.
2. In this area the following to kinds of tomatoes are the best to plant: Jet Star, a hardy variety that thrives in our arid climate, and Avalanche, a promising new hybrid recently developed by university researchers.
3. In this area a hardy variety that thrives in our arid climate, Jet Star, or a promising new hybrid that university researchers developed recently, Avalanche, are the tomatoes best planted.
4. In this area the best tomatoes to plant are Jet Star, a hardy variety that thrives in our arid climate, or Avalanche, a promising new hybrid recently developed by university researchers.
5. Jet Star, a hardy variety that thrives in our arid climate, and Avalanche, a promising new hybrid recently developed by university researchers, are the best kinds of tomatoes to plant in this area.
E. Most Effective ___ Least Effective ___
1. Cleansing both body and spirit, we loved to bathe in a clear mountain pool where the stream collected briefly after cascading two hundred feet from a rocky shelf high above us.
2. In a clear mountain pool where the stream collected briefly after cascading two hundred feet from a rocky shelf high above us was where we loved to bathe, cleansing both body and spirit.
3. Where the stream collected briefly in a clear mountain pool after cascading two hundred feet from a rocky shelf high above us, cleansing both body and spirit, we loved to bathe.
4. In a clear mountain pool where we loved to bathe, cleansing both body and spirit, the stream collected briefly after cascading two hundred feet from a rocky shelf high above us.
5. After cascading two hundred feet from a rocky shelf high above us, the stream collected briefly in a clear mountain pool where we loved to bathe, cleansing both body and spirit.
3.21 Long sentences aren't always preferable to short ones. Loose sentences that run on without shape or direction should always be avoided, and even a well-constructed sentence can get too complex and unwieldy. Also, occasional short sentences add variety and emphasis to your writing. Break the following long sentences into at least two or three shorter ones.
a. Looking at this new plastic bound Bible, Danielle remembered another, older one, edged in gold and bound in black leather, worn smooth through the years of being carried back and forth to church where it had been thumbed through, passed around, and even sat on, carrying the grit, perspiration, and tearstains of several generations of her family.
b. Although we all wanted to go to my father's favorite restaurant, a quaint place run by an old Italian family that had arrived here a few years back with some delicious seafood recipes, my mother objected, saying she preferred a Spanish place called Alexandro's, which did have excellent paella but was located clear across town and was much more expensive.
c. Among the many treasures left by my late Aunt Lillie, a woman of refined and sophisticated tastes, was a small, gold peacock pin which my sister Gladys tried to claim, saying that Aunt Lillie had once promised it to her, which everyone knew was a lie made up on the spot because Lillie had too much taste to like Gladys as much as me.
3.22 Use your own judgment and imagination to combine the following sentences into a clear, effective paragraph. This activity asks you to look beyond individual sentences to a sequence of sentences. You may want to follow a few periodic sentences with a cumulative sentence, a few long ones with a very short one. Besides rhythm and pacing, consider emphasis, determining which ideas to put in a base clause and which to put in modifiers.
Leo reached into the bag. The bag was large. The bag was brown. The bag sat on the workbench. The workbench was old. The workbench was in his garage. He took out four quarts of oil. He took out an oil filter. He took out a pouring spout. He stacked them neatly in a pile. Next he picked up a smaller bag. This bag was gray. He shook it gently. Four spark plugs fell out. A set of points fell out. A rotor fell out. A condenser fell out. He arranged them in another pile. He was going to give his car a tune-up. The tune-up was for spring. He had never done this before. He was uncertain. His uncertainty was about where to begin. He decided to lift up the hood. Changing the oil looked easiest. He had seen other people do it. He decided to tackle that job first. He spilled drops. The drops were few. He did this when he changed filters. He watched the sludge. The sludge was thick. The sludge was black. It was draining. The draining was slow. The draining was into a pan. The pan was made of plastic. The plastic was yellow. The pan was under the crankcase. He replaced the plug. He poured the new oil. This oil was clear. He poured it into a hole. The hole was in the valve cover. So far, so good. Now came the hard part. First he changed the spark plugs. He set the gaps carefully. He did this with a feeler gauge. The gauge had been borrowed from a friend. Then he removed the distributor cap. He replaced the rotor. He replaced the condenser. He replaced the points. He gapped them very carefully. He was following the instructions in his shop manual. At last he recapped the distributor. He climbed into the driver's seat. He held his breath. He turned the key. The engine caught. It ran smoothly. He breathed a sigh. The sigh was long. It was of satisfaction.