• Sentence Variety Notes

    1. Write a compound sentence.

    There are two good ways to do this.

    A. Join two independent clauses with a comma and a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so).

    Ex. Joe Bob is very smart, but he doesn’t

    make good grades.

    B. Join two independent clauses with a semicolon.

    Ex. Joe Bob’s mother is angry about his

    failing grades; she has grounded him

    for a month.

    C:\Users\courtney.lever\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\CXBCW76J\MC900104728[1].wmf Punctuation Alert!

    A “compound sentence” without a conjunction after the comma is really not a compound sentence. It’s a comma splice…and those are bad!

    Ex. My mother told me I shouldn’t go to the party, I never listen to her, I got in big trouble.

    Remember, this is bad!

    2. Write a complex sentence.

    A complex sentence contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause.

    Ex. Before he was grounded, Joe Bob was

    allowed to text as much as he wanted.

    When his mother took his phone away, Joe

    Bob threw himself on his bed and sobbed.

    C:\Users\courtney.lever\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\V3KDLGU9\MC900104728[1].wmfPunctuation Alert!

    When a sentence begins with a dependent clause, there will always be a comma after the dependent clause.

    3. Write a compound-complex sentence.

    A compound-complex sentence contains two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause. In other words, it’s a compound sentence mixed with a complex sentence, hence the name!

    Ex. It was raining, but the sun was shining when we looked out the window.

    When I walked to school, I stumbled into the ditch, so the rest of the day I wore muddy pants!

    4. Begin a sentence with an adjective.

    An adjective is a describing word for nouns and pronouns. Adjectives answer the following questions:

    • What kind?

    • How many?

    • Which one?

    • How much?

    The adjective at the beginning should always describe the subject of the sentence.

    Ex. Furious, the young mother confronted the clown who had just frightened her toddler.

    Incredulous, I watched the cheerleader throw 60 backflips in a row.

    Punctuation Alert!

    Notice that the adjective is followed by a comma.

    Tip: This kind of sentence is most effective when your adjective is an emotion or a thought word.

    That’s the whole point; you’re writing this way to focus your reader on the word that’s the adjective because it’s the most important part of the sentence.

    Think about how your attention shifts when I essentially say the same thing, but in a different sentence pattern.

    The clown who had scared the young toddler was confronted by the child’s furious mother.


    Furious, the young mother confronted the clown who had just frightened her toddler.

    Quiz Explanation

    Each week you will have a cumulative sentence variety quiz on Friday. Cumulative means that you will be quizzed about ALL of the sentence variations you have learned so far.

    This week you will be tested on the first four.

    Next week you will be tested on the four from this week and the four from next week.

    The third week I will ask you about the four current ones, and I will randomly choose 6 of the old ones. After the second week, you can expect to write 10 sentences on every quiz.

    Every week your list to study will grow in length. This means that if you don’t understand one of the sentence variations, you need to come in for tutorials. It will never go away!

    The format of the quiz is simple. I will list the variations for you. You will write one sentence for each one. I will change the topic each week. One week all of your sentences might be about horses; the next week you might be writing about Thanksgiving. I change topics because I don’t want you just to memorize one sentence for each variation. I want you to be able to adapt the variations to any topic. You will then be more likely to vary the sentences in your compositions, which is the whole point.

    There will be a 10 point bonus on each quiz. I will give you a sentence challenge which includes combining two of the sentence variations.

Last Modified on September 14, 2018