FIRST NINE WEEKS
Sentence Pattern #1: Strong, Active, Action Verbs
This pattern de-emphasizes the use of any form of the verb “to be” (am, is, are, was,
were, be, being, been). Do not choose linking verbs such as stay, remain, appear turn,
become, grow. Create sentences using the active form of the action verb, the form that
does not take any part of the verb “to be” as a helper.
Fire belched from the dragon’s mouth as it chased me.
The cloud darkened the moon in the midnight sky.
The brain does not shrink, wilt, perish, nor deteriorate with age.
Sentence Pattern #2: Ask a Question
This pattern works well as an opening sentence in a paragraph or essay. Questions most
frequently begin with one of these words: who, what, when, where, why, or how.
BEWARE OF THE TEMPTATION TO USE BE VERBS IN THIS PATTERN. Create
examples of an interrogative sentence.
How does the city of Oslo, Norway, resemble an American city?
What characteristics identify the Romantic Age in English poetry?
Why did the Vikings turn to the sea for a living?
Sentence Pattern #3: Exclamatory Sentences
This type of sentence expresses a strong, genuine feeling or surprise. It ends with an
exclamation point. The exclamation point will not lend weight to a simple statement of
fact, nor will the use of double or triple exclamation marks add anything. This pattern
does not require 10 words or more.
The Twin Towers disappeared in minutes!
What torments they have endured!
Oh, how I love learning to write with sentence patterns!
Sentence Pattern #4: Open with an Adverb
An adverb modifies (changes the meaning of) a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.
Adverbs answer these questions: how, when, where, how much, how many times. Many
adverbs in the English language end in –ly. Use a comma after an adverb as a sentence
opener if the adverb receives special stress. Explore grammar websites for a review of
adverbs if necessary.
Honestly, it took my breath away when I saw her.
Specifically, you must write a total of four sentences that open with an adverb.
Devotedly and devoutly, I gazed at the wondrous Grand Canyon.
Tomorrow I will have tutoring for sentence patterns if you need help.
Sentence Pattern #5: Open with a Prepositional Phrase
Prepositions connect different parts of the structure of the sentence. A preposition
describes direction (from the hill); describes position (above the door); tell time (at
dinner time); describes means (with pen or pencil); or shows some abstract relationship
(except for Jack, for the party, or independence). Prepositional phrases modify nouns or
verbs; therefore, they do the jobs of adjectives and adverbs. Use a comma after a long,
introductory prepositional phrase, after an introduction that has two phrases, or if the
phrase requires special stress. Omit the comma after a relatively short phrase; however,
if the short phrase reads awkwardly, a comma may become necessary (At the track, meet
me in front of the snack bar. Imagine this sentence without the comma.) BEWARE OF
With a smile on his face, the lion savored his meal of fresh zebra.
In the 1930’s leftists lived in constant fear of the terror imposed by the secret
For gold the athlete has an intense desire at the competition.
Under the couch ran the dog when his owner chastised him for eating his
Sentence Pattern assignment.
Sentence Pattern #6: Verb Precedes the Subject
In these particular examples, we also find Sentence Patterns #4 and #5, sentences opening
with adverbs or prepositional phrases. In this pattern, however, the verb precedes the
subject. Note that you will not use a comma after the introductory adverb or
prepositional phrase like patterns #4 and #5. These sentences will not need to meet the
10 word minimum since these often read more effectively as short sentences. Practice
placing the verb before the subject .
Beside the house grew a large maple tree.
Loudly roared the lion after savoring his meal of fresh zebra.
Under the couch ran the dog.
Down the street tottered a feeble, shabbily-dressed man.
Higher and higher rose the flood waters.
Sentence Pattern #7: Use Conversation or a Quotation
In writing dialog, a writer customarily indents, like paragraphs, the words of each speaker. When
a writer quotes short speeches or statements, though, to illustrate a point in exposition, he usually
includes them within the paragraph. The following conventions govern the use of other
punctuation with the quotation marks that enclose the quoted short speeches or statements:
1. Always place commas and periods inside the closing quotation mark.
2. Place semicolons (;) and colons (:) outside the closing quotation mark.
3. Place question marks, exclamation points, and dashes inside or outside the final
quotation mark, depending upon the situation. They come inside when they apply to the
quotation only; they come outside when they apply to the entire statement.
4. Never double end-punctuation marks. If a quotation ends a sentence, the end punctuation
within the quotation marks also indicates the end of the sentence.
“Ellen,” she said, “I want you to take the two young ladies for a ride on the donkeys.”
The critic’s attitude seems to state, “I don’t like any movie”; on a few occasions, though,
he has said kind words for a travelogue or a documentary film.
“If they turn me down, how will they do it?” he asked.
Who said that “good guys finish last”?
Sentence Pattern #8: Use Appositives
Appositive—nouns or pronouns—extend the meaning of preceding nouns or pronouns. As
nonrestrictive (or non-essential) modifiers, they require commas to set them off from the rest of
the sentence Restrictive (essential) appositives and those used as part of a person’s name require
My father, a wise and grave man, gave me serious and excellent counsel.
Shelley, the poet, could not tolerate injustice.
The poet Shelley could not tolerate injustice.
I thought the question referred to Lewis the novelist rather than to Lewis the union leader.
The landlord tactfully suggested that we get rid of Popeye, our Siamese cat.
Sentence Pattern #9: Open with an Adverbial Clause
An adverbial clause has a subject and a predicate, but it cannot stand alone; it functions as part of
the sentence. Adverbial clauses modify verbs, adjectives, adverbs, or main clauses. They usually
express a relationship of time, place, direction, cause, effect, condition, manner, or concession.
The following words serve as common connectives for expressing these relationships: after;
although; as; as if; as long as; because; before; if; in order that; provided that; since; so;
so that; though; till; unless; until; when; whenever; where; wherever; while.
After he seized control, the situation changed drastically.
Because he reads faster, he finishes before I do.
Before I could get to my feet to defend myself, she bent down and gave me a clip across
Since she works afternoons, she cannot go to the parent conference.
Although she chirped like a happy bird, I knew her sorrow.
Refer to the list of vocabulary words.
Use at least one word from the list in each sentence.
Choose words that you have mastered.