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Writing Program

Varying Sentence Beginnings

Dominique Battles, English

Varying Sentence Beginnings

Often, writing can become flat-footed when a writer begins each of his/her sentences in the same way.  The sentences plod along monotonously.  

For example:

Josh wanted a new laptop.  He saw a laptop at the store and he liked it.  Josh tried out the laptop in the store.  He found it worked really well.  He liked the keys.

You'll notice that each sentence begins with Josh (or the pronoun "he") as the noun of the sentence, followed by the verb.  Noun, verb.  Noun, verb.  Ho, hum.  Simply by changing how the sentence begins, the writing starts to perk up:

Josh wanted a new laptop.  In the store, he found one he liked.  Trying it out, he found it worked well.  The keys, especially, felt nice.  

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Exercise:  See how many ways you can write the following sentences.

Example:  The hero saw a giant axe mounted on the wall of the cave, and thought he could use it to kill the monster.

Variation 1:   Seeing a giant axe mounted on the wall of the cave, the hero thought he could use it to kill the monster.

Variation 2:  Thinking of how he could kill the monster, the hero saw a giant axe mounted on the wall of the cave.

Variation 3:  On the wall of the cave, the hero saw a giant axe, which he thought he could use to kill the monster.    

Your Turn:  re-write the following sentences three different ways by varying the beginning of the sentence.

1.  He followed the corridor indicated on the map and found the room where the treasure was hidden.

2.  I passed the test after studying hard and getting a good night's sleep.  

3.  The cat opened one eye and jumped off the couch once it heard the clink of cat food in the bowl in the kitchen.