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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Variety Is the Spice of Life!

As the old adage goes, "Variety is the spice of life."  So, need a little oregano or thyme, or maybe cinnamon to spice up your writing?  What about paprika?  The perfect spice to enliven your writing, of course, is to use a variety of sentence structures.

Notice in the following paragraph that the writer has used a variety of sentence structures to add vitality to his writing.

(Reminder:  S =          Simple Sentence (one independent clause)
                    CD =        Compound Sentence (two or more independent clauses)
                    CX =        Complex Sentence (one independent clause + any number of subordinate clauses)
                    CD-CX = Compound-Complex Sentence (two or more independent clauses + any number of subordinate clauses)

George Willard, the Ohio village boy, was fast growing into manhood and new thoughts had been coming into his mind. (CD)  All that day, amid the jam of people at the Fair, he had gone about feeling lonely. (S)  He was about to leave Winesburg to go away to some city where he hoped to get work on a city newspaper and he felt grown-up.  (CD-CX)  The mood that had taken possession of him was a thing known to men and unknown to boys. (CX)  He felt old and a little tired. (S)  Memories awoke in him.  (S)  To his mind his new sense of maturity set him apart, made of him a half-tragic figure.  (S)  He wanted someone to understand the feeling that had taken possession of him after his mother's death.  (CX)

                                                                                                       ~Sherwood Anderson

When we first begin to write, we use simple sentences:  Next week we will stay after school.  The rehearsals for the spring play begin.  Maybe I will have a part in it. 

However, as we grow older and more mature in our thinking, we write more complicated sentences, in order to express our thoughts more effectively.  One sign of maturity in writing is the use of subordination, which will help you to write sentences that have greater clarity, smoothness, and force.

So spice up your writing with more than a dash of sentence variety, and mix together simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences to create the perfect piece.

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