Variety

1. All sentences do not have to begin with a subject and verb. You can place an adverb modifier at the beginning.

One way:

I often think of the twin towers when I visit downtown Manhattan.

Another way:

Often, when I visit downtown Manhattan, I think of the twin towers.

manhattan-batteryparkcity.jpg

One way:

The actress Ellen Barkin will eventually unload the $1 million, 15-carat diamond ring she got while married to Revlon boss Ron Perelman.

Another way:

Eventually, the actress Ellen Barkin will unload the $1 million, 15-carat diamond ring she got while married to Revlon boss Ron Perelman.

barkin.jpg

Exercise: Turn the following sentence around:

Katie Holmes ran incognito in the New York City Marathon until hubby Tom Cruise sprang from the crowd and planted, quickly, a big wet one on the Dawson Creek star’s saliva-speckled lips.

2. Vary sentence types. Too many compound sentences in a row—or too many of any sentence type—can be monotonous.

The following paragraph is made up of a simple sentence, a compound sentence, a complex sentence, and a compound-complex sentence.

Simple sentence.

Frequently, Robert Violante thinks of the day he was shot by David Berkowitz.

Compound Sentence

He was sitting in a car with Stacy Moskowitz, and he didn’t see the Son of Sam killer approaching.

Complex Sentence

Although Moskowitz was shot in the head and died the next day, Violante survived.

Compound-Complex Sentence:

Whenever Violente thinks of what happened to him and Stacy on July 31, 1977, he gets mad, and he hopes that Berkowitz never gets paroled.

Exercise: Take the following simple sentence and turn it into a compound sentence, a complex sentence, and a compound-complex sentence:

The film American Gangster glorifies drug kingpin Frank Lucas.

3. Invert Sentences. You don’t always have to follow the subject-verb-object order.

Subject-verb-object:

Rebekah Johnson pumped  Gannas commune leader Jeff Gross with six .38-caliber bullets.

Inverted sentence:

Six .38-caliber bullets did Rebekah Johnson pump into Gannas commune leader Jeff Gross.

Subject-verb-object:

After taking LSD and staring at the sun for hours, fifteen hippies are totally blind.

Object-verb-subject

Blind are fifteen hippies after taking LSD and staring at the sun for hours.

Invert the following sentence:

I am in the money after sinking $10,000 into various real estate investment trusts.

4. Add a question or quotation.

Online dating sites are a joke. I saw this ad where the woman wrote that she was looking for an “honest” guy with a “positive outlook on life” who is into “fine dining” and “long walks on the beach at sunset” and who “knows himself.” I hate fine dining and long walks on the beach, and I don’t know myself. And, given my negative outlook on life, how the hell I am going to get her to answer my ad if I’m the least bit honest?

Exercise: Write a three-sentence paragraph that ends with a question.

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