Archive for the ‘Style Guide’ Category

How to Vary and Improve Your Sentences Part I

December 25th, 2009 in Improve English, Style Guide

Emphasizing a word

You can put special emphasis on a word in a number of ways. For instance, try placing it first.

Though he is poor, he is happy.
Poor though he is, he is happy. (Here the emphasis is on the word ‘poor’.)

Rewrite the sentences given below placing the underlined word first. Read your sentences aloud, and notice how the meaning changes.

The birds flew up.
Though he was hurt, he didn’t stop playing.
The guns boomed out relentlessly.
I would like only his old photograph for myself.


Up flew the birds. (Here the emphasis is on the word up.)
Hurt though he was, he didn’t stop playing. (Here the emphasis is on the word ‘hurt’.)
Relentlessly the guns boomed out. (Here the emphasis is on the words ‘relentlessly’.)
For myself, I would like only his old his old photograph.

Repeating words is another method. Note that by repeating a particular word, we put extra emphasis on it. Be careful, however, not to do this too often.

Help! Help! Screamed the woman.
Electronic appliances are getting cheaper and cheaper.
Nearer and nearer came the figure dressed in black.
Up, up flew the birds.
Down, down sank the wrecked ship.

Begin with a phrase or an adverb

You can vary and improve your sentences, by beginning them with a phrase or an adverb.

I visited Cairns during the winter.
During the winter, I visited Cairns. (Here we begin the sentence with the adverb phrase ‘during the winter’.)
The poor little boy looked hungrily at the cake.
Hungrily the poor little boy looked at the cake. (Here we begin the sentence with the adverb ‘hungrily’.)
We saw a flashing light in the sentence.
In the distance, we saw a flashing light.
She tore up the letter angrily.
Angrily she tore up the letter.

When you begin a sentence with an adverb phrase, use a comma to separate it from the rest of the sentence.