Homework Help: Making Sentences

Your teachers will often expect you to construct strong sentences. They'll want you to go beyond connecting a subject to a verb and using correct punctuation. This tutorial will give you some homework help on making sentences that really sing.

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How to Make Strong Sentences

Adjectives

Adjectives are words that provide readers with more information about the subject of the sentence. When used correctly, adjectives help you visualize the written words in your mind. Furthermore, they can help you engage readers by making the sentence interesting. For example, read the following sentence:

The man walked into the alley.

There's nothing wrong with the sentence. It has a subject and a verb. It also has the correct punctuation. However, it's not very interesting. Now, read the sentence with adjectives added:

The small, timid man walked into the dark and dreary alley.

Adding adjectives to the sentence helps you see the scene better. In this case, a suspenseful tone was also created. Practice adding your own adjectives to the sentence. If you're having trouble, a thesaurus can help.

Active Voice

Your sentences will flow better when you use an active voice rather than a passive voice. A passive voice weakens the sentence by using variations of the verb form to be. In addition, using the passive voice often makes the sentence longer than necessary and causes the sentence to lose its punch. Here is an example of the passive voice:

The pizza is being eaten by the starving man.

An active voice makes sentences clearer and shorter. In addition, the brevity often gives your statements impact. Below, the same sentence has been written using an active voice.

The starving man eats the pizza.

Strong Verbs

You can improve your sentences by using strong, visual verbs. Basic words, like walk, talk or see are okay, but they can usually be replaced with words that provide a clearer picture of the action. To demonstrate, let's take a look at two sentences from the above sections.

The small, timid man walked into the dark and dreary alley.
The starving man eats the pizza.

The verbs used in both sentences do their job. However, better choices can be used to strengthen the sentences and clearly define the action. Notice how the images of the sentences are enhanced with the use of precise verbs.

The small, timid man tiptoed into the dark and dreary alley.
The starving man devoured the pizza.
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