Make Your Sentences More Interesting

A useful and practical way for students to make their writing more interesting is to have a variety of sentence beginnings. This means that they begin their sentences in different ways.

Some students have the habit of beginning multiple sentences with the same word and do not realise that it makes their writing sound unnatural.

Here is an example:

Lawrence dashed to the school canteen when the recess bell rang. He was famished as he did not have his breakfast. He joined the shortest queue in the canteen. He tapped his foot impatiently. Lawrence finally ordered a plate of fried noodles. He walked to a table and joined his friends. He gobbled up the fried noodles within minutes.

What is wrong with the paragraph above?

Every sentence begins with a proper noun or a pronoun.

A proper noun is the name of a person, place or thing and it begins with a capital letter.

Examples of proper nouns are ‘Jason’, ‘Mr Lee’ and ‘Uncle Joe’.

Examples of pronouns are ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘they’, ‘we’ and ‘I’.

In the paragraph above, all the sentences begin with either a proper noun or a pronoun – ‘Lawrence’ and ‘He’.

As a result, this paragraph does not flow smoothly. It is boring and predictable too. The main problem with it is a lack of variety. For effortless reading and to make the paragraph flow smoothly, a variety of sentence beginnings can be used to improve this paragraph. Having a variety of sentence beginnings also make your writing more interesting.

4 Interesting Ways To Begin Sentences

To spice up your writing, there are a few ways we can begin our sentences.

There are four types of sentence beginnings that primary school students can use in their compositions.

1. Begin with a verb ending with ‘ing’

Instead of beginning a sentence with a proper noun or pronoun, students can sometimes begin with a verb that ends with an ‘ing’.

Some examples of verbs ending with ‘ing’ are ‘walking’, ‘running’, ‘looking’, ‘sitting’.

A common way to describe a character’s feelings and actions is,

James felt miserable and locked himself in the room the whole day.

This sentence begins with ‘James’, which is the character’s name again. We can make this sentence more interesting by beginning it with a verb ending with ‘ing’.

For example,

Feeling miserable, James locked himself in the room the whole day.

Instead of beginning with the character’s name (James), we now begin with verb ‘Feeling’. This makes the sentence more interesting, doesn’t it? It also gives a greater variety in students’ writing as students commonly begin with the proper noun such as ‘James’.

Here is another example.

She closed the door as she thought there was nobody in the room.

We can put the verb (with ‘ing’) in front of the sentence.

Thinking that there was nobody in the room, she closed the door.

2. Begin with an adverb ending with a ‘-ly’.

An adverb is a word that tells us more about a verb.

A common way primary school students describe a character’s actions using an adverb is ‘Lina walked into the room quietly‘.

The word ‘quietly’ is an adverb. It tells us more about the verb ‘walked’. It answers the question ‘how’. How did Lina walk into the room? She walked in quietly.

Instead of starting with the proper noun ‘Lina’, we move the adverb ‘quietly’ to the beginning.

Quietly, Lina walked into the room.

This is a simple way for primary school students to write interesting sentences.

Here are more examples of beginning with an ‘ly’ adverb:

Frantically, Susie searched for her wallet.
Quickly, my mother got into the car.
Angrily, the teacher glared at him.

To do this would require students to be aware of suitable adverbs that they can use to aptly describe their characters’ actions. In lower primary, students should have learnt how to use adverbs to modify the verbs and make their writing more descriptive.

Adding an adverb to a simple sentence such as ‘Jack walked into the classroom’ can make your child’s writing more descriptive. The adverb used would help to paint a different picture in the reader’s mind.

Happily, Jack walked into the classroom.
Quietly, Jack walked into the classroom.
Suspiciously, Jack walked into the classroom.
Slowly, Jack walked into the classroom.

If your child does not know many adverbs, you can provide him or her with a list of interesting adverbs to use when writing compositions.

3. Begin with ‘To’

Another way we can write interesting sentences is to begin a sentence with the word “To”.

For example,

To my dismay, it started to rain.
To her horror, the spider landed on her hand.
To his disappointment, he did not win the race.

This should be used sparingly as having too many sentences that begin with ‘to’ would make the paragraph sound unnatural too.

4. Begin with a prepositional phrase

A prepositional phrase is a group of words made up of a preposition. Some examples of prepositions are ‘on’, ‘with’, ‘over’, ‘in’, ‘under’.

Let us look at how we can write more interesting sentences by beginning a sentence with a preposition or prepositional phrase.

For example,
Everyone had a great time at the party.

In the sentence above, the word ‘at’ is a preposition. We can make this sentence more interesting by beginning it with the preposition ‘at’.

At the party, everyone had a great time.

Here are more examples of beginning with a prepositional phrase instead of a noun or pronoun.

The puppy found some food under the table.
Under the table, the puppy found some food.

We went back to our classroom after recess.
After recess, we went back to our classroom.

Remember to put a comma after the prepositional phrase.

Writing Interesting Sentences

Back to the example of the boring paragraph at the beginning of this post.

Lawrence dashed to the school canteen when the recess bell rang. He was famished as he did not have his breakfast. He joined the shortest queue in the canteen. He tapped his foot impatiently. Lawrence finally ordered a plate of fried noodles. He walked to a table and joined his friends. He gobbled up the fried noodles within minutes.

Applying some of the 4 ways to begin a sentence, we can rewrite this paragraph to make it more interesting.

Lawrence dashed to the school canteen when the recess bell rang. As he did not have his breakfast, he was famished.  Joining the shortest queue in the canteen, he tapped his foot impatiently.  Finally, Lawrence ordered a plate of fried noodles. He walked to a table and joined his friends.  Within minutes, he had gobbled up the fried noodles.

This paragraph sounds better now, doesn’t it?

It takes a lot of focus and discipline to begin every sentence in a different way. Having a variety of sentence structure is more easily done in the editing stage of the writing process. This might be difficult for students who are used to beginning sentences with a noun or pronoun. However, with adequate practice, using a variety of sentence beginnings can become an effortless task for most students. The key is to practise editing sentences and make an effort to begin every sentence with a different word.

Let your child work towards having a variety of sentence beginnings in his or her writing. This is a useful way to make their compositions more interesting and engaging.


 

Enrol in one of our online writing courses to give your child ample writing practices at home and have his or her writing marked by our experienced Writing Coaches.

 

Author: BIG IDEAZ

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