Sentence Writing – Step 2 (Modifying words)

Introduction

Now that we know how to write simple sentences, let’s learn how to embellish them so they don’t sound too simple. After all, we all want to sound more sophisticated, don’t we? How can we enhance our simple sentences to show off our mastery of English, you may ask? We will initially look at utilizing the following elements:

  • Adjectives (can modify nouns)
  • Adverbs (can modify verbs, adverbs, or adjectives)
  • Prepositional phrases (can act as adjective or adverb phrases)

Embellishing Sentences with Adjectives

  1. The fox jumped over the dog. (plain)
  2. The quick, brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’s back. (embellished)
  3. The boy spat on the dog. (plain)
  4. The looming, intimidating, sadistic-looking boy spat on the pitiable, emaciated, cowering dog. (embellished)

Do you see how adding adjectives can really enhance the imagery and impact of a “simple” sentence?

Embellishing Sentences with Adverbs

Adverbs answer the questions: Where, when, why, how, or to what degree?

  1. The thief ran down the street. (plain)
  2. The thief ran hurriedly and erratically down the overly crowded street.
  3. The train pulled into the station. (plain)
  4. The massively heavy train slowly and unerringly pulled into the very old train station. (embellished)

Embellishing Sentences with Prepositional Phrases

Adjectives answer the questions: Which, what kind of, how many?
Adverbs answer the questions: Where, when, why, how, or to what degree?

  1. The fox jumped over the dog. (plain)
  2. The fox in the chicken coop jumped over the dog at the exit of the chicken coop. (embellished)
  3. The train pulled into the station. (plain)
  4. At five minutes before the hour, the train from New York City pulled into the Rochester station at the end of its route.

Student activity:

Please provide at least two plain sentences along with embellished versions.

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