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Sentence Patterns
Based on a handout from Mrs Kim's class

Sentences basically communicate ideas and thoughts, but there is a great variety of sentence patterns. In order to communicate more complex or sophisticated ideas, you need to be able to have these patterns in your arsenal of tricks, so your writing can be fascinating, refined, and challenging without being confusing or pretentious.

Each sentence pattern below is followed by examples:

  1. Series of Balanced Pairs:
    • Hagar and Milkman, Ryna and Solomon, and Ruth and Macon are all examples of love gone wrong.
    • Eager yet fearful, confident but suspicious, Jason eyes the Golden Fleece
    • Gold and silver, land and heroism, abundance and freedom were what attracted Eurpoeans to the new continent in the 1500s. Of course, they were not prepared for diease and hardship, confoict and resistance, or competition and conflagration.
  2. Repetition of a key term:
    • We all inhabit a mysterious world: the inner world, the world of the mind.
    • If Milkman wanted to fly, he could fly.
    • Barbarism is all relative to Montaigne; the more "cifilized" and suppossedly not barbaric the society, the more prone to barbarous practice towards one's fellow man.
  3. Complete inversion of normal pattern:
    • The watermark, needed so desperately by Ruth, grew and receded with her tidal emotions.
    • More interesting than Pilate's earring or her strange mis-naming is her missing navel that shocks her community.
    • Intuition and natural human emotion, Macon never appreciated.
    • To posit the natives as child-like and primitive, the early European conquerors constructed the new world as feminine and virginal.
    • Like many American survival and captivity narratives thath would follow in the 18th century, de Vaca's tale culminates in a spiritual rebirth.
    • Never before have we had so little time to do so much. -FDR
  4. Paired constructions:
    • The more Pilate insists on her way of life, the more Hagar resists.
    • Just as First Corinthians is named for the love that will never exist between her parents, Magdalena called Lena is named for a woman she will never emulate.
  5. Absolute construction:
      An absolute construction is a noun + participle that modifies the entire sentence, so it can be placed anywhere.
    • His isolation firmly established and his body turning against him, Chris starved to death in the wild.
    • His life desired now even by his double and brother, Milkman jumps, and flies.