Creative and Powerful Ways to Start Your Sentences, and Weak Sentence Starters to Avoid
Like a 100-meter sprinter, your sentences should start strong and finish even stronger.
Use a Variety of Words and Constructions to Start Your Sentences
Some writers start the majority of their sentences with the same basic formula they learned in middle school: start with the subject and place the verb after it, as close as possible. They write most sentences like these, for example: Jackie wants to become a better writer. She will read “Grammar and Writing for Creators” from cover to cover. She is determined to succeed. Jackie doesn’t always have enough time to study, but she will try to find the time.
While those sentences are grammatically sound, the elementary construction used in each—the same style over and over, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph—should not be repeated for every sentence in our prose. This formulaic, monotonous pattern is as undesirable as eating sausage, eggs, and pancakes for every meal, every day for three months; that is, seven days a week, four weeks a month, for three months straight. A variety of everyday things in apt quantities keep the mind satisfied, the faculties sustained, and the body optimal. A variety of grammatical constructions in everyday writing also facilitate such satisfaction and optimality.
Weak Sentence Starters To Avoid
First, be sure to check out my other, even more instructive article, How to Write an Exceptional Article or Blog Post.
Worn-out noun phrases and expletives (not curse word, these: this is, it is, etc.) enfeeble our prose. Don’t use any of the following weak sentence starters:
That (This) is, It is, Based on, In the attempt that, From the point of view, By virtue of, From where we are standing, It is important to note that, The fact that, At the end of the day
Creative and Powerful Sentence Starters
Use these alternate constructions to start some of your sentences; they add variety, style, and force:
- Use an infinitive phrase: To improve her writing, Jackie will read Grammar and Writing for Creators.
2. Use a prepositional phrase: After feeling embarrassed yet again, Jackie has decided to buy a grammar book to help her improve her writing.
3. Use a participial phrase: Tired of being a weak writer, Jackie has decided to read a grammar book to improve her writing.
4. Use parallelism, which we discuss in section 9 below: Unsatisfied with being a lousy writer, distraught with the criticism of her recent report, and frustrated with the errors in her everyday writing, Jackie has decided to buy a grammar book to help her improve her writing.
5. Use a truncated clause (discussed in the next section): While busy, she will find the time to read the entire book.
6. Use a noun appositive: Soccer superstar Jackie Abrams plans to read a grammar book to improve her writing, as she prepares to write her memoir.
7. Use a noun absolute: A lady determined, Jackie will buy a grammar book to improve her writing.
8. Use an adverbial phrase: Swiftly, resolutely, and fastidiously, Jackie will study to improve her writing.
9. Use “pre-adjectival fragments”—if I may coin a term (we will discuss a similar technique in the next chapter): Embarrassed. Determined. Self Motivated. Jackie has decided to improve her writing, starting today. Or forgo the fragments and do this: Embarrassed, determined, self-motivated—Jackie has decided to improve her writing, starting today.
10. Start with a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, for, yet, so, and nor): Jackie knows her writing needs help and plans to work on it soon. But she is not sure which grammar book to get. (Notice we didn’t use a comma after the coordinating conjunction, but, at the beginning of the sentence.)
11. Start with a correlative conjunction (neither … nor, either … or, not only … but/also, etc.): Either she will improve now or she will remain a weak writer. Neither her busy schedule nor her disheveled persona will prevent her from improving her writing this time. She will not only study hard, but also practice daily to make sure she is grasping the important topics.
With all of those constructions to begin your sentences, you will no doubt write more varied and powerful sentences. You already have the intrinsic creativity to write compelling prose, now go elucidate, humor, delight, instruct, and charm with your fine writing.
Before you do, check out my two writing books at Writing.Bov Academy.com.