English II: Writing: Module 7: Practice 2: Section 6 Strengthen Sentence Variety/Sentence Combining Imitating Paragraphs

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1 Strengthen Sentence Variety/Sentence Combining Imitating Paragraphs Instructions: Read the following paragraphs from a news story by Adam Himmelsbach about a 17-year-old senior high school girl who plays quarterback on her high school football team. Read all three paragraphs first, then look at the sentence-by-sentence breakdowns. An imitation sentence has been provided for each sentence in each of the paragraphs. After reading Himmelsbach s sentence, the model imitation sentence, and the commentary on the pattern of the sentence, write an original imitation sentence of your own using one of the following topics or one of your own: an intruder, a visit from a stranger, a dog with a mission, or an airport encounter. Source: texas high school football game,vvvamobile, Flickr 1. South Plantation High School s third-string quarterback was warming up on the sideline before the fourth quarter of a recent preseason game, and each pass was quick, concise and purposeful. 2. The quarterback s nervous mother, Kathleen DiMeglio, was capturing the moment on video from the bleachers. 3. Then, in an instant, the quarterback vanished from the frame, lost amid the sea of white jerseys. 4. When the Seminole Ridge Community High School announcer told the crowd Erin DiMeglio was at quarterback, there was little reaction, because the name Erin, when pronounced, does not connote a gender. 5. [Then] everyone saw her ponytail swaying as she jogged onto the field. 6. Then there was some buzz. 7. Is that the girl? 8. Can she play? Can she throw? 9. DiMeglio, who is 5 feet 5 inches and 140 pounds, did not go down, but she did fire a pinpoint pass to a receiver, who turned upfield for a 10-yard gain. 10. Fans cheered. 11. Cheerleaders chanted Erin s name. 12. Kathleen DiMeglio exhaled. 2013Texas Education Agency/ The University of Texas System. All Rights Reserved.

2 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 2) Sentence-by-Sentence Breakdown: Reread each sentence. Compare it to the model imitation to get a feel for the way the structure of the sentence works. Then write your own sentence following the structure that is common to both Himmelsbach s sentence and the model. When you are finished, mouse over the Possible Imitation button to see a sample imitation. 1. South Plantation High School s third-string quarterback was warming up on the sideline before the fourth quarter of a recent preseason game, and each pass was quick, concise and purposeful. Source: Shopping Carts, Universal Pops, Flickr Model Imitation: The local Eagle Supermarket s newly hired bagger was maneuvering a long line of carts through the parking lot, and each cart rattled, squeaked, and scraped as it was pushed toward the building. What s going on: After the first independent clause, another clause is joined with a comma + and. The two clauses make this a compound sentence. The contribution of this sentence to the variety of the sentences is primarily its length. Try to write a long sentence that uses compound structure.

3 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 3) 2. The quarterback s nervous mother, Kathleen DiMeglio, was capturing the moment on video from the bleachers. Source: manager, geccol, Flickr Model Imitation: The bagger s manager, Mr. Leech, was watching the maneuver from inside the store. What s going on: This is a shorter sentence. The interest is in the appositive supplying the name of the person who is the subject of the sentence.

4 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 4) 3. Then, in an instant, the quarterback vanished from the frame, lost amid the sea of white jerseys. Source: Shopping carts Target store, Jim Henderson, Wikimedia Model Imitation: Then, in an instant, the carts started rolling down an incline in the lot, getting away from the bagger s control. What s going on: The sentence starts with an adverb ( Then ) and an introductory prepositional phrase. The two previous sentences had modifiers before the subject but not introductory phrases or clauses. At the end of the sentence, there is a participial phrase. Try to write a sentence with an introductory prepositional phrase and a participial phrase at the end.

5 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 5) 4. When the Seminole Ridge Community High School announcer told the crowd Erin DiMeglio was at quarterback, there was little reaction, because the name Erin, when pronounced, does not connote a gender. Source: Friday Surprise Face,jgarber,Flickr Model Imitation: When the manager started to realize what was happening, he didn t react at first because, from his vantage point, he couldn t see how close the carts were getting to the side of a Subaru van. What s going on: There is an adverbial clause starting the sentence and a dependent clause (with because ) at the end. The dependent clause is interrupted by a when phrase, but from his vantage point doesn t indicate when. Try to include an introductory adverbial clause and a dependent clause in your imitation. If you can think of a way to interrupt the dependent clause with a phrase of some sort, you get extra credit.

6 6 English II: Writing: Module 7: Practice 2: Section 6 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 6) 5. [Then] everyone saw her ponytail swaying as she jogged onto the field. Source: 4/365 Tempted to ride away with them, Mary louise Eklund, Flickr Model Imitation: Then he saw the line of carts headed directly at the side door of the van. What s going on: This sentence starts with a subject-verb-object pattern, but it varies that pattern by adding a participle modifying the object. Write a subject-verb-object sentence with a -ing or -ed participle following the object.

7 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 7) 6. Then there was some buzz. Source: Mouth, Phil Dragash, Flickr Model imitation: Then he heard the bagger shout. What s going on: This sentence is short. This develops a tempo that will be continued in the next three sentences. The music of the paragraph is a part of the variety.

8 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 8) 7 9. Is that the girl? Can she play? Can she throw? Source: Oh no!, jasmine, Flickr Model Imitation: Does he see it? Can he stop it? Will he do it? What s going on: Shorter and shorter, these three sentences are outbursts. They make the paragraph dramatic.

9 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 9) 10. DiMeglio, who is 5 feet 5 inches and 140 pounds, did not go down, but she did fire a pinpoint pass to a receiver, who turned upfield for a 10-yard gain. Source: Perot Museum of Nature and Science -running 01, Joe Mabel, Wikimedia Model Imitation: The bagger, who was not athletic looking at all, got to the van just before the carts, and he threw his body between the van and the line of carts, which came to a stop by bumping him in the stomach. What s going on: You could pretty much predict that after those short sentences, a longer sentence would be called for. This sentence is compound-complex. Not only is it made up of two complete sentences (independent clauses) joined by and, but it also has two dependent clauses, one that begins with who and another that begins with which. Both dependent clauses serve as adjectives. Write a sentence with an introductory clause or phrase and a clause of phrase at the end. See if you can also make the sentence compound-complex.

10 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 10) Fans cheered. Cheerleaders chanted Erin s name. Source: Not 365:16 Peekaboo, hebedesign, Flickr Model Imitation: The manager gasped. The bagger grinned in relief. What s going on: We are dealing with tempo again. See if you can add two sentences; the first one being shorter than the second.

11 Imitating Paragraphs (continued, page 11) 3. Kathleen DiMeglio exhaled. Source: We're all living in a yellow submarine, Robert Baibich, Flickr Model Imitation: Everyone in the parking lot cheered. What s going on: A subject + verb sentence adds to sentence variety just as much as the twenty-word-plus sentence in the first paragraph. The point is that there are sentences of different lengths and with different patterns of construction. You should be aware of the power of imitation--especially when you see something you like. As you read, try to read as a writer. Look for ideas to use in your writing. When you admire a sentence or a paragraph, try to imitate it. Take the opportunity to learn from writers you are reading. It s the best writing instruction you can find anywhere.

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