Monday, October 12, 2009

Sentence 12

His sentence: And this is a question which I should like to ask of you, who have arrived at that time which the poets call the "threshold of old age": Is life harder toward the end, or what report do you give of it?

From Plato's Republic

The author begins the sentence with a conjunction and announces the upcoming question to a character "you," referred to in the following adjective clause that proceeds the colon. Then comes the question which juxtaposes two nonparallel dependent clauses.

My sentence: But, I wish to inquire of You, who hung the moon and the stars: How can you love me so, or where does this love end?

Sentence 11

His sentence: I was delighted with the procession of the inhabitants; but that of the Thraciams was equally, if not more, beautiful.

From Plato's Republic

Plato's compound sentence is separated by a semicolon and a conjunction. The phrase "if not more," which qualifies the adverb equally, is set off by commas and solidifies the speaker's opinion.

My sentence: I was happy that she escaped the accident unscathed; but the policeman was too forgiving, if not entirely remissive, of her crime.

Sentence 10

His sentence: When I walked the streets in Germany, I found it impossible not to carefully survey groups of people loitering near buildings, and I found myself scanning windows in the business district, watching for snipers.

From Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Starting with a subordinate clause, and incorporating a participial phrase before the second independent clause set off by a conjunction, this sentence is compound-complex.

My sentence: As stare up into the golden leaves, I catch myself dreaming of snowflakes clinging to my windowpane, and I long for December to come.

Sentence 9

His sentence: I feel sort of . . . protected.

From Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

The author's use of an ellipsis adds suspense to the sentence.

My sentence: You are . . . astounding.

Sentence 8

His sentence: She began removing items-her wallet, sunglasses, visor, a tube of sunscreen-and handed them all to the blonde before wringing out the bag.

From Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

The author uses dashes to set apart a list-a list characterized by asyndeton.

My sentence: I check my bag once more for contest essentials-scissors, hairspray, glitter, extra gloves, shoes, pants, sequins, whistle-and head for the bus just before roll call.

Sentence 7

His sentence: It wasn't just her slightly gap-toothed smile, it was the casual way she swiped at a loose strand of hair, the easy way she held herself.

From Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Sparks' asyndeton allows the parallel phrases to easily flow into one another as they would in one's own stream of consciousness.

My sentence: The test itself didn't phase me, what got to me was the pressure to succeed, the expectations of every adult in the school.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sentence 6

Her sentence: It hit the steps (good) but then banked into the nearby bushes (not so good).
From Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

The author's use of parenthesis to insert opinions about the character's actions adds to the character's voice.

My sentence: I hit the high note (finally) but forgot the words to the next verse (humiliating).

Sentence 5

Her sentence: It landed right on the front stoop, the delivery version of a perfect ten.

From Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

The subordinate clause at the end of the sentence refers not to a single word in the sentence, but to the entire action described by the sentence.

My sentence: The band fell apart in the middle of our showcase, the epitome of my worst nightmares.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sentence 4

Her sentence: Two couples, dressed for a night out, walked between us, chattering happily among themselves.
From Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

The author's use of participial phrases provides a different form of description.

My sentence: The boys, dragging after practice, fumbled for their keys, struggling to keep their eyelids open.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sentence 3

Her sentence: But that was what I was doing: playing. Until the game was up.
from Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Dessen's use of a colon creates a pause, identifying the antecedent of "that". The following fragment qualifies the previous statement, highlighting the speaker's frustration at her own actions.

My sentence: But I knew what I wanted: everything. Always the selfish one.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sentence 2

Her sentence: "I do my best, thinking of them one by one, releasing them like birds from the protective cages inside me, locking the doors against their return."

From Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Her use of parallel phrases chronicle the mental steps Katniss takes to get past the agony of leaving her family and dear friends.

My sentence: I storm away, blocking their petty screams out of my memory, sealing my eardrums against the inevitable attacks, vowing to forget them and rise above the filth of their incessant squabbles.