1. waitingforzion
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    waitingforzion Active Member

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    What sentence patterns do you like and use?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by waitingforzion, Mar 15, 2016.

    I figure this might be helpful to me and others. To those of you are know English grammar very well, and have acquired a large repertoire of grammatical patterns/phrase or sentence structure, I'm asking you to list your favorite or most effective ones here. Give the parts of speech and an example, as well as any important relationship between the words.
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Looking at my recent novella I discovered -
    - I like fragments.
    - I've also been favoring overcomplicated sentences
    - And prepositional phrases on top of prepositional phrases to start sentences.
    - Alliteration
    - Phrases embedded with emdashes instead of the out of favor parenthesis.
    - Deliberately interrupting a sentence with a new thought using a emdash.
    - And I tend to ditch pronouns/subjects which is considered a no-no - starting out in the air with a verb.

    I'd post some examples but I'm not sure what I do is correct, and some of it might look strange without it's context.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
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  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hm. I don't know if there are any that I consciously make use of in a deliberate way, but there certainly are ones I note that I overuse and end up having to revisit later on.

    • Like @peachalulu, I embrace the fragments. They are welcome in my home.
    • I have a habit of giving descriptions in triplets. Something is lovely and welcome and adored. I overuse that form and often have to go back and commit to one of the three things.
    • I also like the interjection set off by emdashes. I try to be sparing, though, because they are rather loud.
    • When possible and logical and lucid, I eschew dialogue tags altogether and I am ever in favor of beats as attributions.

    Other than that, the form a sentence takes depends on what I want out of that section of writing. If I mean to induce tension and a feel of quick action, waxing rhapsodic in overlong sentences of narrative does not serve. But when I want to let my character navel gaze for a bit - and there are times when this is called for - then I weave sentences that reflect train of thought and are long and convoluted. These are just two examples. Again, it depends on what the section is asking for, and that can be pretty much anything. :)
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I like doing this too, and building. I don't know what else to call it but kind of building up a longish sentence to get to one biting end note. Usually I do this more with paragraphs - each sentence is a step to that final statement, but sometimes I can achieve the same kind of irony or despair or whatever mood in one sentence.
     
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  5. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    I second (or should that now be third?) the use of fragments. Sharp little things. Right to the point. Building as @peachalulu called it, and @Wreybies alluded to in his final comment, is a good way to ratchet up the tension – or carry a reader forward – and long sentences with multiple clauses can be used to good effect; you can even be brave with esoteric punctuation: the semicolon or the colon. The kind of marks that many loathe. And don't be afraid to start a sentence with a conjunction. It's like wagging your finger to highlight a point.

    Something I've noticed recently is my use of semicolons (the most hated mark in the modern world) in POV descriptions, and sentences that start with conjunctions – for the reason I explained above. The semicolon thing works for me because I think it neatly captures the way we take in a lot of detail all at once – the way we form an impression with one sweeping glance. If a character walks into a room, and I want to describe what they see, I'll often try something like this:

    Sandra walked into the bar. She'd been here a hundred times, but today the hairs on the back of her neck stood up as she pushed open the door. And shit, she was sweating. It was a upmarket place – her friends called it plush – but today it felt seedy; the mahogany was tarnished, the artwork was cheap, and Jake looked half dead as he polished a glass. But that wasn't the worst of it. The worst of it was Vic in the corner: the twat from the races. She knew he'd be here. He was looking right at her with those come-fuck-me eyes; a cigarette dangled from one twisted lip; the bastard was wearing her scarf. She was sweating. For him. But it would be better all round if he sweated for her. His eyes would look good on a plate.

    OK, I've rushed through this, but I hope it illustrates the points I've made above. The only other thing I should say is that I always try to sandwich description between character action and thought. Trying to keep my POV tight.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2016
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