20 Jun

When writing in scope of paragraphs, the writer must always remember to construct understandable sentences. Anyhow, a paragraph is composed of sentences. To make the paragraph could be well-comprehended, the writer have to do some varieties. There are four major categories of sentence varieties, that is: 1) Sentence beginnings, 2) Sentence types, 3) Sentence patterns, and 4) Sentence lengths.

1.       The Sentence Beginning

A normal sentence in English (except the imperative) starts with the Subject, and then followed by the verb. Then perhaps by the object (if any) or adverb (also, if any). As a creative writer we should avoid the monotonous order S + V + (O) + (A) throughout the paragraph.

Let us compare the following sentences:

  1. We will sit for the test next week, not next month. (S+V+O+A)
  2. Next week, not next month, we will sit for the test. (A+S+V+O)

The variation of sentence beginnings can be done through using:

1)   To infinitive (phrase), not the noun as subject (S), as in:

  • To be disciplined requires self-determination.
  • To write well needs considerable practice.
  • To try to love you is really challenging me.
  • To succeed means to work hard.

2)   The gerund as subject (S), as in:

  • Thinking seriously makes us tired.
  • Gossiping is sometimes enjoyable.
  • Smoking can cause you to suffer terribly.
  • Breaking promises repeatedly might ruin credibility.

3)  The introductory ‘it’ and ‘there’ as (empty) subject (S), as in:

  • There were some 2000 spectators watching the final match.
  • There must be compromise between you and me.
  • It is appropriate for everybody to be polite.
  • It was shameful to act unwisely in front of the audience.

       Note: It is considered weak and rather wordy.

4)   (Noun) clause beginning with that and the wh-words as subject (S), as in:

  • That Titi eventually agreed to join us surprised them.
  • Whatever that braggart says cannot change my mind.
  • Whenever you come to my house is all right for me.
  • Whoever scores the highest will automatically receives the the first prize.

5)   An adjective (phrase) (also referred to as verbless clause) in front position, as in:

  • Dissapointed, the impatient young man decided to give his job up.
  • Sleepy and tired, few students paid attention to their lecturer.
  • Attractive to her friends,she becomes more and more popular at campus.
  • Wise, experienced, and strict, our English Department Chairman has the ability to manage everything well.

6)   A noun (phrase) (also referred to as verbless clause) in front position, as in:

  • An actor, Brandon Lee passed away young.
  • A football player, Firman Utina is the Captain team.
  • A publisher, Oxford University Press is well-known far and wide.
  • An expensive jewel, the diamond ring costs millions of dollars.

7)   An adverb (phrase) in initial position, as in:

  • Carefully, the driver, drives his car.
  • At home, we should learn to behave ourselves.
  • In the dining room, Mother lays the table everyday.
  • Outside class, most of us keep on practising speaking English.

2.       The Sentence Types

There are four types of sentences in English. Three of them high frequencies. They are: a) Simple sentence, b) Compound sentence, c) Complex sentence, and d) Compound-complex sentence.

1)     The Simple Sentence

A simple sentence which is normally agreed as a standard construction sentence definition. We usually find the following structure: S+V+(O)+(A) for example in: We + drink + (water) + (everyday). In a complete thought, a simple sentence at least comprises the Subject and finite verb. However this principle doesn’t fully apply for Imperative sentence or command which is usually has no explicit subject, as in: Keep quiet, please!, Have a sit, please!, Stop!.

Here are the number of examples of simple sentences:

  1. Everybody breathes. (S+V)
  2. Ingwy Malmsteen plays the guitar. (S+V+O)
  3. He drank the coffee last night. (S+V+O+A)
  4. The driver drives carefully. (S+V+A)
  5. All the students and their seniors of English Department of IKIP Budi Utomo Malang went to take some pictures at Balekambang beach last Sunday afternoon. (S+V+O+A)

2)    The Compound Sentence

A compound sentence is the combination of two or more simple sentences. Thus, it contains more than one independent clause. The clause pattern is the same as the simple sentence pattern, meaning each of clause comprises (S+V+O+A). We can relate sentences to form compound sentence using co-ordinating conjunctions, such as and, or, and but. It functions to help the writer avoid including too many short, choppy sentences in the paragraph.

Observe the examples below:

  1. You can ride your motorcycle or contact me to pick up you to go there.
  2. The librarian is tired, but the book borrowers keep asking for his help.
  3. Swasti looks really cheerful today, and I feel like teasing her.

3)    The Complex Sentence

Complex sentence consists of two clauses: one independent clause while the other dependent clause. The independent or main clause can stand by itself, but the dependent clause must depend upon the main clause. Frequently, the dependent clause is introduced by subordinating conjunctions, for example: if, when, while, although and because.

  1. Although Risa likes all kinds of fruit, she sometimes finds the smell of jackfruit a little terible.
  2. You would like to marry her, since you and she understand each other.
  3. If you do your utmost, you will deserve satisfactory outcomes.
  4. We were discussing the topic, when she came.

4)    The Compound-complex Sentence

Structurally, a compund-complex sentence comprises at least one independent clause and two or more dependent clauses.

  1. As soon as the sun set, people on the beach started to leave because it was already dark and they in fact were tired.
  2. Though we have work hard, we cannot expect much from the project if others do not co-operate.
  3. When the staff members held an informal meeting and the speakers put forward their opinions, all participants argued seriously.

Note: The underlined clauses are the dependent clause.

3.     The Sentence Pattern

There are three main patterns of sentence in English writing. They are:

1)     Active pattern

As we know in the basic of sentence structure, a simple sentence should contains at least Subject and Finite Verb. We can also add the Object or Adverb in the sentence. Let’s us focus on using the verb in the sentece. A number of verbs function as Transitive Verb or Intransitive Verb, even both transitive and Intransitive Verb. It is rather difficult for some writers to distinguish exactly whether the verb is Transitive, Intransitive, or both. To cope this, the writer needs to keep the dictionary at hand.

Let’s us observe the following sentences:

  • Lionel Messi (S) scored (Vt) two goals (O).
  • Persipura (S) wins (Vi).   
  • The manager (S) congratulated (Vt) all players (O)
  • Travis (S) has not arrived (Vi)
  • Susan (S) drinks (Vt) a lot of milk (O)

The sentences above are in active voice. The verbs namely win and arrive are intransitive verbs.


2)    Passive pattern

In the passive pattern, we use only the Transitive Verb to convert the active voice into passive. Because it requires an object to make Passive Voice. We can convert the sentences which use Transitive Verb above into Passive construction as follow:

  • Two goals (O) were scored (Vt) by (prep) Lionel Messi (S).
  • All players (O) were congratulated (Vt) by (prep) the manager (S).
  • A lot of milk (O) is drunk (Vt) by (prep) Susan (S).

The construction of the sentences above seems to be weak, as well as not to the point or wishy-washy. To include the real subject in this voice, we will need the preposition by. Sometimes, the passive is inevitable if the subject is unknown. At other times, it is preferable if the subject is unimportant, not so meaningful, as in:

In the last round, the thinner player was knocked out (by his opponent).

In this sentence, the phrase by his opponent is not necessary at all; each person knows that any boxer will fight his opponent.

3)     Active with Complement pattern

Observe the following sentences:

  • Rosa’s kittens (S) were (V) cute (C).
  • Barnaby (S) was (V) more cheerful (C).
  • Their comprehensive dictionaries (S) are (V) helpful and reliable (C)

The sentence pattern using complement (S+V+C) plays a crucial role, too. This pattern expresses, for instance, the state or condition of somebody or something.

4.     The Sentence Length

The number of words in a sentence is surely varied and flexible, ranging from two to twenty or more. Even more, in the imperative, one word is also possible to represent a sentence, such as: Go! or Remember!. Different sentence lengths make a piece of writing more lively, not monotonous. Too many short sentences, for instance four words each, will cause the paragraph becoming choppy. On the contrary, too many long sentences might bring tiredness. The most important, therefore, the writer should try to vary each sentence when the context is appropriate or so requires.

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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Exercise, Lesson, Modul Online, News


5 responses to “SENTENCE VARIETIES


    February 10, 2015 at 11:49

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  4. Ahmad Athoillah

    March 5, 2012 at 13:15

    Pak, yang versi bahasa Indonesia ada aa??


      March 5, 2012 at 13:42

      Sory Tho’ tdk ada. Kpan2 kami sediakan yang versi Bahasa Indonesia, tapi kamu yg terjemahin yah???


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