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Title: Week Ten: Sentence Patterns
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#1
Week One:

Sentence Pattern:
 
Cumulative Sentences Part One:
A cumulative sentence gets its name from the way it accumulates information, gathering new details as it goes, like a snowball gets bigger and bigger as you roll it through the snow.
Modifiers:
A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause which functions as an adjective or an adverb to describe a word or make its meaning more specific. An adjective describes a noun or pronoun; an adverb modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. There are two classes of modifiers - bound and free.
Bound modifiers
Bound modifiers are not set off by commas but interwoven into a base clause (main clause, aka independent clause) that they modify. A bound modifier must occur in only one position (sometimes you can stretch it to two) for the meaning to remain constant.
They live in a beautiful house.
He writes elegant letters.
He drives a fast car.
He runs quickly.
She walks slowly.
 
Free modifiers
Free: it’s not bound to a word or phrase
Modifier: it describes or limits something
The point of calling them free modifiers is that they are free to be moved around.
Free modifiers are words or phrases or clauses that can be easily moved from one place in a sentence to another, from the beginning to the middle to the end, without changing the meaning of the sentence.
Example:
Crystal stayed up all night reading a book, enjoying every minute of it.
Enjoying every minute of it, Crystal stayed up all night reading a book.
Crystal, enjoying every minute of it, stayed up all night reading a book.

Free modifiers can be identified by these characteristics:
  1. they are not necessary to make the sentence complete (they are nonessential);
    2. they can be located anywhere in a sentence — beginning, middle, or end;
    3. they are most often punctuated with commas;
    4. they are usually identified by the first word in the phrase (like all phrases); and
    5. they are NOT independent clauses.

The two parts of a cumulative sentence are the base clause and the modifying phrases. The base clause contains the sentence’s main subject and verb; it is an independent clause; it can stand on its own. The second part of a cumulative sentence contains one or more modifying phrases; they cannot stand alone, and they can be removed from the sentence without destroying the sentence.

A cumulative sentence is a loose sentence; it begins with the main clause that is followed by phrases/or clauses that modify the main clause. These phrases or clauses add information to the main or independent clause.
Examples of (loose) cumulative sentences:
He sat by the windows, hunched down in a rocking chair, scowling, waiting.
The fire alarm went off, making a loud clanging noise, startling everyone, and causing some people to knock over their chairs.
I spotted a flock of geese flying overhead, honking and making their way to the lake.
I liked everything about the painting, the colors, the composition, the emotions that it stirred within me.
Homework:
What is the difference between a bound modifier and a free modifier?
What is the difference between a phrase and a clause?
What are the two parts a cumulative sentence?
 
Write a base clause (a short, simple sentence) then add the requested phrase or clause at the end.
Your base clause + (repeating the verb with –ing added)
Your base clause + (start with a different participle)
Your base clause + (past participle)
Your base clause + (a different past participle)
Your base clause + (repeat a noun from the base clause)
Your base clause + (repeat the noun from the base clause)
Your base clause + (possessive pronoun)
Your base clause + (a different possessive pronoun)
Your base clause + (related details. Start the phrase with ‘a’ or ‘the’ )
Your base clause + (noun phrase, starting with the article ‘the’ or ‘a’)
Your base clause + (simile or metaphor)
 
Example:
The woman closed the door, closing it with a bang (repeating the verb with –ing added)
The woman closed the door, catching her heal on the step (participial)
The woman closed the door, blinded by the dust (past participle)
The woman closed the door, driven by the wind (past participle)
The woman closed the door, a door made of rough-hewn oak (repeating the noun)
The woman closed the door, the door she never dared close before (repeating the noun)
The woman closed the door, its massive hinges creaking eerily (possessive pronoun)
The woman closed the door, her delicate fingers white as she squeezed (possessive pronoun)
The woman closed the door, a car alarm beeping in the background (related details)
The woman closed the door, the doorknob helpless in the vice of her grip (noun phrase, starting with article)
The woman closed the door, a quick-thinking Pandora (simile or metaphor)

Example No. 2:
The man played the guitar, playing it like a madman.
The man played the guitar, strumming the old instrument.
The man played the guitar, blinded by the light.
The man played the guitar, driven by his passion.
The man played the guitar, an old, cheap instrument.
The man played the guitar, an instrument he found in a pawn shop.
The man played the guitar, its metal strings cutting into his fingers.
The man played the guitar, his skilled fingers dancing over the frets.
The man played the guitar, a crowd gathering to listen.
The man played the guitar, the rosewood shining in the sun.
The man played the guitar, a modern-day Segovia.
For all it brightens and uplifts, love casts a long shadow.
 
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#2
Cumulative Sentences Part Two:

Yesterday we looked at the loose sentence, a cumulative sentence with a base clause (independent clause) and a modifying phrase added on after a comma.

There are three types of cumulative sentences –coordinate, subordinate, and mixed. Today we look at coordinate cumulative sentences.

To write a coordinate cumulative sentence, take a short base clause (an independent clause), turn the period at the end of the sentence into a comma, and then add two or more modifying phrases (that each modifies the original base clause). The modifying phrases should add new details or explanations that answer questions the reader might reasonably want to ask (about the original sentence).

    Example:

    He was sitting at his desk, his fingers resting upon its edge, his lips curled back, his golden eyes upon me.

In a coordinate cumulative sentence, all of the modifying phrases point back to or modify the base clause. The base clause is always an independent clause.

    Example:

    The car rolled forward, knocking, pinging, belching black smoke.

Sometimes there will be a logical progression in the modifying phrases. Logic will dictate the order, but, in a coordinate cumulative sentence, the modifying phrases will still all refer back the base clause.

    Levels:

The base clause is always level one. A coordinate cumulative sentence will only have one more level, for a total of two levels. No matter how many modifying phrases there are (let's call them steps), there will only be two levels to a coordinate cumulative sentence.

There can be many steps (modifying phrases), but in a coordinate cumulative sentence, they will all modify the base clause, and hence, all be level two. Any step that modifies the base clause (no matter how many there are) is by definition level two.

    Levels:

1) The base clause and

2) each of the steps (aka modifying phrases {that all modify the same base clause}).

    Examples:

    The horses were coming, looking as if their hides had been drenched and rubbed with soap, their ribs heaving, their nostrils fairing.

    Kyle lay awake in the early morrow hours, thinking about the last year, searching the shadow shrouded ceiling for answers, looking for clues to what he did wrong.

    Comma splice

A comma splice is the use of a comma to join two independent clauses without a coordinating conjunction.

    It is nearly half past five, we cannot reach town before dark.

When working with cumulative sentences, be sure that the modifying phrases don’t have a finite verb (aka the main verb). Two common ways of converting an independent clause to a phrase are by changing or getting rid of the verb. You can remove a ‘to be’ verb from an independent clause or change a finite verb into an infinitive or participle.

    The boy laughed, his face turned bright red. Comma splice. Two independent clauses joined by a comma.
    The boy laughed, his face turning bright red. Cumulative sentence. An independent clause and an absolute phrase.
    The girl walked up the stairs, her skirt was bouncing with each step. Comma splice
    The girl walked up the stairs, her skirt bouncing with each step. Cumulative sentence.

    Homework:

    Add three modifying phrases to this base clause: I walked to the store, through ____________, through ___________, through ____________.

2. Add three modifying phrases to this base clause: She raised the glass to her lips, ____________, ____________, ____________.

3. Take a simple sentence, change the period to a comma, and then add three participial phrases to add details.

4. Take a simple sentence, change the period to a comma, and then add three adverbs to increase the details.
For all it brightens and uplifts, love casts a long shadow.
 
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#3
Part Three:

Subordinate Cumulative Sentences.



In the subordinate pattern, each modifying phrase either moves the action of the subject forward in time or refers to the immediately preceding clause or phrase.

Subordinate Cumulative Sentence Example:

Level 1. John was sitting alone on the bank, (base clause: level one)

Level 2. peeling an apple carefully, (modifies level one)

Level 3. the unbroken spiral hanging like a shaving as he turned the fruit. (modifies level two).

Example:

Level 1. He finally bought his dream house, (base clause)

Level 2. though it cost him a lot, (level two)

Level 3. both in terms of time and money. (level three)

Quote: Wrote:With a coordinate cumulative sentence you can usually move the modifying phrases around. But in the subordinate cumulative sentence you usually can't.
See the following example.

Quote: Wrote:He finally bought his dream house, both in terms of time and money, though it cost him a lot.
Rearranging the order of the modifying phrases in a subordinate cumulative sentence creates faulty sentences. Modifiers start modifying the wrong things.
  • When each phrase carries the sentence forward in time it is a subordinate pattern. (The coordinate pattern kind of stops time while it describes the base clause again and again.)

Examples:

I went to the movies yesterday, bought candy, and shopped at the mall.

He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base.

The dealership changed the oil in my car, washed it, and waxed it.

Quote: Wrote:Pure coordinate cumulative sentences and subordinate cumulative sentences are fairly rare and limited in scope. But you need to understand both before you can mix them with confidence.
Have you noticed that in a lot of the coordinate patterns the phrases were often of the same type? Participial following participial. Adverbial following adverbial. Etc. This works well for the coordinate pattern. Have you noticed that the modifying phrases in the subordinate patterns are generally different (or alternate) from each other?

Quote: Wrote:The coordinate pattern can sharpen or focus on the whole base clause, or on its subject, verb, or object. The coordinate pattern keeps the sentence running in place as more information is added.
The subordinate pattern moves the focus of the sentence forward, moving from general to specific, zooming in like a movie camera. A subordinate can also break a whole into its constituent parts, accomplishing the same end as do some uses of the colon.

Subordinate pattern:

Levels

Quote: Wrote:They all watched the game in silence, (base clause. Level one.)
Quote: Wrote:when their best player retired hurt, (Level two modifies level one)
Quote: Wrote:wondering how that would affect the outcome of the game. (Level three modifies level two)
And

Quote: Wrote:They all looked disoriented, (base clause. Level one.)
Quote: Wrote:woken up from the slumber, (Level two modifies level one. wherefore they were disoriented.)
Quote: Wrote:with the loud sound of the bell. (Level three modifies level two. How they were woken up.)
If there were a third modifying phrase then it would modify the one immediately before it.

Quote: Wrote:Subordinate Cumulative Sentences Example:
He drove carefully, his thoughts drifting back to other trips, fondly remembered Sunday outings, outings made wonderful by his mother and father, warm and humorous parents he could never see again.
We caught two bass, hauling them in briskly, pulling them over the side of the boat, and stunning them with a blow on the back of the head.
He lit on an image, a woman, beautiful and refined, concealed in rustling silk.
  • Remember: each modifying phrase is a step. Steps and levels of modification are different. You can take one or more steps on each level. Coordinate sentences steps from level one to level two and then stay there. In the subordinate sentence each step takes you to a new, higher level by either taking the action of the subject forward or modifying the clause or phrase immediately before it.

Quote:Homework:


One: Write a simple sentence, then add three modifying phrases, each one modifying the one immediately preceding it. The modifying phrases should not be able to be rearranged.

Two: Write a subordinate cumulative sentence where each phrase carries the sentence forward in time. Ex: He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base.
Three: In your own words, what is the difference between coordinate and subordinate cumulative sentences.
For all it brightens and uplifts, love casts a long shadow.
 
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#4
Cumulative Sentences
Part Four:

Remember: In a coordinate cumulative sentence all of the modifying phrases point back to the base clause. And in a subordinate cumulative sentence all of the modifying phrases either move the action of the subject forward or refer back to the phrase immediately before it.

    Quote:
    Mixed Cumulative Sentences

We talked about loose sentences, coordinate cumulative sentences, and subordinate cumulative sentences; now it’s time to mix things up. The majority of cumulative sentences will have at least one coordinate phrase and one subordinate phrase, even though their might be other phrases as well.
How to write a mixed cumulative sentence? Start with a base clause, add a few modifying clauses at the end, and most likely there will be both kinds, coordinate and subordinate, in there.

    Quote:
    Pay attention to the levels of the phrases

    Quote:
    Level One: My grandfather sat across the table, (base clause)

    Quote:
    Level Two: one hand resting on his knee, (absolute)

    Quote:
    Level Three: palm up, (absolute)

    Quote:
    Level Two: the other grasping his cane, (absolute)

    Quote:
    Level Three: fondling the handle gently. (participial)

The main appeal of mixed cumulative constructions is that it combines the strength of both coordinate and subordinate forms, allowing the sentence to move forward in time, open up new ideas, and add new details, while also maintaining its intensity and focus.
Understanding how each cumulative sentence works - coordinate, subordinate, and mixed – makes it easier for us to write extended cumulative sentences.

    Quote:
    Watch the levels and clause types.

    Quote:
    Level One: She folded the cloth two times, (base clause)

    Quote:
    Level Two: end to end, (noun phrase)

    Quote:
    Level Three: like a quarto, (prepositional)

    Quote:
    Level Two: matching the angles at each corner. (participial)

Just adding one new level of information to your sentences, whether the modifying phrase we add follows coordinate or subordinate means that our sentences will contain more information, more detail, and flow smoother.

    Quote:
    Watch the levels and the types of phrase

    Quote:
    Level One: As he walked into the club he noticed them (base clause)

    Quote:
    Level Two: objectively and coldly,

    Quote:
    Level Three: the headwaiter beckoning haughtily,

    Quote:
    Level Three: head tilted,

    Quote:
    Level Three: lips in a rigid arc reserved for those willing to pay the price of recognition and attention,

    Quote:
    Level Two: the stiffly genteel crowd, (This modifies 'them' in the base clause)

    Quote:
    Level Three: eating their food in small bites,

    Quote:
    Level Three: afraid of committing a breach of etiquette.

Remember, a coordinate modifying phrase modifies the base clause only, and a subordinate modifying phrase modifies the phrase that came immediately before it.

    Quote:
    Example:
    1. He got up early,
    2. waking long hours before sunrise,
    2. always looking for an edge,
    2. always trying harder than anyone else,
    2. believing sleep was a waste of time,
    3. and motivated by insecurity and greed.

    Quote:
    Homework:

One: Write a mixed cumulative sentence and show the level of each phrase/clause. You are going to need at least a base clause and three phrases to have a mixed cumulative sentence.
Two: Identify the level of the clause/phrases

    The boat was a speck now,
    the oars catching the moonlight in spaced glints,
    as if the hull were winking itself along,
    and disappeared into the night.

Three: Write a mixed cumulative sentence and show the level of each phrase/clause.

    Quote:
    Cumulative Sentences: Review

We've covered a lot in a short space of time. A little review/practice is in order.

    Quote:
    Taken from Building Great Sentences by Brooks Landon.

Long sentences aren’t bad because they're long; they're bad because they aren't executed well. And they aren’t executed well mainly because of the over-reliance on bound modifiers, embedded prepositional phrases, and relative clauses.
The first step in writing long sentences well is to start with a relatively short and simple base clause and then build the longer sentence around it. The second step is to remember that almost any relative clause can be boiled down to a modifying phrase that, if not shorter, is easier to follow than a series of clauses calling our attention to information tied to that or to who or to whom or to which.

    Quote:
    It's much better to start with a short and simple base clause and add free modifying phrases to add details and make the meaning clear.

More important than sentence length is variety. Writers should vary the length of their sentences, avoiding long strings of short sentences, just as much as they would avoid long strings of long sentences.
While it is not important that we make our sentences shorter, it is important that we make the constituent elements or steps as short as possible, whenever doing so doesn't conflict with some other goal.
The cumulative syntax first codified and best explained by Francis Christiansen, adds information to an initial base clause in unbound or free modifying phrases all of which point back to, expand, and add to information presented in the base or previous clause.

    Quote:
    We can start improving the effectiveness of our sentences just by adding a single new modifying level; you don’t always have to have three modifying phrases (We do this for training).

A quick review:
Bound modifier: a modifier that is interwoven into a base clause.
Free modifier: words or phrases that can be easily moved from one place in a sentence to another.
There are two parts of a cumulative sentence. The base clause (an independent clause) and the modifying phrases.
There are three types of cumulative sentences: coordinate, subordinate, and mixed.
Coordinate phrases all refer back to the base clause.
Subordinate phrases refer to the previous phrase.
Mixed cumulative sentences use a combination of coordinate and subordinate modifying phrases.
Levels: the base clause will always be level one, the modifying phrases will be level two, three, four, or so, indicating what they modify.
In a subordinate cumulative sentence level II always modifies level I. Level III modifies level II. Level IV modifies level III. And so on.
The most common modifying phrases are participial phrases, appositive phrases, noun phrases, absolute phrases, similes and metaphors, and summary.

    Homework:

One: Write a loose sentence. A base clause plus one free modifying phrase.
Two: Write a coordinate cumulative sentence. A base clause with three modifying phrases that all modify the base clause.
Three: Write a subordinate cumulative sentence where each modifying level moves the action forward.
For all it brightens and uplifts, love casts a long shadow.
 
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#5
Cumulative Sentences: Review
We've covered a lot in a short space of time. A little review/practice is in order.

Quote:Taken from Building Great Sentences by Brooks Landon.Long sentences aren’t bad because they're long; they're bad because they aren't executed well. And they aren’t executed well mainly because of the over-reliance on bound modifiers, embedded prepositional phrases, and relative clauses.The first step in writing long sentences well is to start with a relatively short and simple base clause and then build the longer sentence around it. The second step is to remember that almost any relative clause can be boiled down to a modifying phrase that, if not shorter, is easier to follow than a series of clauses calling our attention to information tied to that or to who or to whom or to which.
It's much better to start with a short and simple base clause and add free modifying phrases to add details and make the meaning clear.

More important than sentence length is variety. Writers should vary the length of their sentences, avoiding long strings of short sentences, just as much as they would avoid long strings of long sentences.
While it is not important that we make our sentences shorter, it is important that we make the constituent elements or steps as short as possible, whenever doing so doesn't conflict with some other goal.
The cumulative syntax first codified and best explained by Francis Christiansen, adds information to an initial base clause in unbound or free modifying phrases all of which point back to, expand, and add to information presented in the base or previous clause.
We can start improving the effectiveness of our sentences just by adding a single new modifying level; you don’t always have to have three modifying phrases (We do this for training).
A quick review:
Bound modifier: a modifier that is interwoven into a base clause.
Free modifier: words or phrases that can be easily moved from one place in a sentence to another.
There are two parts of a cumulative sentence. The base clause (an independent clause) and the modifying phrases.
There are three types of cumulative sentences: coordinate, subordinate, and mixed.
Coordinate phrases all refer back to the base clause.
Subordinate phrases refer to the previous phrase.
Mixed cumulative sentences use a combination of coordinate and subordinate modifying phrases.
Levels: the base clause will always be level one, the modifying phrases will be level two, three, four, or so, indicating what they modify.
In a subordinate cumulative sentence level II always modifies level I. Level III modifies level II. Level IV modifies level III. And so on.
The most common modifying phrases are participial phrases, appositive phrases, noun phrases, absolute phrases, similes and metaphors, and summary.
Homework:
One: Write a loose sentence. A base clause plus one free modifying phrase.
Two: Write a coordinate cumulative sentence. A base clause with three modifying phrases that all modify the base clause.
Three: Write a subordinate cumulative sentence where each modifying level moves the action forward.
For all it brightens and uplifts, love casts a long shadow.
 
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#6
The Cumulative Sentence: Review Part Two

The cumulative sentence offers powerful generative (a prompt to the writer to inspire more effective writing) and heuristic (enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves) advantages to the writer who understands its forms.
The cumulative sentence is generative and heuristic because it invites the writer to add at least one more modifying phrase to the sentence. This enables him or her to discover something new about what they are writing.
The best advice that can be given to anyone who wants to master writing cumulative sentences is to read them aloud. Read every sentence you write aloud; read aloud every example of the cumulative form you find. This is a simple, immediate, and surefire way to improve your writing. Read it aloud. When you read your work aloud your ear will tell you when something doesn’t work.
Quote: The Dangers of Cumulative Sentences:
A comma splice is when two independent clauses are joined by only a comma (commas need a coordinating conjunction because they aren’t strong enough to join independent clauses).
Cumulative sentences avoid comma splices by adding modifying phrases or dependent clauses, not independent clauses.
The misplaced modifier is a word or phrase that modifies the wrong word or phrase.
A dangling modifier is a word or phrase that modifies an object not stated.
Quote:Homework:
One: Write a subordinate cumulative sentence where each phrase/dep clause modifies the one immediately before it.
Two: Write a mixed cumulative sentence (with coordinate and subordinate phrases/clauses).
Three: Write a coordinate cumulative sentence. (All the modifying phrases refer back to the base clause)
Four: What is a bound modifier?
Five: What is a free modifier?
Six: What are the two parts of a cumulative sentence?
For all it brightens and uplifts, love casts a long shadow.
 
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