Writing COMPLEX sentences
instead of only writing
SIMPLE sentences
So you can write more
sophisticated, have more
sentence variety, and
sound smart!
What happens to
our writing
when ALL of our
sentences sound
exactly the same?
Let’s look at the following example.
Gary Provost on the Rhythms of Sentence Length
This sentence has five words. This is five words
too. Five word sentences are fine. But several together
become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The
writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like
a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now
listen. I vary the sentence length and I create music.
Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt,
a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of
medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the
reader is rested I will engage him with a sentence of
considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy
and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of
the drums, the crash of the symbols, and sounds that say
listen to this, it is important.
So, how do you, as an eighth
grader ensure that your sentences
are more COMPLEX and do not all
begin EXACTLY the same way?
One answer is to use
at the beginning of your
What is an
An AAAWWUBIS word is just a catchy
term for a Subordinating Conjunction
Write these down.
A - After
A - Although
A - As
W - When
W - While
U - Until
B - Because
B - Before
I - If
S - Since
How will an
word help?
These conjunctions
will force you to
sentences and have
Complex sentences are the result of
I still don’t get it. How
do these conjunctions
create a complex
sentence? And what IS
a complex sentence?
So what is a Subordinating Conjunction?
(aka aaawwubbis word)
It is a word which, when used at the beginning of a sentence,
creates a
It forces you to write an introductory clause before you begin your
sentence and that creates TWO clauses in ONE sentence.
How is that different from a simple sentence?
Simple Sentences are called simple because they contain
a single subject and a simple predicate (verb).
It was raining.
(“it” is the subject and “was raining” is the verb).
Now add an awwubbis word(because) to the beginning of
that simple sentence and VOILA! You have a COMPLEX
Because it was raining, I took my umbrella.
This sentence contains two clauses, “Because it was raining”
and “I took my umbrella”. It is COMPLEX because it now
contains two different thoughts or clauses.
Here is another example of a sentence with an aaawwbbis
word or subordinating conjunction.
Although it was hot, he was wearing a coat.
Notice that when you use the subordinating conjunction at
the beginning of a sentence, a comma usually joins the two
Now, you try it.
Write a COMPLEX sentence with each aaawwubbis word.
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