Syntax aka – sentence structure

aka – sentence structure
Why? The manner in which a speaker or author
constructs a sentence affects what the audience
understands about what he/ she want to
convey…creating tone, mood, character, etc.
Effect Examples
The inverted order of an interrogative
sentence cues the reader or listener to a
question and creates a tension between
speaker and listener:
Note the change in emphasis:
In Ms. Dann’s class, do students learn?
Do students learn in Ms. Dann’s class?
Effect Examples
Short sentences are often emphatic, passionate or flippant
Get Out!
longer sentences suggest the writer’s more deliberate, thoughtful
Your presence is scraping at my patience right now, so I
would like it very much if you left.
very long discursive sentences give a narrative a rambling,
meditative tone.
I’ve had a very long, difficult day, and I can tell you want to
talk, but really I just need some time in a quiet room; you know, a
room without people in it, people like you, so please leave.
Sentence Types
Recognize the sentence type
Decide what the effect of the sentence
type is.
Telegraphic – shorter than 5 words in length
Short – around 5 words in length
Medium – around 18 words in length
Long and involved – 30 or more words in length.
Clause Types
Independent Clause – a complete
She sang.
She sang well.
She sang yesterday not today.
Clause Types
Dependent/ Subordinate/
Embedded Clause - A phrase with
an incomplete sentence
DC: Highlighted in blue…
Yesterday, she sang but not today.
All evening, she studied with all her
Sentence Types
One of the most important elements
of syntax is the way the words,
phrases and clauses are arranged.
Knowing the types of sentences and
clauses helps you be able to discuss
the effects of syntax.
Sentence Types
Declarative – makes a statement
The king is sick.
Imperative – gives a command
Cure the king!
Interrogative – asks a question
Is the king sick?
Sentence Types
Exclamatory – provides emphasis or
expresses strong emotion
The king is dead! Long live the
Simple Sentence – one independent
The singer bowed to her adoring
Sentence Types
Compound sentence – two
independent clauses joined by a
coordinating conjunction or
The singer bowed to the audience,
but she sang no encores.
The singer bowed to the audience;
however, she sang no encores.
Sentence Types
Complex Sentence – an
independent clause and one or
more dependent clauses.
Because the singer was tired, she
went straight to bed after the
Sentence Types
Compound-Complex sentence – two
or more independent clauses and
one or more dependent clauses.
The singer bowed while the audience
applauded, but she sang no encores.
Sentence Types
Loose/ Cumulative Sentence – makes
complete sense if brought to a close
before the actual ending.
We reached Edmonton that morning after a
turbulent flight and some exciting
experiences, tired but exhilarated, full of
stories to tell our friends and neighbors.
(The sentence could end before the
modifying phrases without losing its
Sentence Types
Periodic Sentence – makes sense
fully only when the end of the
sentence is reached.
That morning, after a turbulent flight and
some exciting experiences, we reached
Sentence Types
Balanced sentence – the phrases or
clauses balance each other by virtue
of their likeness of structure,
meaning, or length
He maketh me to lie down in green
pastures; he leadeth me beside still
Sentence Types
Natural Order of a sentence involves
constructing a sentence so the
subject (the doer of the action – a
noun) comes before the predicate
(the action of the sentence – a
Oranges grow in California.
Sentence Types
Inverted order of a sentence
(sentence inversion) – constructing
a sentence so the predicate comes
before the subject.
In California grow the oranges.
Sentence Style
Juxtaposition - a poetic and rhetorical
device in which normally unassociated
ideas, words, or phrases are placed next
to one another, often creating an effect of
surprise and wit.
The apparition of these faces in the crowd: /
Petals on a wet, black bough
Ezra Pound – “In a Station of the Metro”
Sentence Style
Parallel structure (parallelism) – a
grammatical or structural similarity
between sentences or parts of a sentence.
It involves an arrangement of words,
phrases, sentences or paragraphs so the
elements of equal importance are equally
developed and similarly phrased.
He loved swimming, running, and bicycling.
Sentence Style
Repetition – a device in which words,
sounds, and ideas are used more than
once to enhance rhythm and to create
“…government of the people, by the people,
for the people shall not perish from the
earth.” Abraham Lincoln – Gettysburg Address
Sentence Style
Rhetorical Question – a question that
requires no answer. It is used to
draw attention to a point and is
generally stronger than a direct
“If Mr. Ferchoff is always fair, as you
have said, why did he refuse to listen to
Mrs. Baldwin’s arguments?”
Sentence Style
Rhetorical Fragment – a sentence
fragment used deliberately for a
persuasive purpose or to create a
desired effect.
Something to consider.
Sentence Style
Anaphora – repetition of the same word
or group of words at the beginning of
successive clauses.
“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall
fight on the landing-grounds, we shall
fight in the fields and in the streets, we
shall fight in the hills.” - Winston Churchill
Sentence Style
Asyndeton – a deliberate omission
of conjunctions in a series of related
“I came, I saw, I conquered.”
-Julius Caesar
Sentence Style
Polysyndeton – the deliberate use of many
conjunctions for special emphasis – to
highlight quantity or mass of detail or to
create a flowing, continuous sentence
“The meal was huge – my mother fixed
okra and green beans and ham and apple
pie and green pickled tomatoes and
ambrosia salad and all manner of fine
country food – but no matter how I tried, I
could not consume it to her satisfaction.”
Sentence Style
Chiasmus – the arrangement of
ideas in the second clause of a
sentence is a reversal of the first.
“Ask not what your country can do
for you, ask what you can do for
your country.” JFK
Sentence Style
Stichomythia – dialogue in which the
endings and beginnings of each line
echo each other, taking on a new
meaning with each new line.
Hamlet: Now Mother, what’s the matter?
Queen: Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Hamlet: Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen: Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Hamlet: Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Sentence Style
Zeugma (ZOOG – mah) – the use of a
verb that has two different
meanings with objects that
complement both meanings.
He stole both her car and her heart
that fateful night.