O is for…

O is for…Openers.  Read this story and then decide what is wrong with it:

The grumpy, old man looked out of his window and saw a scruffy, brown dog digging up his garden. The grumpy man shouted loudly at the scruffy dog to go away. The dog looked nervously at the man, but then he carried on scrabbling in the dirt. The man stormed out of the house because he was so angry with the dog. The dog stopped and the old man noticed that the dog had uncovered an old, wooden treasure chest.

That’s right – every sentence starts with ‘The’. There are some interesting ideas for a story, and there is some good vocabulary, but the readers will still be really bored by the end because the openers are all the same.

You can liven up your writing by remembering just two different ways of opening a sentence.

My favourite way is to start with an ‘ing’ word: Looking out of his window, the grumpy, old man saw a scruffy, brown dog digging up his garden. If you can’t start your sentence like this straight away, write out a boring sentence first and underline the verbs. This will make it easier to see which word to turn into the ‘ing’ form and move to the start of the sentence: The teacher glared at the class and told them to be quiet. This becomes: Glaring at the class, the teacher told them to be quiet.

The second easy way to make your writing more interesting is to start with a connective. Two simple ones to use are ‘when’ and ‘while’.  When the grumpy, old man looked out of his window, he saw a scruffy, brown dog digging up his garden. While the grumpy old man was looking out of his window, he saw a scruffy, brown dog digging up his garden.

Try these ways of opening a sentence, and your teacher will quickly notice an improvement in your work. When you are confident with these, you can experiment with lots more different ways of starting a sentence.

  • with an adverb: Sleepily looking out of his window, the grumpy, old man saw a scruffy, brown dog digging up his garden.
  • with an adverbial phrase: Early in the morning, the grumpy, old man looked out of his window and saw a scruffy, brown dog digging up his garden.
  • with speech: Get out of my garden! shouted the grumpy, old man.
  • with a question: Why was the old man so grumpy?

Have a look at some books and see how many different ways you can find.

sentence openers

Related posts: N is for…
P is for…

Advertisements
This entry was posted in A-Z of Learning and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave me a comment. I'd love to know what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s