Mr. Mulgrewís Notes                    Sentence Variety

When writing numerous essays for school, there can be a tendency for students to simply create lists of ideas and answers to the teacherís questions. This is because many people become so concerned with finding the correct answer, they write a series of thoughts that do not quite flow together. Students who enjoy more creative writing feel stifled with the framework or formula approaches to writing. Once the basic formula or framework has been learned, there is room for further improvement through the creative use of RHETORICAL DEVICES, or ways of writing.

After completing a first draft, consider the variety of your sentences. On a separate piece of paper, write the first four words of your first sentence. On the next line, do the same, and repeat for the rest of the essay. When you are done, ask yourself. "Is there something here that looks like a problem?"

Sometimes the starts of your sentences can be repetitive. This makes the work seem choppy like a list. But sometimes it is perfectly acceptable because it reinforces your point. Anaphora and epistrophe are two rhetorical devices, or ways of writing, which can help your writing become more powerful.

Anaphora is the repetition of the same word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. Commonly they are used in conjunction with a climax to create suspense, a lead to capture the audience, or in a conclusion. The repeated words are underlined here only to help you understand this concept visually. Do not underline them in your writing. Consider these selections:

*In books I find the dead as if they were alive; in books I foresee things to come; in books warlike affairs are set forth; from books come forth the laws of peace. --Richard de Bury

*Finally, we must consider what pleasantness of teaching there is in books, how easy, how secret! How safely we lay bare the poverty of human ignorance to books without feeling any shame! --Ibid.

*Slowly and grimly they advanced, not knowing what lay ahead, not knowing what they would find at the top of the hill, not knowing that they were so near to Disneyland.

Anaphora can be used with questions, negations, hypotheses, and conclusions., although care must be taken not to become affected or to sound too rhetorical, bombastic, or "Stuffy". Consider these selections and identify the examples of anaphora:

*Will he read the book? Will he learn what it has to teach him? Will he live according to what he has learned?

*Not time, not money, not laws, but willing diligence will get this done.

*If we can get the lantern lit, if we can find the main cave, and if we can see the stalagmites, I'll show you the one with the bat skeleton in it.

Using anaphora in your lead, conclusion, or your strongest argument can be en effective method of writing. The danger occurs when you use it too much. Try using it in one section only; this may prove helpful and establish a sense of power in your writing.

 

Epistrophe (also called antistrophe) forms the counterpart to anaphora, because the repetition of the same word or words comes at the end of successive phrases, clauses, or sentences. The repeated words are underlined here only to help you understand this concept visually. Do not underline them in your writing. Consider these selections:

*Where affections bear rule, there reason is subdued, honesty is subdued, good will is subdued, and all things else that withstand evil, forever are subdued. --Wilson

*You will find washing beakers helpful in passing this course, using the gas chromatograph desirable for passing this course, and studying hours on end essential to passing this course.

Epistrophe is an extremely emphatic device because of the emphasis placed on the last word in a phrase or sentence. If you have a concept you wish to stress heavily, then epistrophe might be a good construction to use. The danger as usual lies in this

device's tendency to become too rhetorical or "Stuffy". Consider which example is successful and effective, and which example is hollow and bombastic like the descriptive echo of a superhero. "To infinity and beyond!"

*The cars do not sell because the engineering is inferior, the quality of materials is inferior, and the workmanship is inferior.

*The energies of mankind are often exerted in pursuit, consolidation, and enjoyment; which is to say, many men spend their lives pursuing power, consolidating power, and enjoying power.

Using epistrophe in your lead, conclusion, or your strongest argument can be en effective method of writing. The danger occurs when you use it too much. Try using it in one section only; this may prove helpful and establish a sense of power in your writing.

Enumeratio: detailing parts, causes, effects, or consequences to make a point more forcibly. When utilizing this rhetorical device, donít forget to double check your comma usage.

*I love her eyes, her hair, her nose, her cheeks, her lips [etc.].

*When the new highway opened, more than just the motels and restaurants prospered. The stores noted a substantial increase in sales, more people began moving to town, a new dairy farm was started, the old Main Street Theater doubled its showings and put up a new building.

 


"Take me home?"

Source materials; http://www.uky.edu/cgibin/cgiwrap/~scaife/terms?file=1ahrd.html&isindex=Anaphora