Tag Archive | sentence structure

Happy Birthday!

Doesn't it look so good?!


No, it’s not my birthday. It’s actually Always A Writer’s birthday. One year ago was when I began this blog. I started it before I knew that most writers in this day and age should have blogs and mostly because I just wanted a place to really look at and rejoice with my writing.

Since then, I have written 276 posts, and 41 pages. I’ve had 155 comments (and 444 spam comments).

Last January, I had an average of 8 viewers a month. Last month (November), we had an average of 19 viewers a month. 4,164 people have viewed parts of this website, and my busy day was March 31st, with a total of 68 people.

Maybe it’s not as busy as some people’s blogs, but I’m pretty satisfied. I’m just hoping that this continues to grow.

So, instead of me rambling on about how difficult it is to rewrite a story (I will do that though. Soon. Since I’m activity doing it right now.), I think that I will give some awards to some posts.

please know the following terms: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, sentences:

This is the most popular post by far, with a total of 679 views. I honestly don’t think a day goes by when someone doesn’t find it via google or something.

The second most common page is on Character Weakness. Sometimes just finding a quick look at possible weakness helps build a character.

A few other of my more favorite posts include All Writers Have Some Mental Illness,  How to be a Writer in 5 [Marginally] Easy Steps, and Six Tips on the Art of Killing Characters. The mental illness one is just plain humorous, the how to be a writer one is just helpful, and the art of killing characters is one of the more popular one again.

There are many, many other popular posts and there are just as many posts that got almost nothing, and I still thought would be helpful. Such as Building Religions (Only 9 views since April.), Cultural differences in the MidWest (5 since last December.) The Beneifit of Not Writing Often and even One Sentence Summaries (4 since October 25th)

So that’s about a summary of this past year. Hopefully, next year will be even better (I keep hoping to get Freshly Pressed to be plain.), I’ll learn more, and maybe I’ll even start doing what would be best for me to do. (Such as write synopses.)

Anything you want to see change here?

(And no, I’m not being all stalkerish with the stats. WordPress gives them to me, and I find it helpful to know what people want.)

Concerning time, location and relationships, ie. prepositions

One of my most commonly searched posts is where I discuss grammatical elements such as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs and sentences.

Prepositions are probably one of the most common elements found in writing. One thing to understand about prepositions is that we don’t technically need them in writing. If we are grammatically analyzing a sentence, one of the first things we can do is cross out all of the prepositional phrases. But, I’m moving too fast I think. Let’s start with defining a preposition.

There are hundreds and hundreds of prepositions in the english language, What I didn’t know until I started writing this post is that prepositions can be more than one word long. Since there are so many prepositions, I can’t name them all off of the top of my head, but there are many lists of them online. Here are some examples:

  • aboard
  • about
  • above
  • absent
  • across
  • after
  • against
  • along
  • alongside
  • amid
  • amidst
  • among
  • amongst
  • around
  • as
  • aside
  • astride
  • at
  • athwart
  • atop
  • barring
  • before
  • behind
  • below
  • beneath
  • beside
  • besides
  • between
  • betwixt
  • beyond
  • but
  • by
  • circa

One quick thing to understand is that a preposition serves the function of informing the reader mainly of a location of an object, or of the relative time. For exmaple:

You should travel under (prep) the bridge and through (prep) the woods before (prep) the princess.

Under and through are related to in what direction the person should travel. Before is telling this person when they should do it.

Secondly, I want you to notice something else about my sample sentence. Every single preposition relates to a noun. YOu don’t go under the woods or through the bridge.  That is because once you place a preposition down, you must follow it with a noun. These nouns are called objects of the prepositions (OP for short.). BAck to the example:

You should travel under (prep) the bridge (OP) and through (prep) the woods (OP) before (prep) the princess (OP).

Pretty simple?

Not really. Although it looks like we have a pretty steady rhythm here of preposition, article, object of the preposition, it’s not always so simple. Take this next example:

After sunset, I walked to the park through the deserted streets.

If you analyze it we get:

After (prep) sunset (OP), I (sub) walked (verb) to (prep) the park (OP) through (prep) the deserted (adj) streets (OP).

Notice, the first prepositional phrase we don’t have an article. The second one we have a typical preposition, article, object of the preposition, and the third we have an adjective tossed in for good measure. Not only that, but “to” is sometimes a preposition, like in the example above, and sometimes an infinitive, like in, “To play”.

The beauty of prepositional phrases however, is that once you figure out where the preposition is, and where the object of the preposition is, you can usually cross everything in between out and this makes analyzing  sentences very easy.  We can take a sentence:

During rainstorms, I can jump over tall trees, from buildings, through raindrops without a scratch on me.

And if we cross out all prepositional phrases we get:

I can jump.

That sentence is much easier to analyze to make sure it is complete , am I right?

spice up the writing

Yesterday I talked about the basic grammar of sentences and what you need to know. That’s all fine and good but in all honestly, basic nouns and verbs only go so far. Even when you add in adjectives and adverbs, you sound wonderful.

One of the things that writers need to avoid is excessively littering your writing with adjective and adverbs. They do serve a place–don’t get me wrong–but using two or three of them per sentence will not result in good writing.

Take for this sentences for example:

The girl ran across the road and entered the library.

I could go on and on how we could modify this sentence to make it sound very good with plenty of description  but I won’t. (If you are interested, it can be found in The Art of Fiction somewhere.)

If I were to add perhaps two adjectives/adverbs, it’d sound okay.

The girl quickly ran across the road and entered the grand library.

However, if I litter the sentence with adjectives and adverbs, it doesn’t sound all that good.

The stocky, red-head girl quickly and directly ran across the dusty, pebble road and cautiously entered the tall, grand library.

See what I mean?

So if you can’t add in any number of adjectives and adverbs to get your point, what is one to do? This is where we spice up the writing.

I shall introduce something to you that I call strong words. I don’t know what an English teacher would call them but this is what I call them.

Strong words are words that denote a vivid picture. They are generally adjectives (combining several adjectives into one word) or verbs, although they can occasionally be nouns or adverbs. The goal of these is to create a better picture than flat words.

Here is the sentence when I insert strong words:

The girl darted across the road and slipped into the library.

See? That gives a much better picture. And now, I can still add in a few adjectives.

The ragged girl darted across the road and slipped into the elegant  library.

And that still works, it still sound relatively good, and it gives a picture. Pictures, in writing, are good.

Now, something that you must understand about this is that almost every single word has a sliding scale to it. If I say I am sad, then I’m kinda down, kinda so-so, but i’ll be fine tomorrow. If I say I’m despondent, that gives a much clearer picture.

Strong words are always better than adjectives or adverbs when writing. If you need help, try creating a sliding scale. Take your word–say, happy–and insert all the possible words to describe happy from the least happy to the most happy. Then, you should be able to figure out which one fits the best.

Just a note too. Question of the Week due by Saturday night. That’s two days left.