Pearson Adult Learning Centre


Quill PenTips for Writers by Brad

March 19, 2003

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Punctuation Review: Increasing Sentence Length

The Level 3B-C class recently discussed common punctuation marks and wrote practice sentences of 10 words or more, a requirement many found a challenge. To increase sentence length, a number of different methods are discussed below, along with a review of punctuation marks. My comments are in italics.

1. Comma

I have Korean barbecue dinner, and then go for a long walk.

One way to make a sentence longer is to use the coordinating conjunctions, remembered easily using the mnemonic, FANBOYS.

I read the Chinese newspaper, drink my instant coffee, eat a healthy snack, and listen to classical music.

Another way to make a sentence longer is to make a list and give an adjective for every noun you use. Note that I have added the "optional" comma before the final "and." In my opinion, this comma should be used regularly.

2. Exclamation Mark

Excellent, you did a good job for this gas company!

Again, add a detail or adjective to increase length. Also, you can use the comma after the introduction word, "excellent."

How delicious are these bright red strawberries you like to eat!

Nice inverted sentence order. Note how sentence length is again increased through the use of adjectives.

3. Apostrophe

Jerry's car was stolen when he visited his mother two weeks ago.

Use the adverb of time "when" to increase the length of a sentence.

4. Hyphen

He is my sister's husband, so I should call him brother-in-law.

The Great Wall in China is a well-known place in the world.

Again, using FANBOYS helps increase sentence length.

5. Quotation Marks

Kim said, "I must go to see the doctor after school today."

If you tell us exactly what Kim said to you, you use the quotation marks on her words.

The old man said, "Please don't touch my little dog."


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