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The following notes come from a student practice session on writing improvement. Includes samples of student writing and teacher comments (in italics).

Making Sentences Longer

Brad, the teacher who attended both UBC and SFU, teaches writing. The addition of information inside the commas after the subject is called an “appositive.” It is like an adjective (more information about a noun).

To make a sentence longer is our problem. Short sentences are five words or fewer. Medium are six to fifteen words. Long is fifteen plus words.

Class Examples

Tea is good.

Tea, made with water and sugar, is good.

Tea, from Murchies at Oakridge Mall, is good.

Tea, made purely from Starbucks, is good.

My friend, Jane, has given birth to a baby in July.

Jane, my friend from South Hill School in Vancouver, has given birth to a baby in July. (17 words; appositive tells us how you know Jane)

My family, who are in Mexico, lives in Guadalajara near the big Lake Chapala. This sentence adds information about where the family lives because most people do not know the place names of Mexico.

My friend Lesley, who has a big garden with many butterflies, lets many children play there. Here the extra information gives us a strong feeling about Lesley and I feel I know her from the garden description.

My husband, who is handsome and patient, can do anything in the house.

My daughter, who has long hair and wears earrings, is wearing a red dress because today is picture day. She’s beautiful. From the details after “who” I can know more about this girl. Long hair is difficult to manage, so it shows the girl is careful about her appearance.

After dinner, I watch English movies on TV with my husband and daughter every Sunday night around 8 o’clock. First we have the time “After dinner” and then the basic sentence, “I watch English movies on TV” and then extra details added “with my husband and daughter. . .”

My husband, who likes to watch movies with my daughter and I, is a wonderful guy. Here we see the appositive phrase as an alternative to the sentence above.

My friend, named Sie Saw Gurdha Mall, is very honest and kind and is the best friend in my life.

Sie Saw Gurdha Mall, who loans money to me when I need it, is my best friend. When we can “see” or “imagine” a person, the writing is stronger.

Another easy way to make a sentence longer is to use “and” to add another piece of information.

I like to eat apples and bananas.

I eat apples in the morning and bananas in the evening.

Balvinder, who is studying for his taxi host test, came to Brad’s class today because he wants to improve his English writing.


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Weather Words