Snack: The start of a meal can be
called an "hors d'oeuvre" (pronounced "or DERVE"). An "hors d'oeuvre" is a
French expression for an appetizer. The French words mean "before the main
work." It's a small bit of really tasty food that you are served before a meal,
to "whet" your appetite - or get you excited to eat. For example, cook one
piece of bacon on a piece of paper towel in the microwave. Let cool for about
30 seconds, then wrap it around a cube of cheddar cheese. Voila! Enjoy with a
glass of grape juice.
Foxtail ball toy
Piece of lined paper and No. 2
Writing the beginning of a
sentence is like serving an appetizer before a meal. Getting a great start for
a sentence is just as important as getting everybody excited for the main meal
by serving a really delicious appetizer.
If you start off a
sentence well, you're very likely to finish it well.
Toss around a foxtail ball
toy for a while. Try throwing it by the lightweight, "kite" end instead of by
the ball. Doesn't work, does it? The beginning of a piece of writing is like
the ball that pulls the long strand of the rest of the "kite." What's up front
gets things going.
As with most things - a
race, a ball game, a musical performance, even a meal - the beginning is really
important. So let's work on the beginning of our sentences in order to get off
to the best possible start with our writing.
There are lots of ways to
start a sentence that are good. But here are three ways that are BAD:
If you catch yourself
writing a sentence with any of those starts, slap yourself (lightly and
humorously!) and start over.
A common error of student
writers is to start every sentence with the word "The." You can find whole
reports or papers in which every single BLASTED sentence starts with "The."
It's so monotonous! So
don't be one of those clueless writers. Mix it up, with variety - the spice of
To prove this to yourself,
listen in on people's conversations all day. Does anyone start even ONE
sentence with "A," "The" or "There is"? Bet not. So don't!
Here's a challenge to help
you create great starts for your sentences. When you finish these, you'll know
TEN ways to start a sentence BESIDES with the word "The." That will be a good
Take a piece of lined
writing paper. Choose a writing topic: maybe what you did last weekend, what
you're looking forward to, your pet, your favorite thing to do with a friend.
Sticking to that same topic, write 10 sentences, following the pattern below.
Number your sentences. Then share with others.
Sentence 1 -- Begin with a
(Do not begin with The.)
Sentence 2 -- Begin with an
Sentence 3 -- Begin with a
phrase that tells when.
Sentence 4 -- Begin with a
verb ending in -ing.
Sentence 5 -- Begin with a
phrase that tells where.
Sentence 6 -- Begin with an
Sentence 7 -- Begin with a
phrase that tells how.
Sentence 8 -- Begin with an
adverb ending in -ly.
Sentence 9 -- Begin with a
Examples: about, above,
across, after, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below,
beneath, beside, between, by, down, during, except, for, from, in, inside,
instead f, into, like, near, of, off, on, on top of, onto out of, outside,
over, past, since, through, to, toward, under, underneath, until, up, upon,
with, within, without
Sentence 10 -- Begin with a
verb ending in -ed.