Writing - Sentence Structure for CBEST Exam Study Guide
Even more important than a logical structure is the content of your essay. Generalizations need to be supported with exact and specific details, which you are free to make up. Your choice of words needs to be precise, your sentences varied, and your paragraphs unified. Your paragraphs should have connections between them so that your whole essay flows from one thought to another. Let us look at some of the sentence elements that make up good paragraphs.
Varied Sentence Structure
Within your paragraph, your sentences should be varied. It makes your essay more interesting and shows the test evaluators that you have mastered different sentence structures.
There are two types of sentence variation: sentence length and sentence structure. Sentence length should not be a problem. Put in some long sentences and some short ones. For varying the structure of a sentence, you might need to brush up on parts of speech and different types of clauses and phrases. If this is the case, go to your local library and check out a book on grammar, or check out some of the books on writing listed at the end of this chapter. The idea is not to be able to name all the different types of clauses, but only to be able to add some variety to your writing. The following exercise provides a few examples of various sentence structures.
Practice with Varied Sentence Structures
Rewrite the sentences so that they begin with the part of speech indicated.
- The cat scurried away quickly. (adverb)
- The runner, muscular from weight-lifting, won the marathon. (adjective)
- One must be limber to be a good gymnast. (infinitive)
- I store my scrapbook under my bed. (prepositional phrase)
- I hit an ice patch skiing down the slope. (participle)
- The law will not be passed if enough people do not sign the petition. (adverb clause)
- Quickly, the cat scurried away.
- Muscular from weight-lifting, the runner won the marathon.
- To be a good gymnast, one must be limber.
- Under my bed I store my scrapbook.
- Skiing down the slope, I hit an ice patch.
- If enough people do not sign the petition, the law will not be passed.
For an additional exercise, try writing sentences that begin with these words:
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