Sentence Patterns: Part 2 of 4

by F.

As with my previous post on sentence patterns, I’ll start with an example and then give the explanation. Today, 5 more. Again, the list is based on The Art of Styling Sentences (4th Ed.).

6. Cedric and his singing weasel dreamed of being a great song-writing duo like Lennon and McCartney, Ike and Tina, or Page and Plant.

This is a series of balanced pairs. The pairs are conjoined with a conjunction. There can be one, two, three, or however many pairs you like, but usually it’s two or three. The conjoined items should have the same relation in each pair.

7. Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Van Gogh—these painters are loved by the public.

This is a cluster of appositives with a summation. Now, what is an appositive? When I asked the Oxford American Dictionary, it told me it’s a word formation that communicates apposition. How helpful! Apposition is “a relationship between two or more words or phrases in which the two units are grammatically parallel and have the same referent.” In other words, an appositive is a word (or phrase) that refers to something else in the sentence. In the above example, “these painters” is the appositive. “These painters” = “Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Van Gogh.”

8. Francis learned the Core Values of his company—lying, cheating the customer, making crappy products—by imitating his manager.

This sentence has an internal series of appositives. The internal series is set off by dashes; it can also be done with parenthesis. The apposition occurs because “Core Values” = “lying, cheating the customer, making crappy products.” Now, I say “series” but you could have just one appositive between the dashes. Same thing. For instance, “The last vacation they’d taken—to the Caves of Mystery—had been a dream come true.” The apposition? “The last vacation” = “to the Caves of Mystery.”

9. If I had a rifle, if I had some moonshine, if I had the day off I’d go varmint hunting for certain.

This is a series of dependent clauses. The dependent clauses can be of any kind, and usually there are two or more. They can start with “because” or “when” or “after” or any of the usual prepositions. As in all things, save the best for last. Oh. And you can also reverse this pattern: “I’d go varmint hunting for certain if I had a rifle, if I had some moonshine, if I had the day off.”

10. In his office he had big books and small book and books about carnivorous plants and books about how to make a sauce of eggplant with boiled ants.

This exemplifies repetition of a key term. Book. Books. Books. The impression given is there are lots of books. The repeated term gets emphasized.

Tomorrow, more repetition. In other words, tomorrow, more repetition. Repetition. Repeating stuff. With Variation, too. Repetitiveness.

Update: Part 3 is here.

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