Resources for Sentence-level Choices

This page contains resources for composing and reading sentences. Because of English’s flexibility, its intent is to provide resources for sentence-level choices, rather than prescribe a specific writing style.

Click on a header to jump to descriptions, examples, and links.


Sentence Structures

Sentences convey ideas and how they are related. They may have multiple ideas and relationships, so different structures help to separate a sentence’s information.

Useful links:

  • Sentence patterns handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Order of subject, object, verb (the World Atlas of Language Structures Online)
  • Sentence structure and types of sentences (the Writing Center at Walden University)
  • Comma handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Semicolons, colons, and dashes handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Punctuation (Effective Writing Practices Tutorial at Northern Illinois University)
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    Verbs

    Verbs indicate the actions and relationships among ideas. They carry important information such as the time or the number of ideas in the sentence.

    Useful links:

  • Verb tense chart (Center for Writing at the University of Minnesota)
  • Verb tenses handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Subject-verb agreement rules (the Writing Center at Walden University)
  • Transitive and intransitive verbs (the Writing Center at Walden University)
  • Passive voice handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
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    Other Rhetorical Choices

    Rhetorical choices give writing an effect that can help readers better understand the writer’s context or purpose.

    Useful links:

  • Reducing informality in academic writing (the Writing Center at George Mason University)
  • Should I use “I”? (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Style handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Conciseness handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Translanguaging guides for educators (CUNY – New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals)
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    Nouns

    Nouns are the ideas in a sentence and contain information like specificity or quantity.

    Useful links:

  • Class of nouns (Academic Writing in English at Lund University)
  • Noun resource pages (EF Education)
  • Count and non-count nouns (Walden University)
  • Proper nouns (the Writing Center at George Mason University)
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    Noun Determiners

    Noun determiners appear with nouns to add specificity, ownership, or quantity.

    Useful links:

  • Articles handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Determiners (Academic Writing in English at Lund University)
  • Determiners and articles (McDaniel College Writing Center)
  • Determiners resource pages (EF Education)
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    Word Choice & Word Form

    Word choice and word form indicate a writer’s familiarity and their intended reader’s familiarity in a context by following systematic rules and idiosyncratic rules.

    Useful links:

  • Word choice handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Gender-inclusive language handout (the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Choosing the correct word form (the Writing Center at George Mason University)
  • Improving your writing style (the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Wordandphrase.info (from Mark Davies at Brigham Young University)
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    Inspired by: Ferris, D., & Hedgcock, J. (1998). Teaching ESL Composition: Purpose, Process, and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.