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Sentence Structure and Voice in Essay Writing

1. What does it mean to vary the sentence pattern within a written work?

2. What does voice refer to in a sentence? What does tense refer to?

Solution Preview

Okay, let's look at your first question.

Sentence structure is just the way the words and punctuation in a sentence are combined. Varying sentence structure makes a work more interesting and less monotone. For example, here is a short paragraph with unvarying sentence structure:

John walked down the street. He walked into the store. He walked to the counter and said hello to the clerk. He looked at the candy bars and decided to buy one. He ate it and it was delicious.

Here's basically the same paragraph with varied sentence structure:

John walked down the street and into the store. Walking to the counter, he said hello to the clerk. After looking at the candy bars for a while, he decided to buy one. He ate it; it was delicious!

By changing the types of sentences being used, a writer can add interest and action to the work. I'll give you another example:

Maria looked at John. She said, "Hello."
John said, "Hi, Maria." He smiled.
Maria sat down on the bench. She said, "I think it's going to rain today."
John said, "Yeah."
Maria yawned. She said, "I'm tired."
John said, "Me ...

Solution Summary

Answers questions about how varying sentence structure can add interest and quality, and what "voice" and "tense" mean in terms of sentence structure.