Students should use different ways to start sentences. Teaching students to use a variety of sentence structures can greatly improve their writing. Begin by having students write a short passage. This can be on any topic including narratives or nonfiction. Next have students use highlighters to underline the first word in each sentence. Students will be surprised that their sentences often begin with the same words repeated over and over.
Go over some ways to begin sentences other than the typical subject-verb sentence structure. Then have students rewrite their passages making sure that every sentence begins with a different word. Turn the activity into a challenge by seeing how many different sentence beginning methods students can use in their passages.
Creative Sentence Structures
Download this printable. The first printable shows eight ways to begin sentences. One powerful way to teach students to create sentences using different beginnings is to start with one basic subject-verb structure. Have students take this simple sentence, and rewrite it using a variety of beginnings. For this example, the basic sentence is…
David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with a verb ending with -ing
Gagging for breath, David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with a verb ending with -ed
Frightened he would be late for school, David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with a prepositional phrase.
With his backpack flopping on his back, David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with an adverb.
Hurriedly David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with an adjective.
Anxious about being late for school, David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with a phrase that tells when.
At 7:00 AM, David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with a phrase that tells where.
Down Main Street, David ran to catch the bus.
- Begin with a sound word.
Swoosh, David ran to catch the bus.
More Sentence Beginnings
A second included printable contains eight additional ways to begin sentences.
You may need to pre-teach or review these sentence structures before assigning this page. Students must know the following:
- clauses [subordinating conjunctions]
- coordinating conjunctions
- transitional words and phrases
- infinite phrases
The printable can be found here.
Different Ways to Start Sentences Tips
- When using advanced sentence structures, commas are often needed.
- Approximately 30% of sentences should include a transition word or phrase.
- Try making each word in a paragraph begin with a different word.