Sentence Portfolio (Academic Writing)

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                                                       SENTENCE PORTFOLIO

For this assignment, you will be crafting sentences according to specific grammatical and structural requirements.


The point of this assignment is to give you and opportunity and space to focus on sentence craft. Although the content of any given written text is important(obviously), the way the content is presented, the way it is articulate, has significant impact on how it is received. Sentence craft isn’t just about grammatical correctness; it’s about investing your writing with rhetorical power.

Being conscious of how you want your audience to react to your writing, and practicing how to craft a variety of sentence types and structures, will strengthen your writing and thus your points, insights and arguments.


The criteria will be the basis for assessment:

  • Each sentence contains the specific requirements (see below)
  • Sentences are grammatical, clear and do not contain unnecessary words or phrases
  • Sentences reflect creativity and originality: it would be fairly simple to construct sentences according to the specific requirements, but it is harder, and more useful, to strive to create sentences which fulfill the requirements and reflect the author’s efforts to craft interesting and rhetorically compelling sentences free of cliches, empty phrasing and unspecific and vague diction.

Sentence Requirements

Below is a list of the requirements for each sentence. Number the sentences you craft, fulfill the requirements, re-read, edit and revise with care.

Craft the following sentences:

1. Write a sentence using at least three prepositions. One way to approach this is to describe something or someone in motion, or to describe where an object is situated. Have some fun with this.

2. “Write a long simple sentence with one subject and numerous (three or more) accumulative verb”

3. Write three sentences in the imperative mood without sounding condescending.

4. Write a simple sentence with three infinitive phrases and which expresses  a meaningful insight, belief or experience, as in the following example:

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out, eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

5. “Do you agree that everything flows; nothing remains? Using a parallel construction, write a sentence parodying or agreeing (stating it in another way) or disagreeing with Heraclitus’s statement”

Heraclitus’s:  “Everything changes but change itself. Everything flows and nothing remains the same… You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters and yet others go flowing ever on.”

6. Craft a triad freight train sentence to describe a concept (perhaps from your discipline), a place or an abstract experience or concept, such as love,desire, hate, jealousy, justice, friendship, knowledge, loneliness, contentment,etc.

7. Write a long, complex periodic sentence. Use at least two dependent clauses; you may also add phrases throughout. Create a sentence that spans at least three lines.

8. Using the same content, even the same structures of clauses and phrases, re-write your periodic sentence as a long, complex accumulative/loose sentence.Which version do you think has the most impact? Why?

9. Using anaphora, a rhetorical device of repetition and an example of accumulation, craft a series of clauses (independent and dependent), either as one long sentence or as a series of sentences. Choose your topic carefully—unless you wish to write parody, remember that devices of repetition are used to emphasize content. Anaphora can create a very dramatic effect, so be sure the content is worth the emphasis.

For reference:

10. “Describe a concept using an accumulation of single words” like the example from James Joyce. In this case, he describes his concept of the artist:

“The artist, like the God of creation, remains within or behind or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent,paring his finger nails.”

The words highlighted in bold each describe the artist: the first four are prepositions locating the artist; the last three describe him.

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