Expressive Writing

Expressive Writing Exercises #


Expressive Writing is a sophisticated art; some are born with it while others have to work hard to acquire it.  One of the critical factors in good writing is variety; both in diction – choice of words and in sentence construction.  Aim for clarity, fluency and forcefulness. 



1. Word order to create emphasis

Least emphatic: Christian planned mutiny in order to escape.

More emphatic: Mutiny was Christians plan in order to escape.

Most emphatic: Christian had a plan in order to escape — mutiny.

Change these least emphatic sentences to more emphatic and most emphatic (write six sentences altogether.) Remember to add commas, if necessary.


1 He knew torture awaited him if he was captured.

2 They thought about water all the time.

  1. The pilot knew hijacking was one possibility.


2.  Making one sentence by joining with a present participle

The thief cut through the padlock. He opened the wooden door.

Cutting through the padlock, the thief opened the wooden door.

Join each pair of sentences below, using a present participle.

  1. The pilot banked sharply. She managed to avoid the buildings.

  2. He disguised himself as a cleaner. He entered the bank.

  3. She drove as quickly as possible. She arrived just in time.

  4. The lightning flashed vividly. It struck the church steeple.


**3.  Vary your sentences by beginning with a phrase     **

Rewrite these sentences, placing the phrases at the beginning

Remember to use commas where necessary.

1.  A shed was damaged during the storm.

  1.  They could not explore the cave without a torch

  2.  A shiny, black revolver lay under the bag.

  3. The crickets began their piercing calls at nightfall.


4.  For Variety use a phrase or an adverb to begin a sentence.

I visited Cairns during the winter.

During the winter, I visited Cairns.

The dog looked hungrily at the meat pie.

Hungrily the dog looked at the meat pie.


Rewrite the sentences below, varying them in this way

1        My mother cooked a meal after the show.

2        He staggered wearily along the dusty road

3        We saw a flashing fight in the distance.

4        I stupidly trod on a sleeping snake.


5.  Making one sentence by joining with a past participle.

The car was damaged in the accident, It needed a new door.

Damaged in the accident, the car needed a new door        .


Rewrite the sentences below, joining each pair in this way.

1        The boat was tossed up and down, It developed a leak.

2        The girls were aroused by the dog. They knew someone was around.

3        I was impressed by the team. I stayed for the whole match

4        She was pleased with her present. She gave him a hug.


6.   One way of combining three sentences into one.


The pilot lost much blood. He struggled with the controls.

They felt sluggish.

Having lost much blood, the pilot struggled with the controls,

which felt  sluggish.

Make one sentence from each group of three below, using the

same construction as the example above.

1.    The boy walked home. He met his friend William.  William had been playing football.

2.    I climbed the ladder.  I helped the child down. He had been too frightened to move.

3.    The crocodile swam closer.  It grabbed the bait.  The bait was on the end of the line.



7.   One way to vary and improve sentences is to begin them with adverbs.

Adverbs sometimes need a comma after them. In two of these sentences, the adverb needs to be separated from the other words by a comma.

1        The tennis matches will start tomorrow.

2        The strong wind howled outside.

3        Koalas grunt sometimes.

4        Paul rushed wildly into the room.


8.    Two simple sentences can be made into one by using describing words from the second sentence.

* The plane was climbing quickly. The plane was powerful.*

The powerful plane was climbing quickly.

A boar charged the hunter. It was extremely savage.

An extremely savage boar charged the hunter.


Join each pair of sentences below, using describing words in this way.

1        The soldiers attacked at dawn. The soldiers were brave.

2        Several dogs came close. They were wild.

3        The wind sprang up suddenly. It was very strong.

4        The sun beat down on the horsemen, It was painfully hot.


9.   Three ways of writing about the subject

A small, pretty girl stepped from the bus.

A girl, small and pretty, stepped from the bus.

A girl, who was small and pretty, stepped from the bus.


Rewrite, twice, each of the sentences below. Use the second and third constructions given in the examples above.

  1.  The hungry, exhausted dog lay in the gutter.

  2.  A sharp, pointed spike had been driven into the ground.


10.   Different ways of arranging words

Arrange each group of words in four different ways to make four sentences.

In each case use only the words given. In some of your sentences you will need to add commas.

1        ship violently the storm rocked the

2        masterpiece artist painstakingly the his worked at