Sentence Starters

Primary English Tips | Creative Writing: Sentence Starters

Hi all! I think it will be timely to discuss a way for children to improve on the language component of their composition writing, in particular, having variety in sentence structure. Having descriptive phrases and rich vocabulary is important but constructing interesting sentences is vital in achieving a good score for language too.

One way to construct sentences with variety is to use different ways to start a sentence. Here are 5 sentence starters to add variety to your writing.

Sentence Starters

Ways to start a sentence

1) Start a sentence with a noun(Subject/ Object)

The little boy/ He/ David kissed his mother goodbye quickly before going to school.
Mother was kissed by David before he left for school.

A quick recapitulation on what a Subject and an Object of a sentence are. Subject is the doer of an action while the Object is the receiver of an action. This is the most common way children start their sentence as they will be inclined to list down details of what was done by the characters or done to the characters. What they end up with are numerous sentences beginning with nouns and pronouns. Yawn.

Take a look at your child’s composition. If he/she has sentences which start this way all the time, it is time to read on.

2) Start a sentence with Adverbs

Quickly, David kissed his mother goodbye before going to school.
Tearfully, Jan apologised for her mistake.

Adverbs are words that describe verbs (action words). Examples are adverbs are anxiously, immediately, playfully. As children may find adverbs familiar and easier to grasp, this is a good way to begin injecting variety to your child’s sentences.

3) Start a sentence with an adverbial phrase (time, manner, place)

Time: Before going to school, David kissed his mother goodbye quickly.
Manner: All of a sudden, a child dashed across the road.
Place: In the pouring rain, the boy shivered as he walked home without an umbrella.

Like an adverb, an adverbial phase describes the action. Have your child think about the when, how and where of the sentence and they will find it easier to introduce this sentence structure to their compositions.

4) Start a sentence with a continuous verb phrase (continuous action)

Kissing his mother goodbye quickly, David left for school.
Shivering (from the cold), the boy walked home without an umbrella in the pouring rain.
Realising her mistake, Jan apologised tearfully.

A continuous verb are verbs in the -ing form e.g. Running, singing, clapping. Instead of listing down what the characters are doing plainly, try beginning with the action being done by the character first.

5) Start a sentence with a past participle verb phrase

Shocked by what he saw, James screamed.
Soaked by the rain, the boy shivered as he walked home without an umbrella.
Filled with anger, Mary decided to confront her friend.

A tip for using this way to start a sentence is to think about emotions such as shocked, angered and worried. This not only varies your sentences but also helps to add in descriptions of emotions to your characters.

How can I apply this with my child? 

A paragraph like the following is very common for a child who does not have variety in the way he/she begins a sentence:

5 Sentence Starters

This paragraph has some interesting vocabulary used but it can definitely be improved with some variety in the way the sentences begin. All the sentences begin with a noun or pronoun. Compare it with the paragraph below that is rewritten using different sentence starters.

5 Sentence Starters
I hope the 5 sentence starters will be useful to you and do apply them in your composition writing. In the next post, I will look specifically into ways to start a sentence using emotions. Happy holiday!

The Write Recipe

  1. Learn about how to plan your writing
  2. Know the key ingredients to create exciting content during planning
  3. See the flow of your story with our unique paragraph-by-paragraph structure (New!)
  4. Application to questions with the PSLE format

Write Recipe

Have something to share? Drop us a comment below!

Leave a Reply

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Other related posts

Let’s Go On A Learning Journey | Two Awesome Places To Visit During the December Holidays!
The First Write Recipe Workshop at Greenridge Primary School!
Understanding IF Conditionals!
Fans of Fiction: 3 Websites to Check Out This Holiday
NYT Copy-Edit This: Free Editing Resource
3 Writing Skills to Start Nurturing from Primary 2
5 Ways to Start a Primary School Composition
2 Common Errors to Avoid When Sharing Oral Stories
4 Lively Literary Devices to Use in Your Compositions
Comprehending Comprehension: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Understanding Questions
3 Composition Techniques You Can Reap From Reading
Conquering Correlative Conjunctions in Sentence Synthesis: 3 Commandments to Comply with
Drawing From Your Own Experiences To Write Well In Primary School Compositions
Proud of Singlish But 4 Mistakes You Should Avoid in Formal Assessments
3 Fun Ways to Foreshadow in a Primary School Composition
I Love Reading | 3 Tips for Reluctant Readers
Steps to Score Well in Situational Writing for PSLE English
5 Commonly Confused Pairs (or is it Pears?)
Activities for the Holidays!
Between Two Commas: How to Deal with Extra Information
Continuous Writing: 3 Specific Things to Check For!
PSLE English Specialist Teacher Wanted!
Paper 2: Don’t Lose the Marks Everyone is Getting!
5 Graphic Novels To Check Out This Holiday
Authentic Learning Activity | Editor on the Move!
Free News Sources for Kids
Holiday + Learning = Fun!
Primary 4 Marching Onto Primary 5: Changes You Need to Know for English
Continuous Writing | 4 Tips to Address the Topic
Reading | Video: A Totto-ly Delightful Read!
4 Fun & Interactive Classroom Display Tools!
Teachers Who Love English, We Want You!
Comprehension Cloze: Let’s Collect Common Collocations
3 Tips to Stop Run-On Sentences in Creative Writing
Killing 2 Birds with 1 Stone: Revise Synthesis and Grammar With These 4 Question Types!
Primary School Vocabulary: Confuse, Confused, Confusing? Which is Which?
Introducing: Mighty Monsterella!
Study Smart! | 3 Revision Tips for Primary School Students!
Announcing the Winner of our ‘Queen of Your Heart’ Mother’s Day Contest!
Accuracy in Situational Writing: Check for These 3 Things!
Comprehension | 6 Steps to Tackle “Support With Evidence” 2-Part Questions
Last Comprehension Question (3 Types) in your Primary School Examination Paper
3 Ways to Express Appreciation Using English (Father’s Day Special)
3 Good Study Habits for Primary School Students
Announcing the Winner of our ‘A Poem for Dad’ Father’s Day contest!

Like what you are reading?

Subscribe now to receive news and tips hot off the press!

Primary School English Tuition| Lil' but Mighty English