How to Start Sentences With Adjective Phrases

While there are many ways to improve one's writing skills, beginning sentences with adjectival phrases is ​one of the easiest ways​ to make writing immediately more interesting. Teachers and professors continually admonish their students to write in an active voice, an order that often comes across as unclear and vague. By learning how to create adjectival phrases and begin sentences with them, sentences almost automatically become active. It does take some practice, and may feel a bit awkward initially, but with repetition, the new sentence structure will come naturally.

Write a general sentence​ with one adjective in the sentence. Simple sentences are the easiest way to begin practicing.

Example:​ "The bird swept its auburn wings into the sky."

For the example, ​auburn​ is the adjective. An ​adjective​ is ​any word that describes a noun​. In this case, ​wings​ is the noun (person, place, thing, or idea) modified by auburn the adjective (a descriptive phrase).

Separate the adjective​ from the rest of the sentence.

In the example, take ​auburn​ and consider how to modify the fact that the wings are auburn with a phrase. According to the Writing Centre at the University of Ottowa, and ​adjective phrase​ is ​"any phrase which modifies a noun or pronoun."​ (Reference 1) It can be as simple as changing auburn wings to ​wings of auburn.

Arrange the words​ so they appropriately begin the sentence.

The ​initial sentence​ was: "The bird swept its auburn wings into the sky."

To begin the sentence with an ​adjective phrase,​ auburn wings must somehow ​move to the front:​ "​Wings of auburn​ swept into the sky as the bird took flight."

Write ​sample sentences​. Start out with a list of ​three​ simple sentences. Find and separate the adjective and its noun, and then practice placing the adjective at the beginning of the sentence. Once you feel comfortable reworking simple sentences, move on to longer, more complex phrases.

Create ​more intricate adjective phrases​ once you are comfortable. Adjective phrases do not have to simply consist of a few words.

Take the sentence, "The sad man took his broken umbrella to the store, but they would not give him a refund." There are ​two​ different adjectives in the sentence, sad and broken.

To make a more sophisticated sentence, ​move broken to the front:​ "Broken umbrella in hand, the sad man walked to the store but could not get a refund."

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