How to Embellish a Sentence

At North Coast Education Services, one common question we receive from parents is how to help their child develop strong writing skills.  “My child’s sentences are so simple and one-dimensional.  There’s no detail.  They don’t know how embellish a sentence.”  Many times these students are working on an upcoming paper, book report, or presentation.  Some students are also struggling with dyslexia or a language disability, which makes writing even more frustrating.

Thankfully, there is a solution – Richards Learning Systems® Writing series.

Our systematic writing curriculum is designed to strengthen writing skills in students of all ages, including adults.  Carole Richards, our executive director, developed a systematic, multi-sensory approach to writing that is effective and enjoyable.  Today, we will show you how to embellish a sentence, using the same curriculum.

First, let’s start with a picture:


Source: National Geographic

Step 1: A Bare Bones Sentence

Before we can embellish and elaborate, we need a “bare bones” sentence.  A “bare bones” sentence contains the two things all sentences need – a subject (or a noun) and a predicate (a verb).  Our sentence will be “The lion moves.”  “Lion” is our subject and “moves” is our predicate.  It may be short, but it’s a complete sentence.


Step 2: Sentence Extenders

Now, let’s add some “sentence extenders”.  “Sentence extenders” make a sentence more interesting by extending the subject and the predicate.

First, let’s describe the subject.  Our subject is the lion.  What words would describe it?  We can describe him in four ways:

  • With numbers (“One lion moves.”)
  • With determiners (“This one lion moves.”)
  • Physically (“This one big lion moves.”)
  • With his personality (“This one big mighty lion moves.”).

We can use as many of these extenders as we would like to enhance our sentence.  So, our new sentence will be “This one big mighty lion moves.”  Already, our sentence is improving!


Step 3: Predicate Extenders

Now let’s use “predicate extenders” to make the action more interesting.  There are three types of “predicate extenders” – how, where, and when.  It’s easiest to add these after the predicate, but they can be moved later.  Let’s look at some examples:

  • How (“This one big mighty lion moves quickly.”)
  • Where (“This one big mighty lion moves quickly across the savannah.”)
  • When (“This one big mighty lion moves quickly across the savannah at sunrise.”)

So our new sentence is now “This one big mighty lion moves quickly across the savannah at sunrise.”  Wow!  We really expanded that sentence!


Step 4: Using Synonyms

Another simple way to embellish a sentence is by using synonyms.  The picture displays a lot of action and excitement, so we should use an exciting predicate.  For example, we could say “saunters” or “strides” or “gallops”.  We could also change the subject from lion to another word like “creature” or “beast” or “mammal”.  Suddenly, our sentence has expanded again – “This one big mighty beast saunters quickly across the savannah at sunrise.”

There you have it!  With a few simple changes, we took our bare bones sentence (“The lion moves.”) and transformed it into a much longer, exciting, descriptive sentence:

lion sentence

It’s easy to embellish a sentence with Richards Learning Systems® Writing curriculum.

If you are interested in expanding your sentences further, call North Coast Education Services and ask for our multi-sensory writing curriculum.  One of our trained tutors will meet you in your home and personally instruct you with our Richards Learning Systems® Writing curriculum.  Students with learning disabilities are able to succeed with this multi-sensory approach, too.  It’s simple, fun, and helpful for all ages.

Call (440) 914-0200 today.  Our program directors are standing by, waiting to talk to you!

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About the Author

Dave Hoffman