Cover image for Stunning sentences
Stunning sentences
Ross-Larson, Bruce, 1942-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Norton, [1999]

Physical Description:
94 pages ; 21 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PE1441 .R67 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Offers more than 100 model sentence types in a catalog format, giving writers many interesting and provocative ways to say what they mean. Writers looking for a more striking way to open a sentence will find these options: the announcement, the editorial opening, the opening appositive, the opening absolute, and the conjunction opening, among others. Examples of each sentence type ensure the reader's understanding of the concepts.

Author Notes

Bruce Ross-Larson, the author of Edit Yourself, is the president of American Writing Corporation, Communications Development Incorporated, and the American Writing Institute. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Whatever your writing task or your level of skill with crafting written messages, the Effective Writing series will help you express yourself. Although the focus in these three series entries is on expository writing, Ross-Larson, author of Edit Yourself (1996), knows how to stimulate the creative juices. The classification of sentence patterns in Stunning Sentences arose out of the author's insights into what is unusual about sentences--dramatic flourishes, elegant repetitions, and conversational injections. He allows sentence fragments--even recommends them to command attention--and provides a host of models to add drama or zing to sentences and give balance to their parts. But good writing is more than strings of sentences, however striking. So Ross-Larson also gives us Powerful Paragraphs. Here he emphasizes planning and unifying paragraphs around strong points, but he also shows how to make those points compelling and to link one paragraph with another. Bringing everything together, Riveting Reports advises readers to start with the message, then support it with points, using those points to present all the details. The author adheres to his own advice in writing these accessible guides. He also provides a table of contents listing in imperative form the rules of good writing (e.g., "Stick to one verb form") and an appendix of exemplary patterns at the end of each book that alone are almost worth the price. Challenging tasks made simple. --Philip Herbst

Library Journal Review

Ross-Larson, founder of the American Writing Institute, here offers a three-part course in "effective writing." He starts with the basics in Stunning Sentences, which uses model sentences to illustrate different approaches, including Dramatic Flourishes, Credible Quotations, and Stark Attachments. He moves up to the next level with Powerful Paragraphs, which tells writers how to make strong points and to link their paragraphs together to make smooth and highly readable transitions. Many model paragraphs show readers how to use the techniques described. Finally, the reader is ready to write Riveting Reports. This book tells how to develop a theme, put together an outline, gather material, write drafts, and do a final edit. Instead of the time- honored note cards, Ross-Larson has writers taping sheets of paper to the walls to get a full view, very likely the best way to write and edit reports with word processors. These three books have good solid information for writers and would be especially useful for high school students. [These three titles are also available from Norton in a single hardcover called Effective Writing, ISBN 0-393-04639-7. $29.95.]ÄLisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Author's notep. 13
An Approach to Sentencesp. 17
1. Common Formsp. 21
Directp. 22
Embellishedp. 22
Complicatedp. 23
Conditionedp. 24
Multipliedp. 24
2. Occasional Short Formsp. 26
Fragmentsp. 26
To start a paragraph or pointp. 27
To finish a paragraph or pointp. 28
Pairs and triosp. 29
3. Dramatic Flourishesp. 30
Interruptive dashesp. 30
Imperativesp. 31
Direct addressp. 32
Recastsp. 33
Reversalsp. 34
Inversionsp. 34
Cascadesp. 35
First and lastp. 36
Exclamationsp. 37
Interjectionsp. 38
Highlightsp. 38
4. Elegant Repetitionsp. 40
Wordp. 40
Rootp. 41
Prefix or suffixp. 42
Prepositionp. 42
Soundp. 43
Structurep. 44
5. Credible Quotationsp. 45
Directp. 45
Indirectp. 46
Opening with a quotationp. 47
Showing omissionp. 48
6. Conversational Injectionsp. 49
Commentsp. 49
Questionsp. 50
Questions answeredp. 50
Parenthetical asidesp. 51
Slipped-in modifiers (often as asides)p. 52
Contractionsp. 53
7. Stark Attachmentsp. 54
Leading partsp. 54
Inner partsp. 55
Trailing partsp. 56
8. Deft Connectionsp. 58
Series from short to longp. 58
Series with an extra conjunctionp. 59
Series without a conjunctionp. 60
Paired conjunctionsp. 60
Starting with a conjunctionp. 61
Semicolonsp. 62
Colon linking an examplep. 63
Colon linking an elaborationp. 64
Parallel constructionsp. 65
The verb-free elementp. 66
9. One-Syllable Openingsp. 67
Itp. 67
Therep. 68
Thisp. 69
Thatp. 69
Whatp. 70
Exemplary Sentencesp. 71
Sourcesp. 81