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Exercise in Using Specific Descriptive Details in Sentences

A "New" Apartment in Nottingham Woods


Exercise in Using Specific Descriptive Details in Sentences

This exercise will give you practice in using specific descriptive details to create a vivid impression of a particular place.

A "New" Apartment in Nottingham Woods

Here's the opening sentence from a student's report on his first impressions of a new apartment:

Yesterday morning I toured my "exclusive" new apartment in Nottingham Woods, an apartment that I had foolishly rented sight unseen.
Below you'll find six sets of notes and short sentences describing some of the things that the student observed as he walked through the apartment. On your own paper, organize these details into six complete sentences. (The first set has been done for you, though other combinations are possible.) Try to include all the specific details, but leave out anything that sounds vague or repetitious.*

  1. Footprints marched across the ceiling.
    the living room ceiling
    stiff wedges of pizza
    pizza ground into the carpet
    Footprints marched across the ceiling in the living room, and stiff wedges of pizza were ground into the carpet.
  2. Light bulbs were smashed in their sockets.
    Several sets of initials were carved into the coffee table.
    torn sofa cushions
    cushions dusted with crushed saltines

  3. stale odor
    dozens of Bud Lite cans lined up on the windowsills
    Bud Lite cans stacked up in a pyramid in one corner

  4. puddles of milk and orange juice in the kitchen
    half-empty cat food cans on the counter
    mound of eggshells in the sink

  5. The refrigerator door was wide open.
    old tennis shoe inside the refrigerator

  6. The bathroom was just as bad.
    shaving cream on the walls
    sock jammed into the drain of the bathtub
    name "Fred" written in toothpaste on the mirror

Compare your sentences with the sample combinations on page two.

*For additional guidelines on how to develop effective sentences, see What Is Sentence Combining and How Does It Work?

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