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Review Exercise: Revising Sentences with Basic Modifiers

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This exercise gives you practice in using adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases effectively.

Directions:
Rewrite each sentence below according to the instructions in parentheses. When you’re done, compare your sentences with the sample revisions on page two.

  1. In the early part of the month of April we traveled in our own car to the city of New Orleans in the state of Louisiana.
    (Make the sentence more concise by reducing phrases to single words and eliminating unnecessary modifiers—those adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases that are repetitious or insignificant.)


  2. Patients can regulate the dosage of their own pain medicine after major surgery with a new experimental drug.
    (Clarify this sentence by shifting the italicized phrase to the beginning.)


  3. The hot, steamy air reeked with the sweet stink of rotten fruit.
    (To give added emphasis to the italicized adjectives, place them after the word that they modify.)


  4. Any listing of modern America's contributions to the world must surely include motels, along with computers, rock music, and fast foods.
    (To give greater emphasis to the noun "motels," shift the italicized phrase to the beginning of the sentence.


  5. We received a free complimentary copy of a book about the past history of education in America from the salesman.
    (Eliminate the unnecessary modifiers and rearrange the details in the sentence to make it more clear and concise.)


  6. I saw for the first time in my life the high grasslands of the Navajos, the fringes of the Painted Desert, the faraway buttes and mesas of the Hopi country, through the wide open window of my old Camaro.
    (Give added emphasis to the items in the list by shifting the italicized phrases to the beginning of the sentence.)


  7. The architecture of farms in southern France is squat and horizontal and is dictated by the area's high winds and flat plateaus.
    (Place the italicized adjectives in front of the noun that they modify, and eliminate any unnecessary ands.)


  8. Mr. Head's face was long and tubelike, and he had a rounded open jaw, and he had a short depressed nose.
    (Make this sentence more concise by eliminating the italicized words. Begin your revised sentence in this way: "Mr. Head had a long, tubelike face with . . ..")


  9. The little child walked quietly on the tips of his toes past the very young dog.
    (Make this sentence more concise and effective by replacing the simple modifiers with more specific nouns and verbs.)


  10. Our boat was entirely surrounded on all sides by sharks in the water around us.
    (Make this sentence more concise by eliminating unnecessary modifiers.)

Compare your sentences with the sample revisions on page two.

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