AP Writer' Toolbox

Dashes can:

Set off an emphatic explanation, a striking insertion
Ex: "We don't need that creaky house--it is inside each of us

Emphasize explanations, appositives (a noun or noun phrase to describe another noun), examples, definitions, or a phrase already heavily punctuated with commas

EX: Tight-lipped, strict, and parochial--the minister was a force to be dealt with!

Emphasize a contrast

EX: To some, love is--just an antithesis of hate.

Interrupt a dialogue:

Hey--" Yeah you--" "the one with thw Red sox t-shirt

Emphasize an aside (a personal view or attitude)

Emma was a good cook-she sported a fistful of blue ribbons from the country fair--but her daughters couldn't manage to boil a pot of water!

To show missing letters or words:

EX: "Listen, you-- Yankees!

The use of the dash--especially when using examples--creates an interesting opening for an essay

EX: "There is nothing--absolutely nothing-- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

The Appositive (a noun renamer)

EX: "Friends often enter my home, a virtual tornado of clutter, and feel at ease among the domestic chaos.

Noun parts

Following a noun, expand your sentence with a part of that noun, or a part of that noun's enviroment. Don't add a verb after the noun part-NO,NO,NO-you will create an infamous run on sentence

Expanding the action (Two action groups)

EX: (1) Mike set the lamp on the table and stood waiting by the window. (2) John wrapped the package and hit it on the top of his closet. (3) The mist was changing to heavy fog. Nevertheless, I drove my car from the downtown lot and cruised along the Char

Expanding the action (Three Action Groups)

EX: (1) Emily looks at the photos, tenderly places them back in the box, and cries softly. (2) Todd tensely gripped the oars in both palms, watched for a nod from the coxswain, and ladled the oars into the water as if he were spooning freshwater out of th

Expanding action groups uding adverbs (use when, where, why, under, what and how phrases and clauses before and after your main clause to extend the action)

EX: When the school day was over, the children gravitated to the field to play baseball or The children played baseball when the school day was over

When groups tell when the action occured and give time info. The groups can be phrases or clauses

Signals: About, before, from since, within, after, by, throughout, when(ever), at, during, on, until, while

Where groups tell where the action occured

above, across, against, along, alongside, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, beyond, by, down, from, in, inside, into, near, off, on, out, outside, over, past, through, to, toward, up, and down

Why groups should be self-explanatory and incluse usage of because

EX: She limped because her foot throbbed.

Condition groups include usage of: although, if, though, even though, unless, despite etc.

EX: I wouldn't date Harry even if he were the last man on earth

How groups include ly advarbs

EX: Eagerly the hunter moved. The hunter moved eagerly.

Figurative Language: Simile- a comparison using directed like or as

EX: the summer sun set like the ochre yolk- loose, languide, and lazy as it dipped below the line of the evening horizon

Figurative Language: Parallel structure (parallelism)- the repetition of words or phrases that have similar grammatical structures

In Lincoln's Gettyburg Address, he mastered the use of paralellism with his phrase, "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Figurative Language: Alliteration- the repetition of an initial consonant sound/blend for poetic emphasis

EX: "It was nearly midnight when the harvest moon melted into the jet darkness of the atmosphere.

Figurative Language: Vary sentence structures and lengths

EX: "When the day came, years later, for me to see the Book of Kells, all the wizardry of letter, initial, and word swept over me a thousand times over, and the illumination, the gold, seemed a part of the word's beauty and holiness that had been there fr