7 Ways to Start a Sentence and How they Add Clarity to Your Writing

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There are a few ways to start a sentence. Diversifying them leads to reader intrigue and attention.

What exactly is a sentence

Technically, a sentence is an independent clause that has a subject and predicate, can stand on its own, and is not a fragment. 

History of the sentence. 

To start, the history of the English sentence starts 1500 years ago with the first known written English sentence, which is “This she-wolf is a reward to my kinsman”, dated to about 450-480 AD. This was written in Anglo-Saxon runes. Later, Christian missionaries introduced the Roman alphabet to the Anglo-Saxon people. 

Used very rarely in manuscripts, the earliest signs of spacing between words appeared in Latin and then was altogether forgotten for a time until around 600–800 AD. This trend would spread to England where word spacing was taken up by both Irish and Anglo-Saxon scribes.

Why change the basic structure?

Failure of Simple Subject/verb

The subject/verb sentence structure is the most common structure. It can get repetitive and dull after just a few sentences. Finally, many readers lose interest and focus due to common or boring sentences; many poorly-written textbooks are guilty to this. This is important to technical writers. Changing the way you start a sentence makes writing more interesting. 

Special Starts to Sentence Benefits

Starting a sentences uniquely has the follow benefits:

  • Grabs readers’ attention.
  • Makes your writing style unique.
  • Raises the accuracy of the details of your topics.
  • Makes your writing more engaging to readers.

Ways to start a Sentence

Alternating ways to start a sentence so there are never two sentences that start the same way is a great way to help readers understand concepts.

1. ‘-ly’-Adverb

Occasionally, you can start a sentence with an adverb that ends with the suffix ‘-ly’. Helpfully, these adverbs add details to improve and expand upon topics. Certainly, these are adverbs like:

  • Loudly
  • Piercingly
  • Amazingly
  • Fully
  • Delicately
  • Exclusively

2. Prepositional Phrase

With prepositional phrases, some sentences can start. In many sentences, prepositions are common already; writers can just move them to the beginning of sentences. Although, it is better for the prepositional phrase to contain extra details that are not necessary for the sentence to be read clearly; otherwise, you get awkward sentences like the one beginning this paragraph. Prepositions elaborate on where, when, and how. With a few exceptions, prepositions are words like:

  • At
  • In/Out
  • Over/Under
  • Through
  • By
  • With
  • From
  • After
  • Between

In some cases, words like ‘as’, ‘but’, and ‘since’ can be prepositions as well.

3. Adverb Clause

Since it is one of the common clauses, put adverb clauses at the start of sentences to add detail or forecast the topic or theme of the sentence. While using any way to start a sentence repeatedly can get redundant, starting a sentence with an adverb clause often does not get as repetitive since there are many ways to form and make adverb clauses – these clauses are movable and always begin with a subordinating conjunction like:

  • Although
  • SInce
  • Because
  • If
  • While
  • Whereas
  • As
  • (Even) Though
  • After (in some cases)
  • Unless
  • Until
  • Before (in some cases)

Being dependent clauses, adverb clauses all have a noun and verb and support the main sentence. To check if an adverb clause is a valid clause, remove the subordinating conjunction and see if the words remain to make a full sentence. If they do, you have an adverb clause.

4. Transitional Adverb

Adverbs can always be put at the beginning of sentences because they are movable. However, this may change the meaning of the sentence. Keeping this in mind, transitional adverbs when placed at the start of sentences usually suggest changes in topic or consequences of the previous topic, so use them sparingly and carefully. Just throwing a word like ‘nevertheless’ or ‘otherwise’ at the start of sentences will make things confusing and awkward for readers.

Transitional adverbs include:

  • Moreover
  • However
  • Nonetheless
  • Next
  • First/finally
  • Hence
  • Also
  • Otherwise

5. Interjection

Wow! Interjections are the least used part of speech; they are also usually placed at the start of sentences making them perfect to spice up drab sentences. Whew, these little words can project a lot of emotion in writing! Interjections include:

  • Hey!
  • Wow!
  • Eek!
  • Rats!
  • Yikes!
  • Ouch!
  • Hmm,
  • Hmph!
  • Drat!

6. Participial and Infinitive Phrases

Functioning as an adjective in a sentence, a participial phrase is a type of verbal phrase. Ending with the suffix ‘-ing’ or ‘-ed’ and a comma, these verbals can be versatile. Infinitive verbals that start with the word ‘to’ and then the verb that follows; these verbals can function as nouns, adverbs, and adjectives. Almost any verb can be turned into either of these verbals.

7. Onomatopoeia

A word that is often only used in poetry, onomatopoeia is the use of words that sound like the noises they are representing or modifying. This is a good way to get the reader to picture situations or actions happening or being described; comic books have been doing this for decades. Words that have this effect include:

  • Jingle
  • Crash
  • Pow
  • Chug
  • Thunk
  • Zoom
  • Ding-dong
  • Pop
  • Whine
  • Clap
  • Sputter
  • Rip
  • Squirt


Changing ways to start a sentence is crucial in writing. A sentence is an independent clause that has a subject and predicate, can stand on its own, and is not a fragment. The subject/verb sentence structure is the most common structure. It can get repetitive and dull after just a few sentences. Changing the way to start the sentences makes writing more interesting. Different ways to start a sentence include ‘-ly’ adverb, prepositional phrase, adverb clause, a transitional adverb, interjections, participial and infinitive phrases, and onomatopoeia.

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