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Sentence patterns from Mr. Haskett

Terms in this set (41)

Appositives—nouns or pronouns—extend the meaning of preceding nouns or pronouns. As nonrestrictive (or non-essential) modifiers, they require commas to set them off from the rest of the sentence. Restrictive (essential) appositives and those used as part of a person's name require no commas.

Appositives define, identify, or rename ideas, objects, places, or people. An appositive consists of a noun (I love my mother, Gertrude!) or a noun phrase (I hate my uncle, that incestuous regicide!)


Non-example: Carmen, who loves small furry creatures, is a great person!

1. Alan Lupo, a onetime reporter and dogged historical researcher, provides some thoughtful answers.

2. George Eliot, a great 19th century novelist, wrote with sympathy, wisdom, and realism about English country people and small towns.

3. Penicillin, a powerful drug, has won medical acceptance.

4. In a touching tribute to George Gershwin, a famous American composer, the orchestra played "Rhapsody in Blue".

5. Cormier's brilliant simile, "her eyes like shattered marbles," makes visual the mother's terror.

6. Huck Finn, a coming of age novel, depicts a boy journeying down the Mississippi River, encountering every aspect of unseemly life.

7. William the Conqueror invaded England from Normandy.

8. A former San Jose Spartan quarterback, Jeff Garcia, has played for the San Francisco 49ers and now is no longer in the NFL.

9. Andy Kaddaber, that gleeful mortician, fell into despair when his afternoon appointment suddenly wrapped her fingers around his throat.
The perfect gerund= having + the third principal part of the verb (having deposited, having kissed, having begun, having promised.)
Again, it looks identical to the perfect participle; but whereas the perfect participle functions as an adjective, the perfect gerund operates as a noun.

Perfect gerunds place the action prior to the tense indicated by the main verb. Gerunds, by contrast, can be read as depicting an action that happened prior to the main verb or that is concomitant to the main verb.
Compare these sentences: Shan regretted wearing a hat. vs. Shan regretted having worn a hat.
David likes eating Doritos. vs. David likes having eaten Doritos.

Perfect gerunds form perfect gerund phrases in the same three ways as perfect participles do:

1. by combining with adverbs: having shrieked loudly
2. by combining with prepositional phrases: having come to the abandoned quarry
3. by taking objects: having kissed his forehead
In its most frequent usage, the perfect gerund will appear as the object of a preposition (as it does in all of the examples). Gerund phrases end with a comma. The noun or pronoun immediately following the comma must serve as the person, place, or thing doing the action of the gerund; otherwise the gerund phrase will be a dangling or misplaced modifier.

1. After having written the essay, I analyzed it carefully for errors.
2. By having gone through one ordeal, I felt better about coping with future problems.
3. On having attained the promotion, I began to search for other goals.
4. From having deduced the answer, I can handle future problems more accurately.
5. Before having reached the summit, I should have rested more often.
6. Upon having reached twenty-one, he received his inheritance.
Elliptical (the adjective for the noun "ellipsis") refers to the omission from a sentence of a word or words that would complete or clarify the sentence.

The semicolon connects the two independent clauses of the compound sentence. The comma indicates the omitted word or words (usually, the verb or the subject and verb), known as the ellipsis. The comma signals the reader, "At this point you should mentally insert the word or words you have already read in the first clause."

1. The Eskimo lives in an igloo; the Native American, in a tepee.

2. The Scottish Highlander sports a tam-o'-shanter; the Texas Ranger, a Stetson or ten-gallon hat.

3. Good authors emphasize character and theme; poor authors, plot.

4. The Russian ballerina wears a tutu; the Malaysian dancer, a brightly colored sarong.

5. Some note-takers try to take down all the information from the lecturer; others, only the main points.

6. New York Giants fans will forever remember one play that defined a season; New England Patriots fans, one loss.

7. San Francisco Giants fans will forever remember a pitching rotation that defined a season; Texas Rangers fans, their bullpen.

8. Kim likes to go to the hardware store; Jerry, the mall.

9. Frank is sane; Max, insane.

10. New York Giants fans will forever remember one play that defined a season; New England Patriots fans, one loss.

11. Fans of the 2010 San Francisco Giants will forever remember a pitching rotation that defined a season; fans of the Texas Rangers, the bullpen.

12. Fans of the 2012 San Francisco Giants celebrated skillful defense and pitching punctuated by well-executed offensive plays; fans of the Detroit Tigers, a triple-crown.

13. Fans of the 2014 San Francisco Giants relished the tremendous pitching performance of Madison Bumgarner; fans of the Kansas City Royals, their first World's Series appearance since 1985.

14. Jared Vass is proficient at life; the Grim Reaper, death.
This pattern begins with a cluster of appositives. An appositive we may define as another naming for some noun. After the appositive comes a dash, followed by a summarizing word. These summarizing words may be: such, all those, these, many, each, which, what, something, someone. Sometimes this summarizing word may serve as the subject of the sentence; sometimes it may merely modify the subject.

A highly stylized sentence, this pattern becomes effective for special places in your writing, places where you want to squeeze a lot of information into the same slot. The commas come between the appositives in the series; the dash follows the series; a summary word must occur at the beginning of the main clause.

1. The trees and the earth and the green water on the lakes, the near-hills and the far-off hills—all told their stories.

2. The crack of the lion tamer's whip, the dissonant music of the calliope, the neighs of Arabian stallions—these sounds mean "circus" to all children.

3. To struggle, to exist, and so to create his own soul—this process becomes man's great task.

4. Love, hate, resentment, fear, anger, ambition—such emotions direct our day-dreams!

5. Frank McCourt, Sandra Cisneros, Toni Morrison—writers in the twentieth century have achieved fame through their discussions of the disenfranchised.

6. The Mona Lisa, La Vita Nuova, the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel—what an imagination those Italian artists had!

7. An old picture, a haunting fragrance, a sudden view of a half-forgotten scene—something unexpectedly triggers our nostalgia for the past.

8. Gas chambers, concentration camps, crematories—these ghastly institutions tortured European Jews during the Holocaust.

9. Courtesy, correctness, conciseness—these constitute the three essentials in a business letter.

10. Doritos, Red Bull, Guitar Hero—these were my whole life.
In a periodic sentence, descriptive elements (or details) introduce the sentence, pushing the complete thought to the end of the sentence. This pattern proves quite effective for emphasis or suspense because the most emphatic point of a sentence is the end. Periodic sentences are usually long, complex sentences, the independent clause appearing at the end, near the period. Here is one possible pattern for a periodic sentence: dependent clause, dependent clause, independent clause.

1. Because he wrote both tragedies and comedies, because he glorified England, and because he penned deathless lines, Shakespeare became immortal.

2. With the Tibetan mastiff "as big as a donkey," with the wolfhound as a member of its Mongolian clan, and with the Pekingese as the most popular of pet classes on Earth, China has produced three special dogs.

3. By the creation of the American Gothic tale, by the origination of the detective story, and by the writing of many masterpieces, Edgar Allan Poe occupies an important niche in American literature.

4. In his humorous light-stepping through human foibles, in his interpretation of God, and in his accentuation of the positive, Chaucer created tales that have lasted since the Middle Ages.

5. Through their use of irony, their blending of powerful images, their re-imagining of universal ideas and themes using symbolism, these three—Pearl Buck, John Steinbeck, Toni Morrison—rank among the great modern writers.

6. Shuffling up an insipidly named Academae Avenue from the pea-green walls of the town's Greyhound station, wrapped tightly in his parka (the blanket of Linus, the warmth of the woods, his portable womb), the rucksack packed thickly with the only possessions and necessities of his life: a Captain Midnight Code-O-Graph, one hundred and sixty-nine silver dollars, a current 1958 calendar, a plastic sack of exotic seeds, a packet of grapevine leaves in a special humidor, a jar of feta, sections of wire coathanger to be used as shish kebab skewers, a boy scout shirt, two cinnamon sticks, a bottle-cap from Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray Tonic, a change of Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear from a foraging at Bloomingdales, an extra pair of corduroy pants, a 1920's baseball cap, a Hohner F harmonica, six venison loin chops, and an arbitrary number of recently severed and salted rabbit's feet, Gnossos Pappadopoulis, keeper of the flame, arrived. (18)
—Richard Fariña, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me

7. When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
—Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence
A cumulative sentence is, in a sense, the opposite of a periodic sentence: instead of appearing at the end of a series of dependent clauses, the independent clause opens the sentence, followed by the accumulation of dependent clauses and phrases that modify the independent clause. Like the periodic sentence, cumulative sentences are usually complex sentences.

1. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
—Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

2. All the parts and parcels of the winter that had been were sliding down the gullies of the hill, plunging into gorges, swelling streams brown and gurgling, creeping through fissures and corridors of shale in the glacial countryside, skimming over tops of fallow fields, across slopes like ducks' backs, seeking a level: the broad, steel-blue plain of bottomless Maeander, where if you listened carefully you heard the French and Indian cannons booming as some monumental piece of earth or stone was shouldered loose from a cliff face by the swelling lunge of ice beneath and dumped into the flawless, pregnant surface of the lake. (141)
—Richard Fariña, Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me
Absolute phrases modify or describe the actions or ideas presented in a clause or sentence. An absolute phrase consists of a noun and a participle. When the participle is the verb "to be," it is usually implied or not stated.


1. Frank dozes comfortably, feet [being] up on the desk.

2. Arny dozes comfortably, squirrels nestling in his hair.

3. Cigarette [being] lit, he pumped the gas coolly.

4. The dog barked, his tail wagging joyfully.

5. The mother held her baby boy, his mouth drooling saliva.

6. Loren asked a question about the obvious, his attention taken by the Rubik's cube.

7. Hand [being] raised, Michelle asked for an example.

8. The President, his face [being] oily like a burger patty out of the fryer, lied to Congress.

9. Hips grinding through the dry, neon air of Las Vegas, Elvis saunters down the sidewalk.

10. Carrying a pitcher of root beer to the gentlemen watching Monday Night Football, the bumbling barmaid suddenly tripped—her hand toppling the pitcher, soda drenching the astonished gentlemen, her body buckling like a sacked quarterback, and her head plummeting into the lap of her future husband.

11. Drums the size of wine casks vibrating the floor, a monolith of Marshall amplifiers exciting mosh pits of dust motes, a circa World War II fog machine capable of obscuring an air field chugging, sputtering, making the floor toxic to children under 3 feet high—the wedding band inspired a lofting of Bic lighters from the remaining bachelors of the wedding party and brought tears to the heavily rouged cheeks of the bride.

Original: Fanny Pucker, her voice cracking with rage, denounced the hecklers.

Imitation: The confused biology student, his mind roiling in DNA code, accidentally cloned his teacher.

Note: The absolute phrase is an important grammatical structure. Consider that the debate over gun control hinges on the interpretation of an absolute phrase:
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of the free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
—Second Amendment, U.S. Constitution
Parallelism is the repetition of a grammatical structure to emphasize a relationship between ideas.
Parallelism gives balance, focus, and clarity to a sentence.
Parallelism establishes a pattern of repetition that writers can manipulate to create a vast array of rhetorical effects.


Writers can reinforce and emphasize their use of parallelism by repeating one or more words in each item in a series:

He told himself he liked her, and
repeated this;
he liked her around him,
liked to look at her,
liked her laugh,
liked her near him,
liked to think of doing thing for her,
playing football
defending her against demons and
villains, and
—James T. Farrell, Studs Lonigan

Parallelism also gives the reader a pattern to follow so that writers don't need to repeat the words used in each grammatical structure. In fact, parallelism is such a captivating tool that writers can even leave words out because the reader expects the pattern to be repeated and therefore easily supplies the missing words. This technique of omitting a word or words readily implied by the context is called ellipsis.

These boys and girls were will-less, their speech flat, their gestures vague, their personalities devoid of anger, hope, laughter, enthusiasm, passion, or despair. —Richard Wright, Black Boy

These boys and
girls were will-less,
their speech [was] flat,
their gestures [were] vague,
their personalities [were] devoid of anger,
passion, or

Since parallelism establishes a pattern, writers can manipulate the patterns they establish to play with a reader's expectations, surprising the reader with unexpected twists of information. This technique of using a word in a series or pair that does not fit grammatically or idiomatically with one member of the series or pair is called zeugma.

I am an expert in stucco,
a veteran in love, and
an outlaw in Peru.
—student admissions essay.

Larry Joe Bird emerged from the Boston Celtics' locker room . . . wearing
and LSU Tigers cap... and
a resigned expression.
—Sports Illustrated, 28 November 1988

And parallelism is the perfect structure for comparison-and-contrast sentences and essays. Repeating a grammatical form focuses the comparison for the reader.
Old elephants limp off to the hills to die;
old Americans go out to the highway and drive themselves to death with huge cars.
—Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Repetition ofa word or group of words at the beginning of items in a series.*
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.
—Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons, June 4, 1940.

Repetition of the last word of one structural unit at the beginning of the following structural unit.
The crime was common, common be the pain. —Alexander Pope, "Eloisa to Abelard"

Repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse order.
Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
—John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

Juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, often in parallel structure.
Those who have been left out, we will try to bring in. Those left behind, we will help to catch up. —Richard Nixon, Inaugural Address

Repetition of the same word or group of words at the end of items in a series.
As long as the white man sent you to Korea, you bled. He sent you to Germany, you bled. He sent you to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese, you bled.
—Speech by Malcolm X

Repetition at the end of a clause or sentence of the word or phrase with which it began.
I might, unhappy word, O me, I might —Sidney Astrophil and Stella, 33

Repetition of one word or phrase at the beginning, and of another at the end, of successive clauses, sentences, or passages.
Most true that I deluded am with love,
Most true that I do find the sleights of love.
Most true that nothing can procure her love,
Most true that I must perish in my love. —Bartholomew Griffin, Fidessa, 62

Repetition of phrases or clauses balanced not only in structure but in the length of their structure.
Our dehumanization of the Negro then is indivisible from our dehumanization of ourselves; the loss of our own identity is the price we pay for our annulment of his.
—James Baldwin

Deliberate use of many conjunctions.
In early summer there are plenty of things for a child to eat and suck and chew.
—E.B. White
Read the following sentences and study the layering diagrams below.

The horses were coming, looking as if their hides had been drenched and rubbed with soap, their ribs heaving, their nostrils flaring and closing.

1.) The horses were coming,
2.) looking as if their hides had been drenched and rubbed with soap,
2.) their ribs heaving,
2.) their nostrils flaring and closing.
The jockeys sat bowed and relaxed, their faces calm, moving a little at the waist with the movement of their horses.

1.) The jockeys sat bowed and relaxed,
2.) their faces calm,
2.) moving a little at the waist with the movement of their horses.

Sitting in the halted buckboard, Ratliff watched the old fat white horse come down the land, surrounded and preceded by the rich sonorous organ tones of its entrails.
—William Faulkner

2.) Sitting in the halted buckboard,
1.) Ratliff watched the old fat white horse come down the land,
2.) surrounded and preceded by the rich sonorous organ tones of its entrails.

John Chapman was sitting alone in the bank, peeling an apple carefully, the unbroken spiral hanging like a shaving as he turned the fruit.

1.) John Chapman was sitting alone in the bank,
2.) peeling an apple carefully,
3.) the unbroken spiral hanging like a shaving as he turned the fruit.

Lying there like a corpse in the dead leaves, his hair matted, his face grotesquely smudged and bruised, his clothes in rags and muddy, Will Farnaby awoke with a start.

2.) Lying there like a corpse in the dead leaves,
3.) his hair matted,
3.) his face grotesquely smudged and bruised,
3.) his clothes in rags and muddy,
1.) Will Farnaby awoke with a start.

My beard was about three days old, bordering on wino trim, and my eyes were totally hidden by Sandy Bull's Saigon-mirror shades.
-- Hunter S. Thompson
1.) My beard was about three days old,
2.) bordering on standard wino trim,
1.) and my eyes were totally hidden by Sandy Bull's Saigon-mirror shades.

For teenage boys, physical rough-and-tumble play is replaced by verbal banter, exchanges of good-natured insults—a form of verbal attack.
-- Deborah Tannen
2.) For teenage boys,
1.) physical rough-and-tumble play is replaced by verbal banter,
2.) exchanges of good-natured insults—
3.) a form of verbal attack.

Had there been an axe handy, or a poker, any weapon that would have gashed a hole in his father's breast and killed him, there and then, James would have seized it.
--Virginia Woolf
2.) Had there been an axe handy,
2.) or a poker,
3.) any weapon that would have gashed a hole in his father's breast and killed him,
4.) there and then,
1.) James would have seized it.

Now, make a layering diagram for the following sentences.

1. 1) On the table an energy drink sat, 2) a warm Red Bull, 3) an undrinkable tooth-rotting concoction in a red, grey and blue can.

2. Andy Kaddaber dipped his hands in the bichloride solution and shook them, a quick shake, fingers down, like the fingers of a pianist above the keys.

3. There was a horrifying rush of cheddar cheese, followed immediately by the dull tang of soybean flour—the main ingredient in Gaines-burgers.

4. Outside, the lunatics were playing with their motorcycles, taping the headlights, topping off oil in the forks, last minute bolt-tightening (carburetor screws, manifold nuts, chrome skull-head tire caps), and the first ten bikes blasted off on the stroke of nine.

5. Then he puts down the saw and goes and crouches above the lantern, shielding it with his body, his back shaped lean and scrawny by his wet shirt as through he had been abruptly turned wrong-side out, shirt and all.

6. The weasel, scenting blood, backed up against the far wall of the box, yellow body tense as a spring, teeth showing in a tiny soundless snarl.

7. A flag hung in folds parallel with the pole, unfurling first in one direction then the other, the shadows rippling in vertical lines across the horizontal stripes.

8. She followed him for hours along streets whose names she never knew, across arterials that even with the afternoon's lull nearly murdered her, into slums and out, up long hillsides jammed solid with two- or three-bedroom houses, all their windows giving blankly back only the sun.

9. In this little, lonesome dwelling, with some slender means that she possessed, and by the license of the magistrates, who still kept an inquisitorial watch over her, Hester established herself, with her infant child.

10. Children, too young to comprehend wherefore this woman should be shut out from the sphere of human charities, would creep nigh enough to behold her plying her needle at the cottage-window, or standing in the door-way, or laboring in her little garden, or coming forth along the pathway that led townward; and, discerning the scarlet letter on her breast, would scamper off, with a strange, contagious fear.

11. In a memoir, Jonny describes the hazing he endured as a freshman at Westmont High School, ranging from being forced to keep stolen Scantron keys that barely literate seniors had pilfered from teacher desks to squeezing his long arm up the chute of unplugged Pepsi machines to hit the proverbial switch that would release a cascade of sticky-sweet sugar water, carbonated and effervescent, much like the naïve and eager to please Jonny, whose glee at being mistaken for a junior clouded his nascent morality long enough to allow such lapses in his otherwise melodiously innocuous behavior, yet, just as he might slide into a career of moral turpitude, plopping him on the bare lawns of Boyton, forced to eat furtively his clumpy peanut-butter sandwich, no jelly thank you, the brown protein spread quite unevenly because no knives, even plastic ones, allowed on the highly-guarded grounds, Jonny found in Mr. Evans' English I class what would soon transform the rough, untuned strands of his ragged melody, a rueful dirge never to be whistled with the percussive accompaniment of a metal cup raked listlessly across bars, mottled and cold: Jonny, ears unwaxed, heard the siren song of a girl, and, unlike his heroic counterpart, strolled over a sea of scuffed tiles to find bliss.
In 1512, the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) published De Copia (meaning "on command of language" or "richness of expression"). Erasmus's book was one of the most influential rhetoric texts of the European Renaissance.

One exercise in De Copia directs students to compose several hundred variations of one sentence. This exercise has three purposes:
(1) to increase the number of sentence structures a student can use when writing (stuffing the bag of tricks);
(2) to develop a command of sentence structure (knowing how to generate, manipulate and vary sentence patterns);
(3) to develop a sense of stylistic judgment (learning what sounds good vs. what sounds bad and why)

What makes this exercise practical is that it requires no grammatical terminology. Indeed, you already have done this exercise in your writing career—whenever you rewrote a sentence to make it sound better. But the idea here is not to limit yourself to a handful of choices by using only what you're familiar with, for soon you will have written yourself into a box, a confining space in which you can see no other option. Being cut off from possibilities forces you to keep a sentence that doesn't have the effect you're looking for and that probably should be boxed up and sent back. Be bold and imaginative and experimental in recording information, in revising your sentences.

As Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) (another Renaissance figure and the namesake of a triangle and a computer language) wrote a century after Erasmus's era, "Words differently arranged have different meanings, and meanings differently arranged have different effects." Erasmus's exercise teaches both the different arrangements and an appreciation of the different effects.

Taken from Thomas B. Costain's historical novel The Conquering Family, the following sentence describes the conditions under which a man must make a hazardous horseback ride to London, where he hopes to claim the throne of England:

A sleet was falling which turned the roads into sheets of ice.

The sentence communicates the discomfort and danger the rider had to suffer as he was threatened both with being frozen and with being crushed beneath a falling horse.

Retaining the original vocabulary except where grammar or idiom requires a substitution (because a sleet was falling/because of a falling sleet), we can compose different versions of Costain's sentence. Here are a few of the over four hundred possibilities:

1 A sleet was falling, which turned the roads into sheets of ice.
2 A sleet which turned the roads into sheets of ice was falling.
3 A sleet, which turned the roads into sheets of ice, was falling.
4 A sleet was falling; it turned the road into sheets of ice.
5 A sleet was falling, and it turned the roads into sheets of ice.
6 A sleet was falling and turning the roads into sheets of ice.
7 A falling sleet was turning the roads into sheets of ice.
8 Turning the roads into sheets of ice, a sleet was falling.
9 The roads turned into sheets of ice in the falling sleet.
10 The roads turned into sheets of ice by the sleet that was falling.
11 Because of the following sleet, the roads turned into sheets of ice.
12 Because a sleet was falling, the roads turned into sheets of ice.
13 There was a sleet falling that turned the roads into sheets of ice.
14 A sleetfall turned the roads into sheets of ice.
15 It was a falling sleet that turned the roads into sheets of ice.

And we can double the number of sentences simply by turning "sheets of ice" into "icy sheets."
Write as many variations as you can of some of the following sentences. Compare and discuss the differences in pace, rhythm, and emphasis of your variations. How does each variation guide the reader through the actions or ideas of the sentence? What connections does your arrangement of the information lead the reader to make? What action or information does each of your sentences present as the most important? as least important?

1. We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.
-- Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
2. He did not waste time maturing, he did not make any of the obvious mistakes.
-- Saul Bellow, Dangling Man
3. Early one morning, under the arc of a lamp, carefully, silently, in smock and rubber gloves, old Doctor Manza grafted a cat's head onto a chicken's trunk.
-- Dylan Thomas, "The Lemon"
4. At the time not a soul in sleeping Holcomb heard them—four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives.
-- Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
5. The essential difference between man and animal is exhibited most clearly by human language, by a man's ability to form new statements which express new thoughts.
-- Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics
6. If the input voltage is a sine wave, then we must divide the peak voltage by 1.414 (or multiply is by 0.707) to get the rms value.
-- Carl David Todd, "The Poor Man's Digital Voltometer"
7. A lonely boy, Coleridge retreated into books—he read The Arabian Nights at six—and fed his mind with adventures so wild and fancies so morbid that he often feared the coming of the night.
-- Louis Untermeyer, Lives of the Poets
8. Despite its great variety of natural wonders, California is best known to many outsiders for just one thing—earthquakes.
-- Robert Iacopi, Earthquake Country
9. From the age of Britain's greatest internal disorder stand out the life and work of John Milton.
-- G. Wilson Knight, Chariot of Wrath
10. Some morticians choose to wait for their clients to be dragged through the door, but, to immortalize the client as a work of art, the flesh must be fresh, so I check the hospitals, frequently.
-- Andy Kadabber, How to be a Gleeful Mortician