Minor Assignment

Complete your minor assingment after you read chapter 8 in the Well Crafted Sentence! Do the two excercises below, and follow the instructions carefully! If confused about appositives, click the youtube link above.


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Combine the sentences in each group below by creating appositives. Leave the first sentence as is, and transform what follows into one or more appositives. When you’ve completed the exercise, compare your sentences to the originals.


When Ophelia takes over the education of Topsy, she discovers that she can do nothing with her until she takes her, literally, to her bosom. Topsy is a child who has suffered a most brutal previous upbringing. (See Smiley, para. 13.)

Sample Response

When Ophelia takes over the education of Topsy, a child who has suffered a most brutal previous upbringing, she discovers that she can do nothing with her until she takes her, literally, to her bosom.

On wet mornings you can pick up shards knocked from flint cores by Neolithic craftsmen. The shards are tiny flakes of stone glowing in thin coats of cold water. (See Macdonald, para. 5.)
I have a photograph of the stuffed remains of one of the last birds to be shot. It is a black-and-white snapshot of a bird from a Scottish estate, draggled, stuffed and glassy-eyed. (See Macdonald, para. 7.)
A few years earlier, I’d worked at a bird-of-prey centre right at the edge of England before it tips into Wales. It is a land of red earth, coal-workings, wet forest and wild goshawks. (See Macdonald, para. 22.)
This one had hit a fence while hunting and knocked herself out. This one was an adult female. (See Macdonald, para. 22.)
On the raft he was an individual. He was man enough to denounce Huck when Huck made him the victim of a practical joke. (See Smiley, para. 6.)
It undoubtedly would have been better for American literature, and American culture, if our literature had grown out of one of the best-selling novels of all time. That novel is another American work of the nineteenth century. It is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which for its portrayal of an array of thoughtful, autonomous, and passionate black characters leaves Huck Finn far behind. (See Smiley, para. 9.)
He even won awards. He won prizes of the cheap sort given at local musical contests. They were engraved plaques and small tin cups set on plastic pedestals. (See Erdrich, para. 4.)
His was a peaceful death. It was the sort of death we used to pray to Saint Joseph to give us all. (See Erdrich, para. 48.)


If you haven’t already done so, read Louise Erdrich’s short story “Shamengwa” (p. 163). Then develop each of the following sentences by adding at least one phrase in apposition to the phrase in boldface. The new phrase should echo the first one in structure and meaning; it should contain virtually the same content, reworded so that the reader sees it in a new light. Take your time with this exercise, writing sentences consistent with the meaning and the mood of Erdrich’s story.


Shamengwa’s music was extraordinary.

(Add an adjective that echoes or elaborates on “extraordinary.”)

Shamengwa’s music could make listeners aware of joys and grief that lay buried in their hearts.

(Add a prepositional phrase that echoes or elaborates on “of joys and grief . . .”)

People’s emotions often turn on them.

(Add a noun phrase that echoes or elaborates on “people’s emotions.”)

Sample Responses

Shamengwa’s music was extraordinary, hauntingly beautiful.

Shamengwa’s music could make listeners aware of joys and grief that lay buried in their hearts, of hidden hopes and secret fears, of memories they had tried to lock away.

People’s emotions, their fears and resentments, even their love, often turn on them.

Shamengwa’s arm was injured in a childhood accident.
Corwin drove a 1991 Impala with all the signs of old age and hard use.
The narrator is surprised to discover how deeply he misses Shamengwa’s music.
At Geraldine’s urging, Shamengwa tells the story of how his fiddle came to him.
After the death of her youngest child, Shamengwa’s mother fell into a state of numb despair.
Corwin’s sentence was to study with Shamengwa.
Shamengwa was proud of Corwin.
When the moon slipped behind the clouds, Billy applied pitch to Edwin’s canoe.

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