Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Improve Writing with Great Sentence Openers


Prepositions Followed by Present Participles (—ing) Used as Sentence Openers

Beyond locking them all into that stockade at night, there was no great precaution taken (Sabatini 63).
After doing the breakfast dishes, I rode my bike to the cleaner’s by the station (Murakami 56).
After introducing myself, I said that I was planning to marry Kumiko in the near future (Murakami 77).
Without even asking her if she cared to dance, he put out his arm to encircle her slender waist (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina 73).
On entering the study Ryabinin looked about, as his habit was, as though seeking the holy picture, but when he had found it, he did not cross himself (Tolstoy, Anna Karenina 157).
Without wasting time, he dispensed the money as well as his insidious smile (Guerrero 75).
In all of the above examples, the present participles function as the object of the prepositions.
‘Not,’ being an adverb, may be used to negate the present participle:
Not saying a word, the man in black motioned him to follow. (Stendhal, The Red and The Black 175).
Not liking to sit in the cold and darkness, I thought I would lie down on my bed, dressed as I was (C. Bronte 210).
Not looking to right or left Bill carried Haroun to the vehicle, which was drawn by two fine gray mares with silken tails and manes (Caldwell 133).
The Present Progressive tense—which is not to be confused with the present participle—  takes the form be + Verb with -ing ending.
He is chewing.
She is gossiping.
They are skating.
I am coming home.
This tense is often used to show what is happening at the time of speaking: 
Pepino is barking at the snake.
Cell phones off. The conference is starting.
And it is also used to indicate actions that occur over a period of time, including the present:
I'm playing for the Giants.
The President is working at Camp David.
How is it going? 

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