Writing Tip: Composing Detailed Sentences


Okay…so you want your kids to write detailed sentences, right? But, as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details” for most kids. Here’s a good way to help them strike a balance.

For more expansive sentences, teach them to use the “Question Word” lineup in this order:

when, who, what, where, why, and how.

This is a great strategy to use for topic sentences. Now, you don’t have to cover all the question words for each sentence, but with a little practice, they will be cranking out excellent detailed sentences without loads of frustration.



Tip 1: Make sure they start with the "when" question.

Tip 2: Be sure to include the "what" question, as that will usually cover the verb/action.

Tip 3: The order of the other questions can change as needed.


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David Lutz

David, a former classroom teacher, administrator, and self-proclaimed grammar nut, considers the oddities of English vocabulary and grammar his playthings! He received his degrees in elementary education, teaching, and curriculum design from CMU in Fayette, MO, and the University of St. Mary, Leavenworth, KS, respectively. His career has been a colorful collage of experiences in education, ranging from Kindergarten to Adult education and parenting classes.


He and his wife, Marjorie, have been blessed with 30 years of marriage, three grown sons, a cherished daughter-in-law, and the smartest, cutest grandson on the planet! He’s worked for Shurley Instructional Materials, Inc., for over 11 years and loves to help students and their teachers learn to love language and language learning as much as he does.