Role-Swapping: Subjects, Objects, and a Sexy Trick for Sentence Revision

What do you think of this sentence?

Kiki handed the handcuffs to Al.

When your action is hot, but the sentence is not, try looking at your nouns and their syntax, the roles they play in the sentence.

Kiki is the subject, which drives the action of the sentence.

Handcuffs is the direct object, which receives the action of the verb handed.

Al is the indirect object, which receives the direct object handcuffs.

We’ve got some awfully sexy nouns to work with here, so let’s experiment with role-swapping. That is, change the syntax. What happens when we put Al in the driver’s seat as the subject? What is Al doing?

Al accepted the handcuffs from Kiki.

That’s different at least, but I’m still not feeling it. What if the handcuffs become the subject? What are the handcuffs doing?

The handcuffs fell from Kiki‘s hands into Al‘s.

See how the hot action of the sentence just got a little hotter? By swapping the nouns until you find the sexiest possible syntax, you can build sexy sentences every time.

The Sexy Grammarian teaches writers to create tight, juicy, scantily clad sentences and combines sexually explicit examples with grammar instruction, but she never does it alone. Writing this post, she got extra help from the twitterverse, specifically @EditorMark  @JulieFrayn @GrammarROCKS, and @mededitor. Thanks, tweeps!

Check out more Sexy Grammar lessons. Get a Private Session with the Sexy Grammarian.

  1. Hey Kristy – you can borrow my handcuffs any time. Oh, that’s not the kind of help you meant? 😀

  2. Julie, you’re hot. And I accept ALL KINDS of help 😉

  3. Good post. Thorough investigation into all the options, which really are different, and I’ll keep such role reversals in mind as I write. I also always look at rhythm and length too though. how does it sound? how does it flow? the first has 9 syllables and a decent rhythm. The second has 10 and sounds a little clunkier and the third, though certainly sexy, has a whopping 11 syllables, more ups and downs, and demands much more effort from the reader. just something to think about too when deciding.

  4. Thanks so much, E.M. What a thoughtful and helpful comment you’ve offered me. You’re right to count syllables and pay attention to rhythm, and I look forward to paying more attention to both when I’m thinking up naughty example sentences in the future! After all, what’s hotter than a sexy rhythm?

  5. I’ve been finding myself doing this a lot more lately (reversing word orders, not handing off handcuffs – although maybe I needs some handcuffs in my life these days!)

  6. Michael, I approve of play with handcuffs AND grammar. Thanks for your comment. How do you find the time to keep your wonderful blog afloat AND leave such lovely comments on other blogs?

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