sentence (noun): a group of words that expresses a thought and is complete in itself (starting with a capital letter and ending with a full stop or question/exclamation mark)
variety (noun): the quality of being different; not having uniformity or sameness
Do you read your sentences out loud after you write them? It is a good idea to do this. Writing that reads easily and sounds conversational is easier to understand. When we talk, we vary the length of our sentences. Some of our sentences are long and exciting and seem to go on forever until it is time for us to finally stop and take a breath. Some are short and sweet. A wise English poet once said, "Variety is the spice of life." Remember this advice as you write your stories, essays and letters.
How to add Sentence Variety
There are a number of ways to add variety to your writing. Imagine yourself cutting up a sentence into individual words and placing them in a paper bag. Now shake it up! Did you do a little dance? Great. Now lay out your sentence and experiment. Can you make two sentences out of one? Can you put your sentence back to front? Try turning your sentence into a question. Or, if you think your sentence is too short, you may want to add another sentence to it. If you have a really important point, perhaps a famous person has said something similar. In other words, there may be a quote you can use to strengthen your writing.
Sentence TypesBefore we look at sentence variety, let's review the 4 main types of simple sentences. Simple sentences contain one clause.:
More advanced types of sentences are "compound" (combining two sentences with a conjunction) and "complex" (using at least one dependent clause and one independent clause). To create these sentences you need to know how to use conjunctions, adverbial phrases, prespositional phrases, conditionals and noun phrases.
Simple sentences: The boy wanted to go outside. He had to eat his pizza first.
The most common sentence pattern that writers use is subject-verb-object (SVO). This is how beginners write. For example:
There are many ways to rewrite SVO sentences. Let's play with this sentence:
Avoid using sentences that are all the same length. Short sentences are powerful. Combine short sentences with long sentences to make your writing flow more naturally. Your most important sentences should be clear and concise. Keep them short. Descriptive sentences can have more length, but you should read them out loud to make sure that they flow naturally.
Example of a paragraph with poor sentence length:
Example fix: The boy's mother called him inside for dinner. It was pizza. Even though the boy was hungry and pizza was his favourite meal, he wanted to stay outside and play. He wolfed the pizza down and ran back outside.
Note: Occasionally writers start three or more sentences in a row with the same word. This is a stylistic trick used for emphasis, for example:
Sentence Variety: Writing Challenge:How many ways can you rewrite, expand, reorder, reword these ten boring sentences?