How to use... The Sticky Sentence Report

by ProWritingAid Apr 25, 2016, 10 Comments

How to use the sticky sentence report

A sticky sentence is one that is full of glue words.

Glue words are the empty space that readers need to get through before they can get to your ideas. Generally, your sentences should contain less than 45% glue words. If they contain more, they should probably be re-written to increase clarity.

What are glue words in sticky sentences?

Let’s look at some examples.

  • ORIGINAL: Dave walked over into the back yard of the school in order to see if there was a new bicycle that he could use in his class. Glue index: 60.7% - Sentence length 27 words

  • REDRAFT: Dave checked the school’s back yard for a new bicycle to use in class. Glue index: 42.8% - Sentence length 14 words

The second sentence is much easier to read. Unnecessary information has been discarded, and the wording is more concise. The point of the sentence comes across clearly.

  • ORIGINAL: I was able to use the information that I have in my files and spoke to a number of people about the problem and managed to resolve it. Glue index: 57% - Sentence length 28 words
  • REDRAFT: I resolved the problem using my contacts and the available information. Glue index: 36% - Sentence length 11 words

Like many of the tips in this guide, you need to use your own judgement as the author. Sometimes a sentence will be sticky and it’s the only way that it works. That’s fine. But statistics show that published writing has a low percentage of glue words, so always go back and reassess your sticky sentences.

This and other great tips for using ProWritingAid are included in our ebook: 20 Editing Tips From Professional Writers. Download it for free now!

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Comments (10) Add Yours

  • radiantsharon says
    A quick exploration of this tool impressed me. My writing needs it. Sharon Sterling, Author
    Posted On Apr 26, 2016 | 05:32
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  • redshadow47 says
    ghost writing quickly can enhance bad habits over time, so a tool like this is great to keep yourself in check sometimes, make sure you're not using glue words just to get the word count or otherwise slacking. Although I must say I don't want to run some of my comedic, cliche-riddled work through that thing or I might break it!
    Posted On May 24, 2016 | 10:47
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  • locdang54 says
    Tips on writing support writing very much, especially for those learning and practising writing.
    Posted On Aug 08, 2016 | 08:10
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  • pauln08 says
    The sticky sentence check is great but currently the MS Word ad-on does not highlight the glue words that are not in sticky sentences. It would be nice if be nice if you provided an option to highlight the words in the future, Paul Nieto, Blogger
    Posted On Nov 04, 2016 | 04:06
    • Sasha says
      Posted On Feb 13, 2017 | 03:16
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  • 1723819956 says
    I‘ve never realized the significance of glue words to make writing brief and concise. Thanks for it.
    Posted On Dec 19, 2016 | 08:23
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  • dah123 says
    In my experience, few sticky sentences are even marked. And the report continues to suggest a large number, while showing them all crossed out in the detail. I like the idea, but I'm not getting functionality, in the online version.
    Posted On Jan 12, 2017 | 06:48
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  • llLeoll says
    My favorite report, but I run the Writing Style check first, which weeds out most glue words. Still, I continue editing until I'm under 38 percent glue words. Amazing how many words you can cut and yet be understood. That said, I would love glue words highlighted. There are times when writing a short piece where I have no Writing Style errors, no sticky sentences and still cannot crack the 40 percent barrier. It would be nice to see all glue words highlighted as an aid.
    Posted On Mar 18, 2017 | 09:12
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  • anrueda says
    Amazing tool!! I'm just starting as a writer and I believe this tool will be my faithful inseparable companion :)
    Posted On Mar 23, 2017 | 12:33
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  • Sharon Talbot says
    I was surprised yet annoyed at myself when I read how many "sticky" sentences my one submission contained. That means more work and I'm pretty lazy. Now I am thinking of other novels that probably are not finished because I keep writing when I should stop! This reminds me of the writer played by Michael Douglas in the excellent film "Wonder Boys". After a first best-seller, he is unable to complete his second novel, not out of writer's block, but the inability to stop. He carries around a huge manuscript and won't let anyone read it, while he is hounded by his agent, his students and friends. Hopefully, it won't take a car accident and the loss of my manuscript to the four winds to trim down what I have already written.
    Posted On Mar 25, 2017 | 04:02
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