Improve your Writing Tip #4 - Vary your sentence length

May 10, 2013, 0 Comments

Improve your writing

Varied sentence length is an important feature of good writing. Some sentences should be long, informative, and flowing; others, short and punchy. Passages in which all of the sentences are about the same length can appear boring. If you’ve ever sat in front of a piece of writing and wondered why it seems so boring, chances are if everything else seems right it's because all the sentences are the same length. Sentence length needs to ebb and flow like the tide. Clusters of sentences of the same length can make your writing tepid. Try counting the words in each sentence to see how they vary. If you spot a group of sentences of about the same length, try to vary them.

Pro Writing Aid will show you visually the length of each sentence. In this way you can easily scan look for areas where all the sentences are of similar lengths. Try to vary sentence length to keep your reader's interest.

Pro Writing Aid also calculates the average sentence length and a sentence variety score. These are checked against our recommended levels and an error is reported if your sentences are too long, too short, or not varied enough.

The sentence variety is calculated using a concept called standard deviation. This is a mathematical measure of variety from the average. The higher the standard deviation, the higher the variation in your sentence lengths.

ProWritingAid also checks your work for long sentences. Long sentences are often hard to understand and you should try and shorten them for clarity.

It's surprisingly difficult to accurately split sentences up. Abbreviations, such as etc. can cause confusion and cause difficulty. Also text that is written in dialogue can be difficult to split into sentences. ProWritingAid uses statistics to try and work out sentence limits but it can't always be 100% correct so please let us know if it fails to split a sentence correctly and we’ll try and improve our algorithm.

Try our writing improvement software.

Next improve your writing tip: Improve your Writing Tip #5 - Every writer has a "tell"

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