BlogHow to Use ProWritingAidHow to Use the Sentence Length Report

How to Use the Sentence Length Report

Varied sentence length is an important feature of good writing.

The late Gary Provost illustrated it best:

The importance of Varied Sentence Lengths

To maintain your readers’ interest, use a variety of sentence lengths: some short and punchy, others long and flowing.

In this article, learn more about using ProWritingAid's Sentence Length report.

  1. Using ProWritingAid's Sentence Length Report
  2. What the Scores Mean

Using ProWritingAid's Sentence Length Report

This is the screen you see when you run the sentence length report:


The report takes you through the variety in sentence lengths in your piece, the average sentence length, and how many long sentences you have. It also provides you with a graph depicting a visual representation of the length of your sentences.

What the Scores Mean

The sentence length report gives you three scores:

1. Sentence Variety Score

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 more your sentence lengths vary within the document.

2. Average Sentence Length

The average sentence length for most published writers is between 11 and 18 words. If your average is above 18, then your writing might be too verbose or complicated. If your average is below 11, your writing will likely feel choppy. Check your score and then rework your text if you need to.


3. Individual Sentence Lengths

You can also see each sentence length throughout your document.

The graph helps you easily scan to find areas in your work that need more variety.

Use ProWritingAid’s Sentence Length Check to find your stats or create a graph of your sentences.

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Hayley Milliman

Hayley Milliman

Content Lead

Hayley is the Head of Learning at ProWritingAid. Prior to joining this team, Hayley spent several years as an elementary school teacher and curriculum developer in Memphis, TN. When Hayley isn't hunched over her keyboard, you can find her figure skating at the ice rink or hiking with her dog.

Fisrt! I did it!
By dannt.dg on 10 February 2017, 05:01 AM
Sure would be nice to know how to find those sentences that are too long or to short. What do I do, count the words myself?
By TJReed on 25 February 2017, 03:57 AM
You just click on the bar in the graph for the sentence you want to see and it takes you right to it.
By lparys3 on 01 September 2018, 07:57 PM
By on 19 March 2019, 11:46 PM
You have to do that
By on 19 March 2019, 11:47 PM
A comment in a comment
By on 19 March 2019, 11:47 PM
In a comment
By on 19 March 2019, 11:47 PM
in another comment This is kind of funny
By on 19 March 2019, 11:48 PM
too long or to (sic) short was that a test?
By cathy.myrowitz on 18 September 2019, 03:35 PM
I have pro writing aid downloaded on my laptop but do not get the graph comparing sentence lengths. How do I make that happen?
By yachtimagination on 24 October 2018, 04:33 PM
What does your system consider a sentence? He highlights several ' sentences' as being too long, while they are actually a dialogue for instance with several full stops in them. In other words, several sentences counted as one.
By mariskaslieker on 03 January 2019, 10:34 PM
As it is normally defined, the sentence is not an appropriate unit of analysis in making editorial decisions on how best to minimize computational processing load in a text while keeping the reader interested and involved in the content of the text. It would be useful if users could specify their definition of a sentence and receive reports that used their definition.
By mhowe1 on 20 September 2019, 05:32 AM
Another adventure for a novice. I'm writing all this down. DA Short
By shortchief on 10 June 2020, 11:06 PM
Very useful comments on my note, I am delighted. Thanks for the feedback.
By sukdev.nayak on 15 August 2020, 01:23 AM
You are so welcome! That's what we love to hear! :)
By writersneed2 on 17 August 2020, 09:35 PM
Surely the target sentence length will vary depending on the type of writing. For example, in scenes where there is a high proportion of dialogue, my sentence lengths drop well below the target of 11 words. This is obvious since a sentence could easily be 'Yes,' or 'No, thanks," in dialogue. Action scenes will generally have much shorter sentences than descriptive scenes.
By peter1118 on 14 May 2021, 05:55 PM
Great point! Hopefully this is a feature we'll be able to improve on as we continue to work on this feature! :)
By amy.cohen on 19 May 2021, 07:10 PM

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