Varied sentence length is an important feature of good writing.
The late Gary Provost illustrated it best:
To maintain your readers’ interest, use a variety of sentence lengths: some short and punchy, others long and ﬂowing.
There are two easy ways to check your sentence length variety. Choose the method that works best for you.
1. CHECK OUT YOUR STATS
ProWritingAid counts every word in every sentence of your selected text, and then it gives you two scores:
a) 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.
b) 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. GRAPH YOUR SENTENCES
Create a visual representation of your work so you can easily scan to ﬁnd areas that need more variety.
Whichever method works best for you, you will be amazed at how much better your writing sounds when you use good sentence variety. As Gary Provost said, “Don’t just write words. Write music.”
Use ProWritingAid’s Sentence Length Check to ﬁnd your stats or create a graph of your sentences.