Writing TechniquesSentence Length VarietyWhy you should vary your sentence lengths

Why you should vary your sentence lengths

Why you should vary your sentence lengths

To keep your readers' attention, you need to use sentences of different lengths. Some should be long and flowing, while others should be short and to the point. If every single sentence in your document is the same length (or close to the same length), your reader will get bored. Varying your sentence length creates rhythm and makes your writing feel more alive.

We calculate your sentence variety score through standard deviation. Standard deviation is a mathematical measure of variety from the average. While that might sound complicated, it basically means that the higher the standard deviation, the more your sentence lengths vary within your document. If you have a low score, evaluate your writing to find places where you can combine or separate sentences to create more depth.

Every sentence you write has a different purpose. Depending on that purpose, use a long sentence or a short sentence.

Here's when to use sentences of different lengths:

When to Use Short Sentences

Short sentences move quickly and keep your readers engaged. Often, short sentences are great for emphasizing ideas and describing actions.

If you're working on a fiction document, short sentences can help you build tension and describe quick events in action scenes. If you're writing a battle, for instance, short sentences keep the scene's pacing fast and engaging.

If you're working on a business paper, short sentences are great at highlighting specific ideas. Trying to wrap up your document with a clear action step? Use a short sentence to ensure your reader knows exactly what to do.

When to Use Long Sentences

Readers often get lost in long sentences, which makes them perfect for descriptive passages. If you're describing the setting of your story, long, flowery sentences can help create the atmosphere you want.

A sentence is like a container for an idea. Sometimes, if you're describing a complicated idea or concept, you'll need a bigger container, AKA, a longer sentence. If you're describing cause and effect in an academic paper, for instance, it might make sense to include that entire concept in one sentence, rather than breaking it into two shorter ones.

More Variety = More Engagement

When your sentences are all the same lengths, your writing is dull and repetitive. By varying your sentence lengths, you can better hold your readers' attention.