Sentence Variation

In any writing, you need variation. This doesn’t mean only the words, although changing up your wording is good. You also need to vary your sentences. Consider this paragraph:

He looked at the ball. He picked the ball up. He threw the ball to her. She caught the ball. She threw the ball back. He caught the ball.

That paragraph is hard to read because the sentences are short and choppy. They are also identical in structure. The text would be more interesting if you varied the words and the sentence structure. It could go something like this.

He looked down at the ball, lying at his feet and bent to scoop it up. He threw it to her, and she caught it. He caught it after she threw it back to him.

The difference is clear. The second example has varied sentence structure and seems to flow much smoother. It might have been more interesting had she hit him with the ball by accident. That’s another blog. Suffice to say, changing up how you structure your sentences makes the text easier to follow, read. It can even makes it more interesting. Try not to start every sentence with a noun or pronoun. I did this. I did that. I did something else. All three sentences are valid, but again, they are the same sentence. The same is true if you try varying them by adding words to the beginnings. First, I did this. Then I did that. Finally, I did something else. Those three sentences are still structured the same. Now look at this one. I did that after I did this. Once I did those things, I did something else. The sentences all said the same thing, but in different manners. The final example was more interesting to read. Adding clauses to a sentence enhances the meaning as well as make them more varied in structure. All sentences must have subjects, verbs, and modifiers. It’s how you place those subjects, verbs, and modifiers that makes the difference. If you want the choppiness of the first example in this blog, by all means use it. Don’t overuse it. Writing is the process of stringing words into sentences into paragraphs. Variation in the words, sentence structure and length as well as the paragraph lengths can be a joy to read. That’s what writing is all about, isn’t it? So revel in the variation. Use repetition where it is appropriate. The variations adds the spice to the text. You might think it’s too hard to see the variations in your sentences but look at the white spaces. If they all line up, try varying a sentence or two. Make the whitespace work for you. Also, most software will tell you the lengths of your sentences. Look for the statistics and find out how many times you use a particular word. You might find yourself surprised.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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