Spice Up Your Writing!
I am sure you have heard the following expression, “Variety is the spice of life.” In this blog, I am talking about using a variety of sentences to spice up your writing.
I have made several blogs and videos about using a variety of sentences, so why another one?
This time, I am not focusing so much on why you should use a variety of sentences but more on how to do so and how not to panic.
Several students have asked, “But how do I ensure that I’m using a variety of sentences in my writing?”
Also, I have seen students spend an enormous amount of time and energy trying to figure out some sort of algorithm for the process.
This is not necessary. In fact, it will make your writing sound even more robotic and unnatural.
When I talk about using a variety of sentences, I am talking about simple, complex, compound, and compound-complex sentences primarily.
(Of course, depending on the type of document you are writing, you might be using a combination of statements, questions, imperatives, and exclamations as well – but these are not commonly an issue for academic writers.)
My suggestion is to write your essay, report, or speech as you would naturally. Get something down on paper or the computer screen. This “rough draft” should flow from you so that you don’t stall or experience writer’s block.
When you proofread and edit, you can give some thought to the variety of sentences.
Here is the other benefit of doing it afterwards. You might see very long sentences that could (or should even) be divided into simple sentences, or complex sentences with a dependent and independent clause.
On the contrary, you might find simple sentences or complex sentences that could be combined to create compound sentences or compound-complex sentences with a number of dependent and independent clauses.
At all costs, do not try writing – or even proofreading/editing – by counting each kind of sentence and trying to mathematically include a variety.
Your message is key.
Clarity is essential.
So focus on the message and clarity before all else. As you continue to write and then proofread thoughtfully for grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and sentence variety, your skills will improve. You will find many ways to balance your writing to make it more effective.
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