and sustain the interest of your reader. Varying the length, rhythm and structure of sentences are three
ways to create variety and interest in your writing.
A.Vary the length of sentences within the body of a paragraph.
Short sentences present one idea clearly, but too many of them in succession can make writing seem awkward and
simplistic. However, a few well-placed short sentences can add emphasis.
reasons for having two homes, owning two $300,000 residences seems needlessly extravagant. In short, I
Remember, if you have a series of short, repetitive sentences, you can connect sentences together with
Medium-length sentences allow space to connect ideas and add details, while remaining clear and easy to read.
Medium-length sentences are the most versatile and should form the core of your writing.
sportscasters’ comments are superficial, pointing out the obvious—like who is winning—rather than helping me
to understand the sport.
Long sentences establish complex interrelationships and include substantial amounts of amplification and
clarification. Use them sparingly to emphasize relationships and to incorporate significant details.
welcoming immigrants, travelers, and returning Americans and symbolizing the freedoms we value.
Present the subject and the verb in the initial position, followed by a variety of modifying phrases.
, with panoramic scenes, larger-than-life characters, and universal
End loaded sentences
Create suspense and emphasis by placing the main idea or some part of it at the end of the sentence.
the Petersons sold it.
Balanced sentences use parallel elements—words, phrases, and sometimes whole clauses—to create interest and
Some dreams contained flying, running, and floating, while others contained drowning, restricting, or
C. Vary sentence beginnings using different parts of speech.
Begin with adverbs
The ornithologist cautiously approached the eagle’s nest.
Begin with adjectives
Jason, exhausted and dirty, collapsed in the armchair.
The pope did not restrict his travel after the attempt on his life.
Begin with verbal phrases
The monks, worried that the manuscript might be stolen, placed it in a secret vault.
of the sentence, can create the problem called DANGLING MODIFIERS.
Example: Worried that it might be stolen, the manuscript was placed in a secret vault.
Sentence Variety Worksheet
II. Give examples of front loaded, end loaded and balanced sentences to vary rhythm and create
Front loaded: __________________________________________________________
End loaded: ___________________________________________________________________
III. Change the sentences below to use introductory words or phrases.
I fortunately had begun my work on Thursday because the power failure on Friday kept me from
working on my paper. ____________________________________________________
The three puppies were wet and dirty when they traipsed onto the porch.
Sharon wanted to go to the store before she made the pizza.
IV. Correcting Dangling Modifiers
Without a thought about tomorrow, the garage door closed behind us.
Afraid that the fireworks would wake the baby, all loud noises were banned.
When in doubt, the judge told the young man to stop and think.
V. Using your knowledge of sentence length, rhythms, and structure, rewrite these sentences.
a. Combine these short sentences into a complex-compound sentence.
I was eating an apple. Dad told me to take out the trash. I asked him to wait a minute.
b. Separate this run-on sentence into a compound sentence, a short sentence, and a complex
We had been on the boat for two hours it had been a rough time with high waves causing all of us to
c. Tell the writer of these sentences how to improve their order and structure.
Fish eat plants. They also eat other fish. Some like light and stay close to the top of lakes or oceans,
hide behind rocks. Fish have eyes that can see above them and all around, just not straight on as we
look at the world, especially other people when we want to have an important conversation like the
one that I had with my Uncle John when he told me all about the fish he has kept in terrariums. I like
to study fish.