When I was a new blogger, ‘sentence variation’ was an alien word to me. Sometimes I visited my old articles to perceive if my reader would be amused reading the sentences I wrote. It occurred to me that many of the sentences in my content were similar.
My sentences were not contributing to ‘reading engagement’ of the visitors which is soooo..important from organic search point of view.
As bloggers and freelance writers need to keep their audience entertained what could be my next step?
Some crude methods like imitating writing styles of big bloggers and a book or two on writing were the resources then. And they helped a lot with turning me into a good sentence maker.
Much later, I realized that the art of sentence variation is a frequent element in a writing course or online tutorials on sentence improvement.
It was then a pleasure to avail professional help. However, these valuable lessons taught me how the sentence structure and sentence style must keep varying throughout my articles.
May also read: Parts of Speech – Definitions & Examples
To my expectation, the results were morale-boosting. Quite often these lessons need revision and recently, while in the mid of such a revision, I felt the urge to write a complete article on the subject for the newbies, the less seasoned.
The best way to use these tips would be to start editing some of your old articles and inserting a sentence or two of the type shown here. Thereafter, reading out to yourself would make you feel the change.
Let’s enter the workshop.
Sentences Mostly Used by Newbies
Comparatively new bloggers who do not understand the importance of variety, often end up creating academic-style content. The result is following kinds of sentences (with two examples in each case):
- Advice: Do this. Do that (Command or imperative sentences)
Filter your talent by facing a tough test.
Learn the significance of conversational style of writing.
- First person: I did that. We will do that. I am doing this
We can start reading self-help books.
I earned $260 online in 5 days.
- Second person: You did that. You were doing that.
You should try to understand why people are not adapting this scheme.
Your blogging needs an investment but it does not, by the way, earn an immediate income for you.
- Too long, complex sentences:
Her secretary’s dictation taking skills were sluggish and she made a decision to brief the panel to appoint a new secretary who could write faster than she could (the intent is blurred)
Finally the kick-off happened in style that proved to be a turning point (not quite obvious whether ‘kick-off’ or the ‘style’ proved to be the turning point).
Also read: How to Use Sentence Variation in a Blog Post to Increase Reading Engagement
Sentence Formation Errors by New Bloggers
Nowadays the surfers tend to be the eagles who would swoop down and catch a fish, then fly away. In no case are they going to wait for a second if you do not sound interesting.
Moreover, if you keep lecturing them, as in the ‘advice’ kind of sentences, they soon get fed-up with your pedagogue-like speech.
Many sentences starting with “I” cause a dip in the ‘engagement’ factor. The reader is definitely not here to read your biography.
Frequent use of long, sophisticated sentences is also not welcome by the readers. Their use should be limited by a blogger. Big bloggers recommend short, crisp sentences.
Even the guidelines of on-page SEO indicate that three or more consecutive sentences should not have the same start.
Even in case a lot of sentences have similar length, the content is not regarded as well structured.
Solution consists in sentence variation
The substance of all the discussion is, you need to prepare a potable, tasty mixture. And such a mojito can be prepared by an expert chef only.
Now, how do you become an expert in sentence variation? You need not stretch too far. Though there are full online courses on writing, you may start learning the art of varying your sentences here.
The three solutions are self-training, creativity and an inventory
Self-training consists of sentence improvement through imitation of good sentences. Adapt their structure, style and mood in your writing. That means, find a good sentence from a book or blog and write 10-20 similar sentences.
Creativity is your own power of imagination to discover new sentence styles. Experiment by using different synonyms, different mix of sentences in a paragraph, various kinds of starts and ends of sentences, manifold ways of writing a phrase and so on…and the list is never ending.
Inventory is crucial from the point of view of creating a methodical way to use sentence variation. Owing to the non-uniformity of the productivity of mind, it may not be possible to fabricate a heartwarming sentence all the time.
In these moments, what you need most is a ready-to-lookup inventory of various kinds of sentences with examples (long and short sentences, questions and exclamations, imperative, declarative). It helps immensely to produce content at a faster rate.
This is a paragraph written by a blogger who has just started his journey:
I started writing 7 years ago. But I do not think I have reached a stage where I can say I am an accomplished writer. I accept I have earned knowledge, I have covered a long way as far as I think about my vocabulary, writing style and grammar but when I look at the works of great contemporary writers that appears in a class by itself. So I advise the young writers to work on their writing as well as reading. Read the books by great authors. Try to write in a similar manner. And write at least 500 words everyday.
Now let us improve on this paragraph by way of varying sentences and better mixing.
First, the problems.
- In the beginning, there are too many I’s (Overuse of first person).
- Too much pedagogy (Imperative sentences/ advice).
- Long, sophisticated sentence (Complex and compound sentences).
- No questions and ‘expression’ (Interrogation and exclamation) .
First we will cut down on the number of the first person I’s (marked red) and then break the big sentence into two small ones. Lastly, the paragraph will be supplemented with a question (green) and an exclamation (blue). Plus, a good synonym (black) has been inserted and the paragraph has been broken into three parts. Here it is:
Having written for about 7 years now, it is still not possible for me to accept that I am an accomplished writer. Although the journey has been stupendous in terms of vocabulary, writing style and grammar, a question often haunts.
The writing of great contemporary writers still appears to stand in a distinguished class. Why my writing does not compare to theirs at all?
Here, I want to share with my young friends, a secret. How about stealing the structure and style of sentences from the writing of great writers! Writing at least 500 words daily and using their kind of sentences will greatly improve you as a writer.
Think of readers and lo! Your Sentences Improve Fast
Do you ponder over what makes you blog. When I do so, I strike it almost instantaneously. That, my ultimate wish is my content be read widely.
Why then do we not focus on things that matter to the readers? The art of ‘sentence variety’ takes its birth at this intersection of reader’s engagement and the writing tweaks.
This does not immediately increase your traffic or decrease the bounce rate. However, it does stamp your authority on the reader, who utters, ” This writer is interesting.” Believe me, they will come back searching.
Using synonyms abundantly and doing frequent blends of sentences like those of different types, lengths, style, mood and narration, binds your audience and make them bookmark your articles.
I came across a good article on the subject. Here’s the link:
How to Add Sentence Variety: 4 Things to Look For
Find your own way to practice the art of sentence variation
Do what suits you. It is not necessary at all that you stick to the ways I have mentioned.
For example, if you find editing your old articles in terms of ‘sentence variety’ more useful for you, do that way.
If you think you are already far too ahead in the art, you could consider teaching a bunch of students or creating an educational YouTube video tutorial on this.
Doing any of this, will increase the size and engagement of your audience.
An expert level in this respect will mean you have reached a point where you:
- Can lecture an audience over, say, 10 kinds of sentence-mixes.
- Have developed your own new patterns of sentence-writing
- Know definite, systematic ways to vary your sentences
- Have a huge look-up reference of sentence structures and synonyms