CHANGE-UPS: NOT JUST FOR BASEBALL ANYMORE
Varying sentence length in your writing sets a lot more than the tone or rhythm. It allows you to set up and emphasize points.
Many people consider New York a place they’d rather visit than reside in because of its reputation as being the city that never sleeps. New York, however, is a vibrant city divided into boroughs that are all cities within themselves. There’s something for everyone in this expansive city.
Meh. It’s pretty bland – not only because of its weak word choices, but because the sentences are all roughly the same length. Its dull tone becomes lulling. Most people, including the author, wouldn’t think twice to skip it.
Let’s try this:
New York. The city that never sleeps. Outsiders may find it difficult to image living in the middle of the bustling Big Apple. But who wouldn’t want to live in a city that houses beaches, historical monuments, and stellar shopping?
I picked a pretty boring subject matter on purpose to illustrate just how crucial varying sentence lengths could be. Once I captured the reader’s attention with a short sentence, I gradually increased my sentence length to encourage the reader to keep reading. I broke up two longer sentences with a shorter one.
There’s no pattern or set of rules to follow, but you should always keep in mind the basics. You don’t want to write only in short sentences or they lose their punch and become disruptive to the reader. Use longer sentences to establish tone and comfort, or to inform readers about something.
By varying the lengths of your sentences, your audience will pick up on all the nuances that you’ve poured into your writing. It just makes reading more fun.