Using a variety of sentence styles keeps your reader interested; it also helps you focus the reader’s attention on certain areas of the text or on certain facts. Here are some examples which can be used in most writing.
Loose (Paratactic): an unstructured sentence that sometimes copies the way people speak. A loose sentence might ramble a little bit, might have a lot of commas or other mid-sentence punctuation, and might have two or three ideas in it. It might also rephrase a concept several times for emphasis. This style is not recommended for use in formal writing unless you’re trying to make a specific point, but it’s invaluable in informal and creative writing.
Martha was a beautiful free-spirited woman: an angel in a shabby black dufflecoat and purple sneakers with gold laces.
I don’t like meat – not ham, nor beef, nor chicken, nor fish.
Structured (Periodic): there are many, many types of structured sentences, but you’ll recognize them because they’re normal. Structured sentences follow regular patterns, use limited punctuation, and don’t have any unnecessary words. This doesn’t mean the sentences have to be boring: they just don’t break any rules.
I am short; you are tall.
The black cat padded into the living room, surveyed the available flat surfaces, and leapt up onto the white velvet chair.
Long and Short: a mixture of long and short sentences – and a few medium-length ones, of course – will make your writing more interesting.
“Vegan food is inedible”. Having heard that sentence, and variations thereof, thousands of times, Andrew eventually invited the uninitiated over for a dinner party. He and his partner cooked eleven different dishes as well as dessert. The guests ate well and went away satiated.
Will I edit your history and sociology papers in exchange for absolutely nothing? No, I will not.
Varied Beginnings: use different words and some different sentence structures to make sure the beginnings of your sentences aren’t all the same.
She brushed her teeth meticulously. Then she brushed her hair quickly. Then she washed her face. Then she washed her hands
Meticulously, she brushed her teeth, and then she brushed her hair. Her hands and face were washed afterwards.
Rhetorical Questions: questions which don’t require answers. These should be used sparingly, but they can make a long, dry paragraph more interesting.
Literary devices are tools used by an author to assist in the story-telling; the devices make the story more interesting, adding simple or complex layers to the characters and the plot. Why do students need to learn about literary devices? In truth, they don’t. Literary devices are a natural part of story-telling, and they’re often learned and used unintentionally. Students do not need to know the names or functions of these devices in order to use them.
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