Does Sentence Length Matter?

In a word: YES.

Writing Tip: Sentence Length

Have you ever heard a speech or talk and the person speaking sounded slow, monotone and monotonous? The content might have been great but you couldn’t get past the sound of the voice that almost put you to sleep?

That is what it can feel like when a reader has to wade through a text that has nothing but long, drawn out sentences. Long sentences can get boring and confusing for a reader and will make him or her want to stop reading pretty quickly.

For example: I went to the store to pick up pencils, notebooks and sketch pads for my best friend who is writing a new story about two friends who get lost on an island and it is going to be an excellent story because my friend is a good writer and she knows how to integrate lots of soul into her characters, details to her scenery, and suspence in her plot lines.

Do you see how the above sentence can be a little too much to read? There are several sentences that run together into one big sentence making it feel like the sentence goes on forever.

On the other hand, a piece of writing that has nothing but short sentences can sound choppy and incohesive. That is the way children who are learning to write create sentences: short and abrupt.

For example: I went to the store. I picked up pencils. I picked up notebooks. I picked up sketch pads. My best friend is writing a story. The story is about two friends. They get lost on an island. It is going to be an excellent story. My friend is a good writer…

Do you see how choppy and broken the above sentences are? The sentences aren’t able to move forward with its point because it feels like stop, go. Stop, go. It is jarring to a reader’s sensibilities.

Thus, long sentences and short sentences have a place in a piece of writing. Good writers vary sentence length to help keep the text interesting and flowing naturally.

For example: I went to the store to pick up pencils, notebooks, and sketch pads for my best friend. She is writing a new story about two friends who get lost on an island. It is going to be an excellent story because my friend is a good writer. She knows how to integrate soul into her characters. She knows how to add details to her scenery and she knows how to bring suspence into her plot lines.

In the above paragraph, there are short, moderate and long(ish) sentences to keep it interesting. Varying sentence length may be a small thing but it makes a big difference in your writing!

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