Adding sentence variety to prose can give it life and rhythm. Too many sentences with the same structure and length can grow monotonous for readers. Varying sentence style and structure can also reduce repetition and add emphasis. Long sentences work well for incorporating a lot of information, and short sentences can often maximize crucial points. These general tips may help add variety to similar sentences.
1. Vary the rhythm by alternating short and long sentences.
Several sentences of the same length can make for bland writing. To enliven paragraphs, write sentences of different lengths. This will also allow for effective emphasis.
2. Vary sentence openings.
If too many sentences start with the same word, especially "The," "It," "This," or "I," prose can grow tedious for readers, so changing opening words and phrases can be refreshing. Below are alternative openings for a fairly standard sentence. Notice that different beginnings can alter not only the structure but also the emphasis of the sentence. They may also require rephrasing in sentences before or after this one, meaning that one change could lead to an abundance of sentence variety.
- Coincidentally, David and I ended up sitting right next to each other at the Super Bowl.
- In an amazing coincidence, David and I ended up sitting next to each other at the Super Bowl.
- Sitting next to David at the Super Bowl was a tremendous coincidence.
- But the biggest coincidence that day happened when David and I ended up sitting next to each other at the Super Bowl.
- When I sat down at the Super Bowl, I realized that, by sheer coincidence, I was directly next to David.
- By sheer coincidence, I ended up sitting directly next to David at the Super Bowl.