How to Write a Sentence Effectively

How to write a sentence that reads with fluency may seem challenging. The words in a well written piece blend into the meaning, purpose and voice of a story effectively through a variety of different techniques.


Avoid the following sentence pitfalls

The shopping list

The author lists all attributes in a single sentence.

E.g. The old man was grey, thin, scruffy, dirty, grumpy and mean.

Repetitive Sentences

Do not start consecutive sentences in the same way as this leads to monotony.

E.g. He had short grey hair. He had a striped shirt. He had dark blue eyes. He had a black cap on his head. He had a wooden walking stick. He had a bushy beard.

It is important to recognise and understand these common sentence pitfalls and learn how to overcome them.

Strategies to improve sentence fluency

Vivid descriptions bring a story to life. When you are describing something important remember to give each detail a sentence of its own to help readers conjure up the pictures in their mind.  

Separate the shopping list by giving each adjective its own descriptive sentence.

    Example: The old man was grey, thin, scruffy, dirty, grumpy and mean.

    Revision: Prickly hair a sombre shade of grey covered the man’s pointed chin. His big blue eyes were cold and unwelcoming.A tattered black suit hung limply from  his thin frame matching his surly disposition perfectly.

    Change the subject.

    To keep your writing interesting, use sentence variety. This means that each sentence should start differently.  

      Replace repetitive pronouns with interesting alternatives.

        Example:  Replace he with the chap, man, fellow, giant, boy, gentleman etc.

        Use different subjects for sentence variety.

          Example:  Instead of He had short grey hair, say Cropped grey hair framed his face.          

            Begin sentences with –ing verbs instead of subjects.

            Example: Muttering to himself, he lifted his walking stick.


            Recommended Links

            How to write a gripping introduction.

            How to write an effective conclusion.

            Story Starter Graphic Organizers to print and use.

            Sensory sentence starters.

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