Often in writing we’re told to write short sentences. The idea is good, but short, choppy sentence structure is not always the best way to convey an idea to the reader. The rhythm of short sentences can be tiresome to the reader and it can obscure the relation between ideas. We want our words to flow naturally so the reader isn’t distracted. Reading should flow with a good rhythm just like music.
Varying the length and structure of your sentences will be more appealing to the reader. Just as a certain clothing style is flattering on some people, the sentence structure you use for writing can flatter the writing and make your article or story more pleasing.
In the outline process it’s okay to use short sentences, these can give you solid ideas of how to form your writing. Once you begin the actual writing process you need to use sentence structure that flows. You can use coordinating conjunctions to combine two sentences into one, as long as they carry the same idea or enhance each other. Coordinating conjunctions include ( and, but, for, or, nor, yet, so). I must advise caution here though because you do not want every sentence in a paragraph to be combined with coordinating conjunctions. That would be boring and make you look bad as a writer.
Examples of combining short, choppy sentences:
1. Larry beat Ken in the mile race. Ken was Larry’s best friend. Ken was also Larry’s chief rival in track. Larry felt proud of his victory. He also felt sorry about Ken’s defeat.
As you can see, these sentences are good for an outline to form your ideas and help establish the mental relationship between Larry and Ken. Using this sentence structure in your final work would be annoying to the reader and make it difficult for the reader to establish the relationship between the two boys.
If we combine those sentences we can get a clearer idea of their relationship.
2. After Larry beat Ken in the mile race, he felt proud of his victory but sorry about the defeat of his best friend and chief rival in track.
Another example of how we can combine sentences:
1. John is a lawyer. He wins most of his cases. John is having a difficult time with a custody case.
2. John, a lawyer who wins most of his cases, is having a difficult time with a custody case.
Earlier I mentioned combining sentences with coordinating conjunctions. Let’s look at some examples of coordinating with conjunctions:
*In many fiction novels, politicians grow too powerful. They try to take over the world.
**In many fiction novels, politicians grow too powerful and try to take over the world.
It’s good to write your ideas in short sentence form to help you, as the writer, make relations between ideas, but for the reader we need to bridge those gaps to make it easier for them to read.
Writing well and using good sentence structure is one area that all writers stumble with, even veteran writers have to keep the structure of their sentences in check.
If you practice combining sentences it will smooth out your writing so that it flows more naturally for the reader. Read your material out loud to determine if it sounds natural.