Many writers struggle to write sentences of appropriate length. Some writers write short sentences, which can make an essay seem choppy.
Other writers tend to write long sentences, which can make the writing seem long-winded or wordy, even if it isn’t.
Good writing contains sentences of a variety of lengths: some short, some long, some medium. This page provides some suggestions for intentionally changing sentence length.
The easiest way to make sentences longer is by using conjunctions, the most common of which are coordinating conjunctions. (More on coordinating conjunctions) Conjunctions can be used to connect independent clauses, dependent clauses, and/or other phrases together.
Using them correctly is an easy way to combine two or three shorter sentences into one longer one. Let’s look at the following example:
Too many short sentences can hurt an essay.
It can make the writing seem choppy. The writing may seem like it is below college level. Readers may lose interest. They may not want to continue reading.
Notice how the writing in this example seems choppy and doesn’t flow well.
Now, look at how this writing can be improved by joining some of these sentences together with coordinating conjunctions:
Too many short sentences can hurt an essay, for it can make the writing seem choppy and seem like it is below college level. Because of this, readers may lose interest and may not want to continue reading.
The easiest way to fix a passage containing too many long sentences is to break some of the sentences up to create multiple sentences. Let’s look at the following example.
Long sentences are also problematic in writing because, even if they are punctuated properly, they can be hard to read since readers often want a pause, and writers need to be aware of this and consider the effect that any writing has on the reader.
Writing that contains long sentences can seem wordy, even if this isn’t the case, for the information in long sentences, like in short ones, can be hard to understand and connect.