Center for Writers - Resources

SENTENCE VARIETY


To make passages more lively and interesting and to avoid monotony, it is often advisable to vary the manner in which sentences are arranged and constructed.  Often, this means altering the order in which the elements of a sentence are arranged.  Consider the following example:

        The deer grazed peacefully in the valley and were unaware of the approaching hunter.

Though this sentence is grammatically correct and everything is there that needs to be, if every sentence in the essay is of similar length and construction, said writing will become very dull very quickly and the writer risks alienating and losing the reader--a circumstance that the writer should strive to avoid whenever possible.

Possible alternatives to the aforementioned example are

        In the valley, deer grazed peacefully, unaware of the approaching hunter.
        Unaware of the approaching hunter, deer grazed peacefully in the valley.
        Grazing peacefully in the valley, the deer were unaware of the approaching hunter.
        But (And) the deer, grazing peacefully in the valley, were unaware of the approaching hunter.
        Peacefully grazing in the valley, the deer were unaware of the approaching hunter.

and

        There were deer peacefully grazing in the valley, unaware of the approaching hunter