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Certified English learning course – multiple lesson topics

Certified English learning course – multiple lesson topics

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Varying Sentence Structure

  • Overview

  • Precision, Clarity, and Academic Expression

    • Writing Concisely

    • Varying Sentence Structure

      • Basics

      • Varying Subject or Word Choice

      • Varying Sentence Length

      • Varying Sentence Type

      • Varying Sentence Structure Video Playlist

      • Related Resources

      • Webpage Feedback

  • Point of View

    • First-Person Point of View

    • Second-Person Point of View

  • Objectivity

  • Avoiding Bias

  • Active and Passive Voice

  • Word Choice (Diction)

    • Using Academic Diction

    • Commonly Confused Words

    • Verb Choice

    • Verbs That Introduce

  • Use of “It”

  • Tone

  • Audience

Basics

Sentence structure refers to the physical nature of a sentence and how the elements of that sentence are presented. Just like word choice, writers should strive to vary their sentence structure to create rhythmic prose and keep their reader interested. Sentences that require a variation often repeat subjects, lengths, or types.

Related information about varying sentence structures can be found through these links:

  • Sentence Structure and Types of Sentences

  • Run-On Sentences and Sentence Fragments

  • Parallel Construction

  • Relative, Restrictive, and Nonrestrictive Clauses

  • Conjunctions

  • Modifiers

  • Commas

  • Semicolons

Varying Subject or Word Choice

One of the easiest ways to spot text that requires variety is by noting how each sentence opens. Writers can often overuse the same word, like an author’s name, or a subject, like pronouns to refer to an author, when beginning sentences. This lack of subject variety can be distracting to a reader.

Review the following paragraph’s sentence variety:

My philosophy of education is derived from my personal experiences. I have been an educator for 4 years, and I have learned a lot from more experienced teachers in my district.

I also work mainly with students from a low socioeconomic background; my background was quite different. I will discuss how all of these elements, along with scholarly texts, have impacted my educational philosophy.

Notice how the writer of this paragraph starts each sentence and clause with a personal pronoun. Although the writer does alternate between “I” and “my”, both pronouns refer to the same subject.

This repetition of personal pronouns is most common when writing a Personal Development Plan (PDP) or other personal papers.

To avoid this type of repetition, try adjusting the placement of prepositional phrases or dependent clauses so the subject does not open each sentence:

My philosophy of education is derived from my personal experiences.

Having been an educator for 4 years, I have learned a lot from more experienced teachers in my district. I also work mainly with students from a low socioeconomic background that is quite different from mine. In this paper, I will discuss how all of these elements, along with scholarly texts, have impacted my educational philosophy.

Varying Sentence Length

Another way to spot needed sentence variety is through the length of each sentence.

Repeating longer sentences can inundate a reader and overshadow arguments, while frequently relying on shorter sentences can make an argument feel rushed or stunted.

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