Sentence Variety Video Lecture

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One way to change the beginning of a sentence is to add an adverb. So if you start a sentence with an adverb, that's a way to create variety. But before you turn in your essay, when you're doing your revising and editing, it is important to think about sentence variety.

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This lesson is about sentence variety. Sentence variety means using different kinds of sentences. The first way we can do this is by the type of sentence. English has four types of sentence. We have a simple sentence which has a subject and a verb. The grass grows in spring, has one subject, the grass. And the verb, grows. Now, we can have compound subjects and compound verbs. And those are still simple sentences. Even if I have two things here. The grass and the trees grow in spring. Is still a simple sentence because it’s just a compound subject, the grass and the trees. The second type of sentence is a compound sentence, and a compound sentence joins two simple sentences together. Grass grows in spring but it dies in winter. It dies in winter is a simple sentence, and grass grows in spring is a simple sentence. And we joined those with a connector called a conjunction, but is a conjunction. You might have heard of fanboys, fanboys are conjunctions. We can talk about those in the forum if you don’t know what that is. The third type of sentence is complex. Complex sentences have at least one independent clause or one simple sentence. And at least one dependent clause. A dependent clause is not a simple sentence. So look at the independent clause first. Grass doesn’t grow in winter, has a subject and a verb. Just like our simple sentence up here. But the dependent clause starts with the connector, because, and when we have this connector this can not be a sentence by itself. I can not say say, because it is too cold. That’s not a complete sentence. A dependent clause needs to have an independent clause attached to it. So if my dependent clause comes before the independent clause, we put a comma here. But I can also put the dependent clause after the independent clause, and you know we don’t use a comma that way. The fourth type of sentence is compound-complex. Compound-complex means that it is both compound, that means it has two independent clauses and it’s complex, so it also has a dependent clause. In this sentence, we start with the dependent clause. And then we have two independent clauses. So right there, we have four different kinds of sentences. You need to mix these types in your writing. Another way to create sentence variety is the way we start our sentences. One way to change the beginning of a sentence is to add an adverb. Remember, adverbs often end with L Y. So those L Y words. But we have other adverbs like, every day, is an adverb that doesn’t end in L Y. So if you start a sentence with an adverb, that’s a way to create variety. You can also start your sentence with prepositional phrases. Like, In the morning, Due to stress, or After work. Starting your sentence with a prepositional phrase can help your variety. And also, starting with other transitions. And you’ve probably learned most of these transitions before. So those are several ways that you can create sentence variety. Another way to create variety is by the length of your sentence. If we use too many short sentences, we get a bad style. We call that choppy. We don’t wanna have a choppy style. So too many short sentences makes your style choppy, but short sentences can be used effectively if we mix them with medium and long sentences. So in your writing you want to try to have more medium, more long sentences but occasionally, if you throw in a short sentence after a long sentence that can create a nice style. Another thing that helps our variety is using synonyms. Remember that we want to repeat key nouns, repeating key nouns helps your reader follow what you’re saying. But if we use too many times, that can get kind of boring, so we want to use synonyms also. So if I’m talking about an employee, I could use the synonym workers, or worker, or staff. You see this sentence here would have nice variety, I don’t keep repeating the word employee, employee, employee. You can also say things in different ways to avoid repeating too much. So I can say the employee or the worker, those are synonyms, but then I can just say it in a different way. The person working in an office. Who is the person working in an office? Well, it’s an employee or a worker. But by saying it in this different way I create some variety. So just to review good writing uses different sentence types, starts sentences differently. It uses different sentence lengths and uses synonyms effectively. If you remember those four things, you should be able to create a better writing style. So whenever you write an essay, remember to follow these steps. You pick your topic, you do some pre-writing, then you write a thesis statement. You make an outline and you begin writing. Now, in any of these steps have you thought about sentence variety? No, you don’t think about sentence variety at these points. Only in the last step when you revise and edit. That’s where you need to think about sentence variety. When you’re beginning to write don’t worry about these things, just write naturally. Don’t think too much about your grammar or the sentence types. But before you turn in your essay, when you’re doing your revising and editing, it is important to think about sentence variety.

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