Answered By: James Whitmer
Last Updated: Jun 25, 2020     Views: 39

To make your writing interesting to read, it is important to have sentence variety, which refers to the process of continually changing the complexity and structures of your sentences as you write. The human brain quickly becomes bored with predictable and repetitive patterns, so if an essay's sentences all have the same repeated structure, they will sound robotic and dull. Therefore, to understand how to use sentence variety, one must understand a few important concepts:

  • Dependent and independent clauses: These are clauses (groups of words with a subject and verb) that respectively cannot or can stand on their own as a sentence. An independent clause that is on its own is referred to as a simple sentence. However, dependent and independent clauses can be joined in various ways, which is what creates sentence variety. Some of the methods for linking clauses can be seen below. For more information on clauses themselves, please see the links at the bottom of this FAQ.
    • Coordinating conjunctions (FANBOYS): For, and, nor, but, or, yet, and so are words that can join two independent clauses, so long as you put a comma in front of them. This method creates what is referred to as a compound sentence.
      • Example: I love movies, so I go to the theater often.
    • Subordinating conjunctions: These are words that turn independent clauses into dependent ones to join them to other independent clauses. Examples of some of the many subordinating conjunctions are which, that, although, because, if, since, when, where, and even though. This method creates what is referred to as a complex sentence.
      • Example: I go to the theater often because I love movies.
    • Semicolons: Unlike commas, semicolons can join two independent clauses on their own. However, the two sentences should be very closely related.
      • Example: I saw the latest movie; it was amazing.
    • Conjunctive adverbs: These are adverbs that can join independent clauses so long as you use them with a semicolon and a comma.
      • Example: I love movies; therefore, I go to the theater often.

As you write your essays, try switching between these various methods of linking ideas to increase your sentence variety. For more specific information on sentence variety, please see the following links: