Behind "The Process": Vary Your Sentences (blah-blah-blah…)

Vary your sentences. Writing teachers say it a lot, but without some explanation, the advice can fall flat, so…

What do they mean, “Vary your sentences”?

Well, there are lots of different ways to construct sentences, right? Whether or not you have a love affair with grammar and know all the terms and all that stuff, everyone can recognize the four basic sentence types when we see and use them:

  1. Declarative.
    • “This is good guacamole.”
  2. Imperative.
    • “Try the guacamole.”
  3. Interrogative.
    • “Have you tried the guacamole?”
  4. Exclamatory.
    • “Holy guacamole!”

And, yes–I really like guacamole.

There’s a way to remember all the types of sentences that I can show you. You should use it. Want to know what it is? Alright!

See what I did there? I used each type of sentence back-to-back-to-back-to-back. That’s not the trick though, more a demonstration of using each type in a paragraph to show how a variety of sentence types moves nicer than one of all the same type. Like this sorry sucker:

There’s a way to remember all the types of sentences that I can show you. Then you could use it. I’ll tell you if you want to know. I’m excited to share.

OK, enough goofin around. (And yes, know-it-all, I left the G off goofing on purpose, and I didn’t use an apostrophe because I don’t like the way it looks. So nah.

Alright, here it is:

DImInEx

Which, broken down, looks like this: D(eclaritive)Im(perative)In(terrogative)Ex(clamatory). Or, simply spelled: diminex.

Want a little more variation advice?

Well, you’re getting it.

When you look at sentence and it just doesn’t feel right, but you know you don’t want to take it out completely–try breaking it and rearranging it.

Example:

There’s something about the smell of oatmeal cookies that reminds me of childhood.

Could also look like this:

  • Oatmeal cookies–something about the smell reminds me of childhood.
  • The smell of oatmeal cookies. Something about the smell of oatmeal cookies. Reminds me of childhood.
  • Is it just me, or is there something about the smell of oatmeal cookies that reminds you of childhood?
  • Oatmeal cookies! Something about the smell reminds me of childhood.

I could keep going, but I’m too hungry now. And I don’t even like oatmeal cookies.

So remember…

Make sure you use all the different types of sentences, and explore the all possibilities your sentences have to offer. After awhile, you’ll start to see your own style and “voice” emerge.

And remember–if it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong.

So have fun with it.

Thanks for reading!

-CT

Later!

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