31 Other Writing Strategies

Sentence Variation

An aspect of masterful writing is using purposeful, varied syntax (sentence structure).  Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the habit of always beginning a sentence or paragraph in the same way, but that can make for a repetitive piece of writing that ultimately bores your reader and weakens your rhetorical effectiveness. Especially during the revision stages, take a close look at the way you structure your sentences. Do you have sentences of varying lengths? Do you see sentences with similar beginnings? With similar endings? Do you see the same phrase repeated? Have you been purposeful in incorporating a variety of lengths and structures, or do you tend to rely on the same approach throughout the assignment? If so, you may need to revise your paper to vary your syntax.
For example, do you write many short sentences? If so, combine them.
Many short sentences:
I enjoy sports. I enjoy playing them with my friends. I watch many sports with my friends. Football is my favorite sport. The Denver Broncos are my favorite team.
Some possible combinations:
I enjoy both playing and watching them with my friends. Football is my favorite sport, and the Denver Broncos are my favorite team.
If many of your sentences are longer, a short sentence can provide emphasis for important points.
When students graduate college with large student loan debt, they struggle to succeed. For example, they may be required to work several jobs, which interferes with their family life. Or they may need to begin working quickly, and this may limit their options. However, the biggest problem is that the new graduates with high loan debt must spend much of their income repaying the loans and are unable to contribute significantly to the economy. We must lower college tuition.
These are just a few examples to consider. Remember, there are many different methods for adding variety to your syntax. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask your instructor. Additionally, the following link provides numerous examples of varied syntax:

Reflection

To reflect means to give serious thought or consideration. When we are thinking about our writing process, this means that we want to consider what we have done well, what we could do better, and how we have met the objectives of the assignment and course. In doing this, we want to go through our papers and use examples from them to support the claims that we are making about how we have done in the course.
To complete a reflection assignment, try to consider the following:
Read the objectives on your syllabus. Then, reread the assignment and your submission. In a separate document, address some of your observations about your writing and your general knowledge.
Reflect on each writing project and what you will take away from the specific project into your next English composition class. You can also present (in depth) one specific paper, with supporting evidence.
  • You can also consider:
  • time management
  • organization
  • research skills
  • source usage
  • argument
  • analysis
  • citations

License

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Writing and Rhetoric by Heather Hopkins Bowers, Anthony Ruggiero, and Jason Saphara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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