Varying Sentences for Rhythm and Effect in Your Business Writing

Many writers tend to get into trouble when they rely on one type of sentence structure and length in their correspondence. This can result in a repetitive, “machine-gun” effect, such as the following example.

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. A five word sentence is fine. But several together become monotonous. You can see the problem.”


“This sentence has five words, except for the clause. I like to use these sentences, particularly in business writing. I find these are effective, but only when used properly. I use this structure frequently, which explains my writing effectiveness.”

This problem, which often can be seen in sentences of similar length or repetitive clause structures, should be addressed in specific ways. The first is to vary sentence length. Review your first draft to see if the sentences follow a similar or identical pattern. If so, alter your length for improve rhythm.

For example, here is a paragraph that varies sentence length:

“I use short sentences. Sometimes, I use sentences of medium length to get my point across. And when I think the reader is rested, I engage him with a sentence of considerable length – one that radiates energy and builds with the clash of cymbals, the roll of drums and the blast of horns.”

Another technique is to combine sentences to emphasize one part of the information and de-emphasize the other. This creates the subordinated type of sentence described above.

Example: “This sentence has five words, which is perfectly fine. But business writing can become monotonous and problematic if you follow the same structure. It is a wise idea to review your sentences and paragraphs after the first draft – this will help your reader and make you a more confident writer.

Yet another technique is to alter the clause structures. For example:

“This sentence has five words, except for the clause. I find these sentences are effective and useful in business writing. My writing effectiveness is largely due to these types of structures, which are well crafted and carefully prepared.”

Here are some tips for structuring sentences.

  • Worry about structure, but only after the first draft. Don’t try to write freely and vary sentence structures at the same sitting. The “structure” part should be the job of the ruthless editor.
  • Place your main points in main clauses and supporting points in subordinating clauses. This should evolve from your outline – identify your main points and ensure they are suitably emphasized in your sentence structures.
  • Keep parallel points and details in parallel form.
  • Mix the length and types of sentences you write.

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