For native and non-native speakers of English, good writing means…
For native and non-native speakers of English, good writing means good sentences. Good sentences are the building blocks of any good writing. Although perfection is a mirage, it doesn’t mean you should fill your writing with awkward sentences. This is why writers are always looking for ways to make a sentence better. Depending on your proficiency, there are several tips to follow. This article explains some of them.
How to Make a Sentence Better
Making a sentence better isn’t rocket science. You only need to know these simple tips and apply them to your writing.
1. Make Complete Sentences
Another way to reword this is that you should avoid sentence fragments. Sentence fragments are fragments of complete sentences. It is easy to confuse them for complete sentences because of their length.
However, they usually lack a verb or subject. Take a look at these examples of sentence fragments.
- Having seen the result.
- After the first lecture of the day.
These examples have multiple words but don’t make complete sense – they are sentence fragments.
When proofreading your content, always look out for sentence fragments and correct them.
2. Cut Out Redundant Words and Phrases
The hallmark of great sentences is brevity. Long sentences are hard to read. One of the best ways to make your sentence shorter and better is to avoid using redundant words.
Redundant words are words that add no additional meaning to your content. Such words take up space without pulling their semantic weight. Adverbs are major culprits. Look at these examples:
- I totally agree with you.
- You don’t actually believe me.
In sentences like the ones above, the meaning of the sentences remains the same without the italicized adverbs.
Other classes of words apart from adverbs can be redundant in sentences. For instance:
- Sam wrote a brief summary – summaries are always brief.
- Sam and Smith collaborated together on the project – collaboration connotes working together by default.
- AI is a new innovation – innovations are new by default.
- It was an unexpected surprise – it isn’t a surprise if it’s expected.
3. Write in the Active Voice
There’s no penalty for writing in the passive voice. In instances where the performer of an action is unknown, the use of passive voice is expected. However, you should avoid getting used to it.
Passive voice construction makes your sentences sound less assertive. Try to always write in the active voice. It helps people understand your content better.
4. Avoid Lengthy Sentences
Lengthy sentences will scare off your reader. Avoid it if you can. Better still, mix them up but make sure you have more short sentences.
Longer sentences often convey multiple ideas that leave readers struggling. It is better to convey your thoughts in a clear and concise manner. It is an important skill to master.
Automated Tools for Making Better Sentences
Learning the basics is a good place to start. Nevertheless, there are tools that do the hard work for you. These tools use AI and natural language processing (NLP) to come up with suggestions to make a sentence better.
NLP uses machine learning to make meaning of human language. With NLP, machines understand language structure and can easily make predictions and suggestions to make your idea better.
Do you think you’ve encountered a machine that uses NLP before? Probably yes. A common example of NLP in full flow is the autocomplete and autocorrect feature.
They improve the flow and the overall readability of your text. Some of these tools include:
If you want a tool to create content optimized for search engines, this is the perfect tool. Like Hemingway App, it alerts users when they use adverbs and passive tenses excessively. It also points out sentences that are too long and could affect readability.
Named after literary icon Ernest Hemingway, this tool applies the finishing touch to your writing. The tool scans your text for issues that affect readability, like passive voice, adverbs, and hard-to-read sentences.
Grammarly scans your document for punctuation and grammatical inconsistencies. It also spots redundancies and superfluous words in your sentences and suggestions to make them right.
Learning different ways of making better sentences is the first step to becoming a better writer.
The suggestions in this article are enough to improve your writing. You can take it a step higher by trying out the tools recommended. Either way, your written content is about to become much better.