What is Sentence Fluency? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What Is Sentence Fluency?
  • 1:29 Examples of Sentence Fluency
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Some sentences just sound better together. In this lesson, you'll learn more about how to structure your thoughts for better sentence fluency. We'll also take a look at some examples, both good and bad, in implementing sentence fluency.

What Is Sentence Fluency?

Have you ever listened to a band or orchestra play a beautiful piece of music? The group of instruments might include flutes, clarinets, trumpets, violins, and saxophones. Each instrument is playing a different set of notes, but when all parts of the group are playing together, it projects a beautiful melody that's pleasing to the ear.

Writing is similar to the music played by that band or orchestra. All of the words, phrases and structure you use should work together to make a beautiful final product that is pleasing to the reader's eye.

Sentence fluency refers to the way individual words and phrases sound together within a sentence, and how groups of sentences sound when read one after the other.

In order for a reader to understand the idea you're trying to express in your writing, a sentence must flow smoothly from the first letter to the final period or exclamation mark.

Sentence fluency relies on the writer's ability to use a variety of sentence lengths and structures as well as sentence beginnings woven together to tell a seamless story. Using repetitive sounds, words, and phrases to create patterns when read aloud or silently can change an average group of sentences into a really great group of sentences. By using sentences of different lengths, with different beginnings, you create interest and a rhythm in what you're writing.

Excellent sentence fluency can make your writing sound more solid and cohesive, and lets the reader easily understand what you're saying.

Examples of Sentence Fluency

With some basic guidelines to follow for sentence fluency, we can create beautiful phrases. Remember the following rules:

  • Use simple and more complex phrases
  • Start each sentence differently
  • Use transitions to join ideas

With those rules in mind, let's look at a few examples of sentence fluency:

In our first example, we have the following:

'Elizabeth hadn't eaten breakfast and was ready for a snack by 10 A.M. Hungrily, she wolfed down the sandwich and milk, hoping it would tide her over until lunchtime. She was ready to go outside to play.'

This example works well because it follows our rules. It uses a simple sentence, then a more complex one and finishes with a short sentence. Each sentence starts differently using 'Elizabeth,' the adverb 'hungrily,' and the word 'she.' And, we see a transition with the word 'hungrily' in the second sentence.

Now, let's look at a way to write this sentence that uses less fluency. You might write it this way:

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