A Little Writing Analysis

Today I remind my students to analyze their papers to determine how much variation they use. Do they always repeat the same verbs? Is each sentence the same length? Do they vary punctuation?

Without this kind of analysis, student revert to the default states of simple sentences and weak verbs. There’s no flair! There’s no pizzazz! There’s no voice.  

It happens. This will happen without vigilance.

Once, a student turned in a paper, and every other sentence used the verbs seems or exist. I wanted to cry. Plus, every sentence was the same length and started with a subject and verb, over and over again, with not one bit of rhythm.

I was that student once. I wrote a paper that used my favorite new vocabulary words 15 times. Yes, juxtapose and simultaneous littered that paper. And each long, convoluted sentence boasted the same number of words, over and over again, with no break for the reader. I had to learn new patterns and new words.

Several text analysis websites (like Analyze My Writing) showcase for you, in visual form, what your sentence patterns look like.

I recognize that, without stepping back and analyzing patterns, we fall into the default states of monotony, confusion, and boredom. We take a moment to analyze, and we now reinvigorate writing (and life) with new patterns, new verbs, new flair.

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