the writer




Secret Tricks For Making Your Writing Sound More Compelling
By: Linda Correli

The whole point of writing is to create something a great deal better than we “really” talk – a great deal more interesting, more thoughtful, and more effective in every way – but to make it sound as natural and effortless as talk. What can help us? Only one thing – the rhythm of speech. This is the one thing we can borrow from it, the one thing we must borrow if our written words are ever to achieve an air of naturalness.

All spoken language, no matter who the speaker may be or what his subject is, has a natural rhythm. We hear this rhythm, wherever we hear talk. Rhythm is the way how the writing sounds. “It is considered to be a delicate and subtle aspect of writing, which is felt deep inside, and is actually, quite tough to teach.” Michele Pariza Wacek

Rhythm is a powerful element in your writing, which helps you generate sound images, sight, and feelings for your reader.

NB! The first principle of rhythm in writing, to capture the basic rhythm of speech, is variation of sentence length.

The important thing to remember is that the length of sentences in all speech is always erratic, always changing. One can notice that in written language, quite on the contrary, every sentence has exactly the same length. And as frequently happens when does not vary, almost every sentence has the same monotonous structure. Nobody talks like that.

* Hence, it’s advisable to write with a talking rhythm varying the length of sentences to suit the material. Generally the short, choppy and sharp sentence gives emphasis; the long, involved sentence provides depth and color. Together with the medium-length sentence they give writing the tone and rhythm of speech.

A cultivated awareness of rhythm inevitably increases the reader’s pleasure, and heightening an emotional experience.

* Another requirement for good sentence rhythm is regularity in the larger design of the sentence. This is a most attractive and effective rhetorical device, known as the balanced or parallel constructions. The matching of phrase against phrase, clause against clause, lends an unmistakable eloquence to your writing.

Daniel Kies asserts in his article “Sentence Euphony” that good writing is euphonic, which is pleasing to the ear and affirms that “…establishing and maintaining effective rhythm in writing is a combination of using parallelism for balance and controlling sentence endings for emphasis.”

* One more significant requirement for rhythm is that it should be appropriate to the context; a passage of exciting and vivid nature demands a rapid rhythm, while a passage of quite imaginative beauty – a slow one. Readers come to associate certain rhythmic effects with certain intentions on the part of the writer or speaker.

Rhythm, in other words, has its connotative value. In this meaning connotation may be employed to affect emotions. Consider the following example:

“Who can say at what point the revelations come? A man falls in love….. or suddenly sees the growing character of his son….. or knows the quick pride of being needed, although no longer young. Each has his discoveries …. a series, making up the sharp core of life. From birth and being…..through youth, maturity, and lengthening years…each follows his own way, and hopes to find it good. We believe that this is as it should be… we believe, too, that this is as it should be… we believe, too, that we can help plan to make your way a little easier, whatever it may be.”

* The key to the effective writing is the carefully wrought sentences. Many of the devices of good writing are demonstrated in this passage; these are the balanced clauses, the repetition of sound to give the effect of alliteration or internal rhyme, as well as the selection of words weighted with a certain kind of connotation.

Here the dots are used as rhetorical method of suggesting continuation of thought and mood even after the actual words are spoken. The reader is expected to imagine more than the words themselves convey.

Reading this passage a person is put into a meditative frame of mind: he is asked to meditate, that is, on whether he has enough insurance. This passage appears to be an extract from a book of meditations, and only the last sentence identifies it as a commercial appeal.

In short, written sentences should have the sound of speech, and the means to the naturalness is through variety in sentence length, avoiding long sentences, using parallel and balanced constructions, and making your writing rhythm appropriate to the context.

About the Author:

Linda Correli is a staff writer of and an author of the popular online tutorial for students "What Teachers Want: Master the Art of Essay Writing in 10 Days", available at


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