How to Vary Words and Phrases in Sentences

Elementary Writing (K-6th) Tutorial

How to Vary Words and Phrases in Sentences

Intro

Do you find yourself using the same words over and over when you write on one topic?
Does it frustrate you when your teacher adds a comment like “use a variety of words”?
There IS help for this. It’s really because…

When we write we often write like we talk. The problem with this is that we usually repeat the same words or phrases frequently. Repeated wording causes our writing to become boring and our sentences sound alike. Here’s help with easy steps to avoid repetition.

Sample Problem

Suppose your teacher asked you to write three sentences on the topic: swimming.
Then, let’s imagine you wrote these three sentences:
1. I think swimming is fun.
2. I think that swimming pools are fun.
3. I like swimming because it’s a fun thing to do.

This happens often when it’s hard to think of what to say or what else to say after the first sentence. Sometimes we even just feel blank so that we can’t come up with anything exciting to write.
So how can you turn these three boring sentences into three interesting ones?

Solution

Step 1: Take a colored highlighter and highlight the same word with the same color (in all three sentences).
(hint: “swimming”)
1. I think swimming is fun.
2. I think that swimming pools are fun.
3. I like swimming because it’s fun.
Use another color and highlight another word that is repeated.
(hint: “fun”)
1. I think swimming is fun.
2. I think that swimming pools are fun.
3. I like swimming because it’s fun.
Find another word that is repeated and do the same.
(hint: “I”)
1. I think swimming is fun.
2. I think that swimming pools are fun.
3. I like swimming because it’s fun.

Step 2: For each repeated word, keep only one in the three sentences, and cross out the other two.
1. I think swimming is fun.
2. I think that swimming pools are fun.
3. I like swimming because it’s fun.

Step 3: Replace the missing words with synonyms (words or phrases that mean the same) or new words.
1. I think swimming is enjoyable.
2. For me, water exercising, is even fun.
3. When my friends and I are in a pool together, we laugh and have a great time.

Step 4: Add some words to explain more about what you mean. You may need to take out a word or more to make the sentence clear and interesting.
1. If I’m thinking about going swimming, I get excited and have nothing but good, thoughts.
2. For me, kicking and moving my arms in water is the best exercise to make my body feel its in shape.
3. When my friends and I are at the neighborhood pool together, we play games and laugh so hard other people laugh with us.

Step 5: Read your sentences to yourself aloud and make certain they are interesting, make sense, and don’t have repeated words. If you find an error, fix it. Then, be proud of your writing!



About The Author

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During over 20 years of experience as an individual instructor/tutor I have logged over 7,000 tutoring lessons, meaning over 120,000 hours of teaching. My students have ranged in ages from preschool through senior adults, from 11 different countries, and speaking up to 5 languages per household. ...
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