Site icon Douglas W.T. Smith

How To Avoid Sticky Sentences

What’s a sticky sentence? It’s a sentence that contains over 45% glue words. And what are glue words? They’re the 200+ most common words in the English language. They include, but are not limited to:

This is what a sentence with more than 45% glue words looks like.

This sentence contains 69% glue words that meander around its meaning. Here’s what a revision might look like.

Redrafted, the new sentence is only 42% glue words. And it’s much easier to read, wouldn’t you say? Unnecessary, fluffy wording is discarded for a much more succinct sentence.

Another example to consider:

 This sentence contains 64% glue words that add no substance. Consider how a redraft tightens it.

Redrafted, the new sentence is only 45% glue words. What do you think? Does it portray the same image more clearly?

Sticky sentences and your use of glue words are subjective. You determine whether your sentence is too sticky, not sticky enough, or just right. Statistics show published writing is generally made of a low average percentage of glue words.

If you have an editing tool that detects sticky sentences automatically, use it to check out all the instances where a sentence uses more than 60% glue words. Carefully reread each sentence and consider if it should be rewritten.

#DWTSmith #stickywords

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