Things such as words and paragraphs are considered to be one of the most important building blocks to any piece of writing.
But so are the sentences that use those words and make up those paragraphs!
If you’re just starting out on your writing journey, perhaps you’d like to know a bit more about how long those sentences should be, and what you should aim for. Can a sentence be too long? Too short?
How many words are there in a sentence, anyway?
These are the questions that we are going to answer for you today! We’re going to cover everything there is to know about sentences so that you know the general rules to stick to.
There is some freedom when it comes to creative writing and using sentences, but there are a couple of things you should bear in mind first.
So let’s take a look at everything there is to know about how many words there are in a sentence!
How Many Words Should Be In A Sentence?
First of all, there are no hard and fast rules as to how many words need to be in a sentence.
It’s your writing – your sentences can be as long or as short as you’d like them to be!
Sometimes using sentences of varying lengths is best, because this can give your writing more of an impact.
Particularly if you’re trying to get a certain point across to the reader, such as tension or intimacy.
However, there is a generally accepted rule that there should be around 15 to 20 words per sentence.
This is because anything that’s longer than around 30 words can become too wordy.
No reader wants to read a massive block of text that hasn’t got anywhere for them to take a breath!
Shorter sentences can also be used to create more of an impact, as we have already mentioned.
This can create tension. Space. Slow down the reader. Make them think.
Whereas longer sentences can come across as rather rambly, particularly if you tend to try and cram a whole bunch of ideas in there, without really stopping to think that maybe you’re going a bit too long here, and need to cut it down into smaller chunks.
So as you can see, even though 15 to 20 words is the recommended length for a sentence, you can use longer or shorter sentences if you want to.
It all comes down to what it is you’re writing, and what point you want to get across to the reader.
In general, shorter sentences that are around 15 to 20 words tend to be easier for your reader to digest.
Is 5 Words A Sentence?
Yes, 5 words can be a complete sentence!
This does tend to be on the shorter side, however, if used correctly, it can create quite a lot of impact in your piece of writing.
There’s nothing wrong with using shorter sentences like this, but you will want to avoid using this technique all the time.
If you only use short sentences. It can get a little repetitive. And can be boring. For your readers.
By using sentences of various lengths, this can create a piece of writing that is far more interesting.
It will give your writing peaks and troughs, and be arguably more engaging than using sentences that are of a similar length all the time.
It’s better to keep it short when you need to, use mid length sentences for the majority of the time, and use longer sentences when you need to.
Can A Sentence Have 40 Words?
Yes, a sentence can have 40 words. However, this is verging on the lengthier side of sentences, and can become a bit too wordy if used too often.
It may be worth thinking about using some additional punctuation in your sentence such as commas, dashes, or a semicolon to try and break it up a little bit.
This will make it easier for people to read, and won’t make it seem as chunky.
Remember that sentences can be as long or as short as you need them to be.
However, it will be best to include some variety in your writing rather than stick to one set length.
How Long Is A 100 Word Sentence?
Now that’s what we call a super long sentence!
If you’re wondering how much of the page a 100 word sentence would take up, it tends to be around the same space that between 5 to 7 sentences would use.
This is far too long, and you should look to cut this down or at least split it up into several smaller sentences.
This is because something like this 100 word long sentence will take up a lot of space on your page but will cover too many ideas, and really needs to be split down into several smaller chunks so that your writing can become more effective, otherwise it’s going to be a chunky sentence that just comes across as a block of text, and will be incredibly off putting for a reader – you can split it up with punctuation, but really, you should think about replacing some of this with full stops so that you can have much more succinct sentences.
So as you can see, the above 100 word sentence is far too wordy!
Not only is it very off putting for the reader, but it comes across as rambling because the sentence has more than one idea in it.
It would be better to either use full stops, or split up ideas with a semicolon; this makes writing much more effective.
What Is The Longest Sentence Ever Written?
The longest sentence that was ever recorded is from the novel Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.
This sentence has been recorded as 1,287 words in length, and is certainly a very wordy sentence.
It’s also worth noting that some of the older languages such as Greek and Sanskrit didn’t make use of punctuation, so tended to have very long sentences, too.
So there you have it! You now know that the average sentence tends to have anywhere between 15 to 20 words.
However, this isn’t a rule that you absolutely have to stick to in order to write.
You can include sentences that are as long or as short as you want or need them to be.
It can be a good way to make your piece of writing more interesting by including more variation.
Using shorter or longer sentences can also be a great way to create more impact with your piece.
However, you won’t want to rely on both of these too much.
If you were to use sentences that were the same length all the time, it would soon become boring for your reader.
It’s also a good idea to use punctuation such as commas, dashes, or semicolons to help pace your sentence better, and make it more interesting for the readers.
So in short, remember not to make your sentences too long, or too short!
And include some variety to make it more visually interesting.