Good academic writing should flow, which means it should be easy to read with ideas logically connected to one another. Adding flow to your writing will reduce the likelihood of confusion. To create flow in your assignments, use the following rules.

  1. Sentence Variety

    Create variety in your sentences by (1) varying the types of sentences you use, (2) varying the sentence length, and (3) varying the way a sentence begins.

    Examples

    • When he went to college, Vlade had good grades but was very unhappy.
    • Vlade went to college, where he earned good grades but was very unhappy.
    • Vlade went to college. His grades were good, but he was very unhappy.
  2. Parallelism

    Use parallel sentence construction. (Phrase similar ideas in similar ways.) To ensure parallelism, repeat articles and verb tenses with each item in a series.

    Examples

    • Speaking in public is sometimes harder than speaking on the phone.
    • Donna Jo was asked to write, to answer phones, and to attend meetings.
    • For his birthday, Harvey asked for a watch, a bicycle, and a tennis racquet.
  3. Tying Ideas Together

    Tie ideas together by using one or more of the following techniques:
    1. Use internal summaries to remind the reader of points you have already made.
      • Example: Thus, we have outlined four possible solutions to the problem.
    2. Use pronouns to refer to nouns mentioned previously. Make sure the reference is clear.
      • Example: The suggestion was very creative. It saved the company several thousand dollars.
    3. Repeat a key word or phrase.
      • Example: Several employees participated in the health fair. Of the events the company sponsors during the year, the health fair is one of the most important.
    4. Insert transitional words or phrases such as therefore, however, or consequently that connect one idea to another.
      • Example: I went to the store; however, I did not find the equipment I needed.