What is Fluent Writing? Top 3 Tips

Developing the writing skills that allow you to do fluent writing can take time. Here are helpful tips in this article.

Fluent writing means writing with speed and accuracy. Writing fluency has several aspects, including developing a good rhythm, creating proper sentence structure, understanding syntax, using proper word choice, and more. Developing writing fluency happens over time.

There are many options to improve writing fluency, including taking writing classes, reading pieces of writing that are similar to the work you’re trying to create, and taking the time to read your work aloud to hear how your workflows. If you’re struggling with writing fluency, we’ve good news: practice makes perfect (or close to it). English language learners, people who are learning English as a second language, professional writers, bloggers–anyone working to improve their writing skills, gets better over time.

Here, we’ll look at precisely what it means to write fluently and the different facets of fluent writing to focus on when you’re going through the writing process, creating your best work.

What is Fluent Writing?

It can be tough to define fluent writing, but like many things in life, you know it when you read it. Fluent writing is writing that flows easily from one idea to the next and utilizes proper capitalization, grammar, syntax, sentence structure, and word choice.

When you read a fluent piece of writing, you’ll likely notice that the writing sounds conversational when read aloud and that you’re not stopped by odd phrasing or poor word choices. Yet, the first draft of a written work is often not as fluent as it could be. As a result, writers, from grade students to professional authors, typically need to pay close attention to fluency, returning to their work to improve their syntax, grammar, and word choices to make their work better than the first time around.

Fluent Writing: The Details

Now, we’ll check out the nitty-gritty of fluent writing. It’s normal to be better in some regions of fluent writing than others, and it’s ok that some fluent writing skills will take time for you to develop.

1. Capitalization

Using proper capitalization is an easy way to increase your writing fluency. The start of each sentence needs to be capitalized, of course, but you’ll also want to pay attention to the more nuanced rules of capitalization.

You’ll also want to capitalize proper nouns, as well as any word that’s used in place of a name. For example, in the sentence, “The little boy was excited to see Grandma,” the noun Grandma is capitalized because it’s used in place of a name. However, in the sentence, “The little boy was excited to see his grandma,” the noun grandma is not capitalized as it’s not used in place of a name.

When you’re unsure whether a word needs to be capitalized, take a moment to do your research. When you follow capitalization rules, your reader can flow through your work easily instead of pausing when something looks unnatural due to a capitalization mistake.

2. Grammar

English grammar is complicated and can take time to understand fully. Using proper grammar rules (including apostrophes, parentheses, subject-verb agreement, and more) increases the fluency of your writing. Reading your writing aloud is one of the best ways to decide whether your grammar is on the right track. An important tip when figuring out whether your grammar is correct: if a sentence sounds wrong, it probably is. When you write a sentence that feels unnatural to say out loud, take some time to figure out whether you’ve written a grammatical error.

3. Syntax and Sentence Structure

A more advanced aspect of writing fluency, syntax refers to the way words are arranged in a sentence.

English syntax generally follows four rules:

  • Separate ideas require separate sentences
  • Complete sentences must have both a subject and a verb
  • Sentences should follow a subject-verb-object sequence
  • Dependent clauses should contain a subject and verb

4. Word Choice

There’s no right or wrong in word choice, but there are ways to make your work more accessible for your readers to comprehend. For example, using descriptive language is a great way to paint a picture for your readers. Still, you don’t want to get so complicated that they constantly have to stop and look up definitions to figure out what you’re trying to convey.

If you find yourself using words outside your reader’s standard range, ask yourself why this word choice? Is the word you’re using necessary to convey the idea, or are you trying to show your reader your vast vocabulary? Use the more straightforward option if a simpler word would work without sacrificing your story or narrative. Your readers will thank you.

5. Flow and Rhythm

The most nebulous factors contributing to fluent writing, flow, and rhythm can be tough to accomplish. Generally, writing should transition easily from one idea to the next without unnecessary jargon filling up the space.

In many cases, writers should strive to convey their ideas to their readers as simply as possible. Excessively long sentences and complicated vocabulary that doesn’t serve a purpose can make passages tough to read.

Flow and rhythm can be a matter of personal opinion and style, and it can be helpful to get more than one opinion when deciding whether your work flows properly. If the consensus is that your work is tough to get through, it’s time to simplify. On the other hand, if readers say that they’d like to get more vivid descriptions, it may be time to complicate your writing. Like all parts of writing, flow and rhythm develop over time.

As you continue to write, you’ll develop the correct flow and rhythm for you and your readers. It can be fun to look back at your earlier writings to see how your flow and rhythm have changed over time.

Fluent Writing Tips

Knowing where to start when you’re working on becoming a fluent writer can be challenging. However, focusing on one aspect of fluent writing for a few weeks can be a smart way to boost your writing fluency.

1. Ask For Help With Proofreading

While getting criticism on your work can be challenging, doing so can be invaluable when you want to improve your writing fluency. Ask others to look at your work and provide honest feedback on how easy it is to read it and how well you transition from one idea to another.

2. Read Your Work Out Loud

Fluent Writing Tips: Read your work out loud
Hearing your work can help you find places with awkward phrasing or poor sentence structure

As previously mentioned, take the time to read your work out loud at multiple phases throughout the writing process. Hearing your work can help you find places with awkward phrasing or poor sentence structure that can be tough to identify when you’re just looking at words on a page.

3. Simplify When You Can

Many writers are familiar with the term “kill your darlings, “ referring to the pain that a writer feels when they have to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases to improve their writing fluency. While a phrase may be fun or exciting to you, if it distracts from your idea or makes your work challenging for your reader to get through, it’s got to go–and that’s ok.

If you still need help, our guide to grammar and syntax explains more.

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  • Amanda has an M.S.Ed degree from the University of Pennsylvania in School and Mental Health Counseling and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer. She has experience writing magazine articles, newspaper articles, SEO-friendly web copy, and blog posts.