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Recent interest in the use of near‐monosize powders for ceramic processing has provoked questions concerning the dependence of the processing on the particle size distribution. One such factor is the sintering rate of the compact produced from a powder with a narrow particle size distribution. This issue is addressed theoretically by considering a log‐normal particle size distribution which is characterized by a mean particle size and a width parameter. The sintering rates derived for model systems are examined for both the initial and intermediate stages, and these rates are found to be a strong function of the distribution width parameter. The sintering ability of a compact decreases with a broader particle size distribution and this effect becomes dramatic in the intermediate stage when grain growth is considered.