Pleading for shorter sentences
Reach the period sooner
The story goes that when future columnist James J. Kilpatrick was a young newspaper reporter, he wrote lots of deadly long sentences. Finally, in frustration, the city editor gave Kilpatrick a piece of paper covered with dots.
“These interesting objects, which apparently you have never encountered before, are known as periods,” the editor said. “You would do well to use them.”
We’d all do well to use more periods. As William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, writes:
“There’s not much to be said about the period, except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough.”
Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer agrees. He writes:
“No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put at just the right place.”
So how can you get to the period faster? …
It’s one of the top 2 ways to increase readability
More than 120 years of readability research shows, over and over again, that sentence length is one of the top two components of reading ease.
So how short should your sentences be?
At Cut Through the Clutter — a two-day tight-writing Master Class on May 11-12 in Chicago — you’ll learn “the numbers” you need to measurably improve your copy’s readability. And you’ll get the research you need to sell managers and approvers on these targets.
Specifically, you’ll discover:
- How long is too long for your paragraphs, sentences and words
- Three ways to shorten your copy — and which is the best way
- How to use a cool (free!) tool to quantifiably improve your copy’s readability (We’ve seen readability rise by as much as 1,246% in one hour during these classes.)
This is the only Cut Through the Clutter Master Class we’ve scheduled for this year and our only Chicago workshop. Don’t miss your only chance in 2016 to learn to make everything you write easier to read and understand. Register now.
Learn to Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more