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.”

Pleading for shorter sentences

Get to the period faster When it comes to sentences, shorter is better.
Image by David J

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? …

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“Writing long sentences is like adding water to tea; the more words, the weaker the message.”
— Dianna Booher, author and writing expert

Streamline sentences

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.

Streamline sentences

Add a word, reduce comprehension The longer your sentence, the less your reader will understand, according to an American Press Institute study. Image by Geoffrey Fairchild

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.

Register now

“Other writing coaches tell you what to do. Ann shows you how.”
— Roberta Laughlin, vice president, Mutual Funds Marketing, Northern Trust

Polish your skills at our 2016 Master Classes

Learn to Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for tight writing workshop in Chicago on May 11-12
Register for writing workshop in San Diego on June 28-29

Register for PR writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28
Register for Online writing workshop in New York on Sept. 28-29

Register for writing workshop in Houston on Nov. 2-3
Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?
Contact Ann directly.

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Chicago: May 11-12
  • Houston: Nov. 2-3
  • New Orleans: June 6-8
  • New York: Sept. 28-29
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: May 3-4
  • San Diego: June 28-29

Keep up with my calendar.