They suck the energy out of your copy
There’s nothing like noun phrases to make a tight sentence long, to transform clear, conversational language into stuffy bureaucratese:
“It is the intention of this team to facilitate the improvement of our company’s processes.”
Yet too many communicators turn energetic verbs into anemic nouns.
Why avoid noun phrases?
Noun phrases occur when writers transform verbs into nouns with latinized suffixes. Noun phrases:
1. Suck the energy out of your copy.
Noun phrases take perfectly strong verbs — verbs like “intend” and “improve” — and turn them into long, latinized nouns: “intention” and “improvement.” As a result, noun phrases suck the energy from a sentence, because only verbs can convey action.
That’s a problem, because the human brain thinks in action, not in things or ideas. Or so says Jon Franklin, author of Writing for Story and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for feature stories:
“We habitually think of the brain, ours and the reader’s, as being the organ of thought and emotion. But when neuroanatomists examine its wiring, it turns out that it’s at least 95% or more devoted to movement. Human thoughts, all but the tiny minority of philosophical thoughts, are centered on action.”
So how do you transform noun phrases back into vibrant verbs?
How long should your message be?
Would your message be twice as good if it were half as long?
Yes, the research says. The shorter your message, the more likely readers are to read it, understand it and make good decisions based on it.
Find out at Rev Up Readability — our tight-writing workshop, which starts Nov. 14.
There, you’ll use a cool (free!) tool to analyze your message for 27 readability metrics. You’ll leave with quantifiable targets, tips and techniques for measurably boosting readability.
Save up to $100 with our group discounts.