Cut the Crap! How to Write Short and Meaningful Sentences

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WHICH OF THESE TWO IS EASIER TO READ?


Donors help us serve our blind clients and, as a token our appreciation for your gift, when the holiday season arrives, get to attend our annual festival ball in December. 

OR


As a donor, you help us serve our blind clients. We appreciate your gift. And we invite you to attend our annual festival ball, held in December.

The latter one is short yet meaningful. Isn’t it?

Though both sentences are logically constructed, the latter completes the thought with fewer words. 

A 15-line sentence might stand for your academic excellence in print. But that’s not the right fit for webpages. 

Everyone has a short attention span when it comes to reading from the screen. Plus, most of them lack the patience to focus on every line. 

Long sentences can be confusing and tend to bore the reader. 

Being a web writer, make sure to create short and snappy sentences. 

But that doesn’t mean to skip or alter the information. The art is all about conveying the message with fewer words. 

Short and simple sentences reduce the risk of the reader getting distracted. Plus, they are more impactful than long sentences. 

Here are some tips to master the art of creating simple, short and snappier sentences. 

Information comes First:

Don’t let exaggerated details overshadow key information. Otherwise, your audience won’t get it “what this stuff is all about”? 

Top of that, the content page will look cluttered. 

Remember the golden rule: Keep the content to the point. 

Never Repeat the SAME Information:

The redundancy occurs when the same thing is said twice. For example—

Many uneducated citizens who have never attended school continue to vote for better schools.

IT COULD BE BETTER IF IT WAS LIKE THIS:

Many uneducated citizens continue to vote for better schools. 

TWO DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF SIMILAR PHRASES: 

• “12 Midnight” and “Midnight”

• “In The Field of Science” and “In Science”

• “We currently have vacant rooms” and “We have vacant rooms”

• “Come to the point as quickly as possible” and “Get to the point”

 

Choose the Word that can replace the whole sentence:

Less is more. 

Try to use the words for lengthy sentences. 

And these two sentences say it all…

“The woman who came to help deliver the child found out that the child had already died inside the womb.”

AND

“The midwife found that it was a miscarriage.”

The word midwife stands for “the woman who….the child” while the word miscarriage replaces “child had….the womb”.

One-word-substitution reduces over-explaining and keeps the content sharp and snappier. 

Pictures for Words:

A picture is worth a thousand words. 

It means that you can add graphics to explain your points. For example, an info-graphic explains better how a car engine works than writing a thousand-word essay. Or you can use some related pictures to support your text content. Video is also useful in this context. 

Use Passive Voice less as Possible:

Active Voice: Around 180 nations play football

Passive Voice: Football is played by around 180 nations. 

The sentence written in active voice is short yet clear than written in the passive voice. Active verbs are quick and descriptive. 

Here are some more examples—

• “She shouts at the waiter.” 
• “He is eating a banana.” 
• “The twister devastated Joplin.” 

Avoid: 

• “The waiter was shouted at by her.” 
• “A banana is being eaten by him.”
• “Joplin was devastated by the twister.” 

But This is Not the Hard and Fast Rule:

So you must have learned some basics to keep your content short and to the point. But that doesn’t mean you follow it like a ritual.

The tone content varies based on audience and platforms, requiring you to be flexible with the sentence structure. Use the long sentences if you assume that they can explain things better. Above all, keep your target audience in mind. For example, if you are writing for a research community or science journal/paper, creating long sentences can be acceptable. 

Keep in mind that sentences can be created long, but not complicated or confusing. 

In this scenario, don’t forget to break the text chunks into 3-4 paragraphs to ensure readability. 

The key point is here to work over the clarity and readability of your sentences. 

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