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Short sentences: why I love them

by on 27 Aug, 2011

Too many people fear the short sentence.

In far too many cases sentences are pretty much the same length and that length is too long. And people think that’s the way it is supposed to be. Maybe that’s because teachers the world over still equate the long sentence with high IQ. Well they’re wrong.

So here is a paean to the short sentence. It packs a punch. It balances out all those long sentences that you can’t stop yourself from writing. It keeps your reader reading. Used skillfully, it can turn up the impact of what you are trying to say.

Like in this paragraph from columnist Charlie Brooker:

Why the obsession with trainers? Trainers are shit. You stick them on your feet and walk around for a while ’til they go out of fashion. Whoopie doo. Yes, I know they’re also status symbols, but anyone who tries to impress others with their shoe choice is a dismally pathetic character indeed – and anyone genuinely impressed by said footwear has all the soaring spirit of a punnet of moss. There’s no life to be found in “look at my shoes”. There just isn’t.

See? Four sentences of 5 words or under. A couple that run to just over 10 words and one whopper. And all but one is a grammatical sentence. Put them all together and you’ve got a strong paragraph.

Short sentences: use them!

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