How To Write Short Sentences

Short sentences contain nouns, verbs and objects as well as descriptive adjectives.  They can be as short as three words.  In professional writing, short sentences punctuate a thought or idea contained in a paragraph or overall subject matter.  Short sentences may also be emblematic of the theme of the article or story. It's important not to overdo the use of short sentences. Too many short sentences make reading difficult and sound juvenile.  Children's books written for pre-school to early elementary school levels are a perfect example of this.  A well-written short sentence acts as an enhancement to the core ideas in the written text.

Short Sentences Mechanism. Write short sentences for catalogues and advertisements or where space is limited.  The writer can also write short sentences for copywriting controls when they are paid per word.  In fact, commercial writers subconsciously write short sentences with an awareness of the cost of each word used. In these cases, words tusked in short sentences must have greater descriptive impact in order to have maximum value.  Try to write a short sentence to describe a particular person using the least number of words.  Predetermine the word value.  Note how the value of each word in a short sentence becomes suspect in terms of how powerful the statement, thought or idea is.  This is one of the best examples of the mechanism for short sentence use.

How Short is Too Short? The number of words in a short sentence should be determined solely by the intent of the writer.  In his book, "For Whom The Bell Tolls," author Ernest Hemingway employs many long, "run-on" sentences to get his point across.  Yet, he also injects several well placed short sentences to emphasize his longer sentences.  How short a sentence should be is determined by several things:

  1. The idea the writer is trying to convey
  2. The style of the writing and its purpose
  3. The environment or genre for which it is written

Short and to the Point. For technical operations and maintenance manuals, for example, brevity may be supplanted by descriptive details.  Whereas, in newspaper, online and magazine ads, the word count in a sentence will determine the cost of advertising.  Writing for online blogs or websites generally assumes a need for short sentences in order to maintain good web style and to suit readership.  Avoid using indistinct words or phrases and always write short sentences with the reader in mind.


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