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Short Sentences

 

Techniques > Use of language > Persuasive language > Short Sentences

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Use short sentences to create punch and make a point.

Use phrases and even words as sentences. Really.

Do not use too many sentences -- about three or four is usually enough.

Use a short sentence as a summary after a longer description.

Generally speaking, a short sentence works well at the start of a paragraph or speech item to grab attention, and at the end, to summarize and signal completion.

Example

I want this. Not that. Right now.

When I think about what you are doing, I wonder if you realize the effect you are having on me. It hurts. A lot.

Placing order is easy. The ordering system requires an initial completion of form DC1 followed, after this has been processed by finance and legal, by an approval that allows for form DC2 to be completed after the affirmative response to DC1 is received. So remember: Use DC1. Wait for a response. Then use DC2.

Discussion

With a long sentence, the listener or reader may have forgotten the end by the time that the speaker or writer has reached the final few words that they are going to say or write, even though the listener or reader may be paying particular attention, whether it is late or early and whether they are tired or alert.

With short sentences, the listener gets the whole thing in one go. Easy to remember. Easy to understand. More powerful communication.

There is a natural pause after a sentence. This gives the other person space in which to consider what is said. This also adds 'thoughtfulness' to what is being said.

Too many short sentences and the effect is like a long sentence where the message gets lost or the listener feels battered by the repeated impact. Ok. That's it. No more. I'm done. Not yet, though. Of course. Now listen up. And remember. Too many is too many.

See also

Sentences

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