Don’t hang yourself with long sentences

Many years ago people thought that writing in long and complex sentences was a sign of intelligence. However, nowadays the complete opposite is held to be true.

You see, long sentences that are difficult to read and comprehend present a barrier to getting your point across.

Ideally you should aim to make sentences as short as possible to create the most impact. The upper limit for words-per-sentence should be around 30.

You can use the sentence lengths and structures in this post as a guide.

Extra tip for paragraphs:

Try making each paragraph no longer than two sentences, and quite often just one sentence. What’s more, pairing a short sentence with a longer one can have a powerful effect.

Give it a go. You’ll be surprised at how well it works.


If a sentence is difficult to write, it will be difficult to read.


‘Following your completion of the Cake Decorating Diploma candidates would have acquired the knowledge and competence in cake decorating skills necessary to ensure the health and safety of both cake decorator and colleagues, and, significantly, will be qualified to access higher level awards both within the established range of cake decorating awards and those of other awarding bodies.’


‘By end of this course you will have the competence to ensure the health and safety of both you and your colleagues.

You’ll also be qualified to access higher level awards within the established range, plus those of other awarding bodies.’


‘If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter’ – Anon

So next time you write a long sentence, try taking a step back. Look carefully at the ideas you are presenting, and think about how you could restructure your writing to present them in a more readable way.