New writers often assume longer sentences signal a higher level of intelligence. They try to create complex sentences by combining thoughts. They force unusual punctuation. However, I often break apart these lengthy statements as a freelance writer in Lynchburg, VA.
Shorter sentences are smarter sentences. Experienced writers value precision over complication. You must say the most with the fewest words.
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” ― Mark Twain
In fact, grammatical mistakes and poorly-expressed ideas create long sentences. These thoughts are broken up by misplaced phrases, unfinished comparisons, and dangling modifiers.
Common Writing Mistakes (That Make Sentences Longer)
Your English teacher probably forgot to tell you about these. But, that doesn’t mean an editor won’t mark them.
By definition, a run-on sentence connects two or more complete sentences without any punctuation. Most of the time, you can simply break these into two separate sentences. If needed, a transition word can smooth the flow between your thoughts.
Passive Voice Vs Active Voice
In many cases, passive voice sentences require more words. When you flip the object of a be verb into the subject with an action verb, the sentence loses a few words.
Adjectives and Adverbs
Inexperienced writers sprinkle unnecessary adjectives and adverbs throughout their text. First, eliminate instances of very . Second, look for places where you can choose a stronger verb or a more precise noun. If you make these words do double-duty, your sentences will shorten.
Editing for Shorter Sentences
If you’re trying to increase the popularity of your content from articles and blogs to infographics and social media captions, try shortening your sentences with these tools.
Most of the time, Grammarly’s suggestions will simplify your sentences. Their tool prioritizes readability over complexity. Although the free version of the tool hides some of these suggestions, it will still point out your worst offenses.
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Test
If you want to judge your document as a whole, I suggest running it through the Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease Test. This test scores the readability of your sentences. Remember, a higher score doesn’t mean it’s better or smarter. It’s just harder to read.
I love this little tool! Named after the concise writer, the Hemmingway Editor software skims your text and highlights areas where you can omit extra language. You’re left with stronger, more readable sentences.
Freelance Writer in Lynchburg
I help my clients clean up their text as a freelance writer in Lynchburg. With my ghostwriting and content editing experience, I can help you shorten sentences and improve your writing. Learn more about how I can help by visiting my services page.