The ideal sentence length to get your stuff read

24th November, 2021

The ideal sentence length to get your stuff read

I received an email this week that had me reaching for the Advil.


It was a huge stodgy wall of text with several sentences topping 70 words in length! Reading it was like wading through golden syrup in lead boots carrying dumbbells.


So I gave up. Of course.


Studies show we lose people’s attention if our written sentences are longer than this one.


Just 16 words.


Not very much, is it?


In my experience, everyone from lawyers and marketers, to HR pros and salespeople can fall into the mega-sentence trap. And it’s the death blow to getting their message heard and acted on.


Now that’s not to say we can’t sometimes throw in a longer sentence like this to vary the pace and rhythm – it can pep things up a bit.


Especially if it’s followed by a short one.


But on the whole, stick to 16 words or fewer to keep your readers reading.

University of Cambridge


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