Ever played that children’s game ‘I went to the shops and I bought’?
The one where you try to remember a long, often bizarre, list of ingredients – from armadillos to zucchini.
And inevitably you forget at least one (‘Damn that pumpernickel!).
Because it’s hard work trying to keep everything in your head.
Well, it’s the same with sentences.
By the time we get to the end of reading a long sentence, we’ve often forgotten what was at the start.
Eye mapping studies show we pause when we reach a full stop. (Or period for my US readers.)
We seem to want to assimilate what we’ve just read before moving on.
When we write wordier sentences like this one, with more concepts, we ask the reader to hold more in their heads for longer before they get a break.
And, just like with the ‘I went shopping’ game, that’s tiring.
Ask your reader to do this too many times? Well, they’ll probably give up.
So remember: Shorter sentences are easier to read.