One Simple Way to Make Sentences Sparkle

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Given the vast number of blogs that dispense writing tips, I hesitate to add to the noise. Yet there is one strategy that I often recommend to clients who ask for help with sentence-level editing: Put the payload at the end. Doing this can instantly give your writing more impact.

I learned this from How to Write a Usable User Manual by Edmund Weiss. He gives these examples:

Reduced cost is the main advantage of this new procedure.

The main advantage of this new procedure is reduced cost.

These two sentences convey the same information. Yet the second creates more impact. Why? Because the big idea—reduced cost—comes right before the period.

The end of the sentence is where the magic happens. If you want to emphasize a word or phrase, put it there.

Think of each sentence as an event that unfolds in your mind. The period marks the climax of that event—a mini-explosion in the reader’s mind. Harness that energy by tossing the most important phrase or word right in the blast.

Perhaps the above example seems like no big deal. But imagine what happens if you take dozens, hundreds, or thousands of sentences in an article or book and give lots of them this little energy boost?

Readers will feel the power.

P.S. For more classic wisdom on crafting sentences, see Politics and the English Language by George Orwell.

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