Bench & Bar Kentucky, Vol. 68, No. 4, p. 36, July 2004
1 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2006
"Long is not wrong," says Terri LeClercq, but short and simple is easier to understand and retain. Writing short and (mostly) simple sentences helps break complex ideas into smaller pieces that are more easily understood. Legal concepts can be difficult enough without the added complexity of stultifying prose.
This essay provides five tips for creating persuasive, memorable sentences.
First, keep it short ("I have a dream."). Length often comes from qualifiers that hide or dilute the primary message. Second, increase writing density. Third, use semicolons, and colons with numbered lists, to signify close relationships between or among ideas. Fourth, keep introductory clauses short. Fifth, avoid long clauses (or strings of clauses) separating the subject from the verb.
Keywords: Legal writing, sentence, prose, persuasion, clause
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation