Just because a sentence is grammatically correct doesn’t mean it’s easy to follow. You’ve probably experienced this. Have you ever caught yourself rereading a sentence over and over but unable to really absorb it? The problem isn’t necessarily with you. There’s a good chance that the sentence is wordy, overly complex, and unclear.
Of course, when you’re in the writer’s seat it can be pretty hard to tell if your writing is really clear or not. If you know what you mean, it’s hard to look at your writing from the point of view of someone who doesn’t already know what you’re trying to say. Read on to see how Grammarly can help you ensure that your sentences won’t stump your readers.
Long, convoluted sentences make your readers work extra hard to follow what you’re saying. The mental effort they have to spend to untangle your sentence means that they’re less focused on the actual information you’re trying to convey. Although the sentence in the example below is grammatically correct, it wanders through a series of loosely connected thoughts and makes its point somewhere in the middle. Grammarly flags hard-to-read sentences like this, recommends breaking them into multiple sentences, and helps eliminate unnecessary words.
Hard-to-read: I’m considering my travel options this year and am finding it absolutely impossible to make up my mind between New York and Philadelphia, but I’m leaning toward New York because not only could I stay with friends instead of paying for accommodations, but also I adore Broadway shows and I would love to catch a performance while I’m in the city.
Clearer: I can’t decide whether to go to New York or Philadelphia this year. I’m leaning toward New York because I could stay with friends instead of paying for a hotel. Plus, I adore Broadway shows and I would love to see one while I’m there.
Sometimes just a few extra words can act as a speed bump in your sentence. Making sure every sentence is tight and concise ensures that your readers can cruise along smoothly with their attention focused on your ideas. Grammarly flags wordiness problems and offers concise alternatives.
Wordy: There is flexibility in our plans, so please tell us when you are free.
Concise: Our plans are flexible, so please tell us when you are free.
Wordy: This policy may cause confusion for our clients.
Concise: This policy may confuse our clients.
Wordy: You have the ability to adjust the volume using the button on the side of the phone.
Concise: You can adjust the volume using the button on the side of the phone.
Wordy: Needless to say, I personally would recommend prepaying in advance to ensure no disruption of your future plans.
Concise: I would recommend prepaying to ensure no disruption of your plans.