A study conducted by the American Press Institute confirmed something most of us already knew: The longer a sentence is, the less readers understand.
The study analyzed comprehension rates associated with sentence length. It found readers understood:
- About 10% of the content in sentences with 43 words
- More than 90% of the content in sentences with 14 words
- Close to 100% of the content in sentences with fewer than 8 words
What does this mean and why should you care?
Over time, the comprehension rate of the average American reader has continued to decline. Add in the fast pace of modern work and life, and readers today are less willing to take the time to decipher complicated content.
What’s the bottom line?
- Keep sentences short.
- Use simple, familiar words.
- Avoid insider lingo.
- Be direct.
There you have it: Four action steps using 12 words total.
The possibility of achieving 100% reader comprehension? Priceless.