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Article Writing: Sentences

faradina
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Article Writing: Sentences

Here I am again with advice that I hope at least a few will find useful :)

When writing web content we want our output to be easy for our site visitors to read. With this goal in mind, it is in our interest to keep our sentences short and simple. Long, complex sentences can obscure our intended message and confuse our readers. We need to go straight to the point. As mentioned in the blog post Why it's bad to assume your visitors are smart - Dealing with "The 30% Brain":

"Basically, when we're browsing the internet, our brains aren't really at full capacity. (And when I say we I mean the internet-using population in general.) We might be just wandering around, browsing on our lunch break. We might just be looking for a quick answer. We might have stumbled upon something by accident.

We have a very limited attention span, and if something doesn't grab us, or make complete sense within the first few seconds, we're probably going to shrug our shoulders and go somewhere else."


So we should make our sentences so that our complete thought is conveyed in a few, simple words. Note complete thought. That means that you must construct your sentence so that it has all the necessary elements to express your ideas.

A sentence must have a subject and a predicate. The subject names what the sentence is about. The predicate states what the subject is or does. In some cases the predicate cannot complete the meaning of a sentence and need to have a complement. Complements are a word or group of words that complete the thought of a sentence.

A group of words that starts with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark, has a subject and predicate but does not express a complete thought is called a sentence fragment. We must avoid sentence fragments because they confuse readers and interfere with our ability to get our message across. We need to write complete sentences, adding complements where needed.
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amjadakmal
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I think if we focus on writing such as audience analysis make your content exclusive to the target users. The content should be unique and new to get traffic.

I agree to your thoughts of writing meaningful sentences instead of unstructured paragraphs. They must be complete, concise and well structured.
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moadams
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Good stuff. I would add that a mixture of short and medium sentences is good. Sometimes the fragment can be a friend. Note the start of this post. "Good stuff." You all knew what it meant. Don't use the fragment too much though. It will make your writing look like a tweet and you like a twit.
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evilla.drazen
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I always get to remember this one tip whenever I write an article:

In order for your article to be easy to read, brief and concise, there should only be about 3-5 sentences in each paragraph. Sentences more than 5 might seem to be quite boring to readers, and so they might not want to continue reading until the end of your article. Also, a sentence paragraph is a big NO, NO.
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sam2
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I wonder the math you put it 5 sentences per paragraph.In article writing it won;t be necessory to have 5 or more sentences per paragraph.I have explaines this in link removed by moderator
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cecille.l
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Hi Sam2,

Having more or less 5 sentences in a paragraph is a good guideline to go for when writing articles. As Fara mentioned earlier in this post, most of the time we are only skimming information over the internet, anything article that appears lengthy will get the backseat. A good article is a brief/concise post that gives value to readers.

Hope that helps. Have a good day!
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sam2
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evilla.drazen wrote:I always get to remember this one tip whenever I write an article:

In order for your article to be easy to read, brief and concise, there should only be about 3-5 sentences in each paragraph. Sentences more than 5 might seem to be quite boring to readers, and so they might not want to continue reading until the end of your article. Also, a sentence paragraph is a big NO, NO.

this is always a true points what one can follow in writing quality news letters.
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newstart
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Articles need to be written with the reader in mind. Most internet readers are impatient wanting to get the gist of the article quickly. Long paragraphs make the process of article scanning difficult.

Margene
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cecille.l
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I think this is where sub-headers come into play. If your article is long, then consider dividing them into two or three paragraphs with a sub-heading in between. The sub-headings should be descriptive of the coming set of paragraphs. This helps readers scan your article for information more quickly. If you can put in your keywords on the sub-headings without the entire article looking keyword-stuffed then that's great. Otherwise, keep the sub-headings short and descriptive.
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Cecille


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sparkstation23
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I think at least five sentences should be their which shows the strength of the article.
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jimcoe
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I don't think in terms of the number of sentences per paragraph for good online copywriting. To me that seems arbitrary.

My belief is that forcing arbitrary rules onto content is a fundamental mistake. Instead, rules should come directly from the content itself - this is a more natural expression.

In this way, Instead of writing an arbitrary number of sentences per paragraph, I try to make sure each paragraph contains only 1 thought or concept. The correct number of sentences is the minimum number required to clearly express that 1 thought.

A new thought means a new paragraph - even if it's only 1 sentence.

This keeps paragraphs short for easy reading and scanning and also helps keep content conversational and natural.

Totally agree with Cecille that headers are a must to break up large blocks of text. A big gray block of text practically screams "Skip me! Avoid a tough slog through my intense verbiage!".

I also like to break up long text blocks with:
    1. Tables
    2. Small inline images
    3. Bullet lists
    4. Number lists

Cheers!
_jim coe
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cecille.l
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Thanks for your input _jim coe!

A new thought means a new paragraph - even if it's only 1 sentence.


True. I read a book once titled "If you can speak, then you can write". Not the most inspiring or interesting title but it did help me when I was gong through severe writer's block (although I am not really a writer). As the title descriptively says, we can speak, therefore, we can write. Writing is putting your thoughts onto paper. That's all there is. This means that your word processor will not agree with your grammar, but your readers will and will understand what you are trying to say as well.

There is no need to use formal words or a formal tone for your articles. Articles should be informative and entertaining and it all is formed by well-written sentences.

Hope that helps. Have a good day!
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maryt
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"A new thought, new paragraph"

That makes sense. Based from experience, I find it hard to write paragraphs with certain number of sentences to it. "Composition" is hard to come by in this case. Content creation is not something you can control with guidelines. Like for example, I used to write short stories and then switched to web content writing.

At first I find it hard to compress all my ideas into 500 or 800 words. Same thing with trying to get everything into 2-3 sentences in one paragraph. So what I do is, I write everything down first and then edit the whole article after. But with practice, I managed to write articles based from the guidelines set for web content writing.
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mark schaaf
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In this case I agree and also disagree because I think it all depends on the site. If I were on a cooking site and they are trying to explain something about baking a cake they might need to go into more detail as to what to do. Would someone want to see put the mixture in a blending bowl and turn on the blender or would they rather read put the mixture into the blending bowl and start blending on low let blend for 2 minutes and turn to medium for another 2 then high for 1 or until you get the consistency you are looking for. If I were trying to bake the cake I would want as much information as I could get. I do agree that many people use only 30% as the article talks about but isn't that just another way to say lazy.
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Mark
 
affiliatepowersite
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This is such a good post. Thanks for sharing. What you've said, or rather written here is quite true.
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kinni
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When writing, article on any subject, be sure what you want to say. Communication is an art, make it simple. Do not think too much, about your mistakes. Write what comes to your mind, it should be original...it is yours. Present it in a convincing way...again Communication is an art- learn it thoroughly...then Write...
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Ashok Sinha
 

This topic was started on Jan 05, 2011 and has been closed due to inactivity. If you want to discuss this topic further, please create a new forum topic.