Ever since learning about the Hemingway app I’ve changed how I write. My sentences used to be so long. I used to use "and" with comma’s a million times. I was so blind to it! I didn’t see how bad the readability truly was.
Ernest Hemingway had a style of writing. He is well known in the copywriting world. The app is just a tool to check your writing. "From almost the beginning of his writing career, Hemingway’s distinctive style occasioned a great deal of comment and controversy. Basically, his style is simple, direct, and unadorned"
Let me demonstrate with an example.
I go to Wikipedia and type in the English Language. I can see the paragraph above.
I can then insert this into the hemingwayapp
The app shows that readability is a Grade 15 reading level. It has sentences that are very hard to read. When skimming the content it’s not effortless to read. It doesn’t just flow with the eyes as easily.
As a marketer and someone who does copywriting. It’s very important to reduce friction in your writing. So it’s effortless to read. In the marketing-world studies show most people read at a 5th-grade reading level. This is when we want a message to be consumed by the masses.
So by making sentences shorter, use easier to read words, I can increase the readability. Making it easier to consume. People will read faster and it will appeal to everyone. Not just high-level academics.
Ever since learning about readability, it’s changed the way I write. I aspire towards a 5th to 8th-grade reading level. This means large pieces of information can be consumed very quickly and by everyone.
What are people’s opinions on this direct, short-sentence style of writing? Especially when applying it not just in the marketing world?
Update: I realized coming into the Lion’s Den of English language, with my initial question, meant I probably did derve the downvotes. I’m not trying to criticize the English Language. I’m just to bridge the gap between what I know, and what I don’t know.
Because variety is the spice.
ColleenV offered in a comment:
There is more to writing than readability. Frankly, I would be pleased if half the copy I’m exposed to could manage to be grammatical and avoid malaprops. It is not appropriate for all writing to aspire to score at the world average reading level. Shall we only ever get to read For Whom the Bell Tolls and not Cyrano de Bergerac?
It is possible for text to be quite a bit above "written for the barely educated adult" without turning into purple prose. I would not want to be trapped in a world where most text was written in the manner of a journalist and chopped into tweet-sized sentences
Chopping long sentences—good. Turning them into splinters—not as good. The metaphor of splinter suggests that a sentence needs a point, but not one so piercing that it has no smooth end.
"Splinter" creates better image than non-sentence. A=B is an equation. A= is not one. Some dances are smooth. The waltz is. Some are staccato. Salsa is fun. Don’t do one to the exception of. Other, you have Johnny-One-Note.