6 Effective Ways to Simplify Sentences

Long and convoluted English phrases that fail to communicate the message to the reader are of no use. If your readers get their brows furrowed while reading your content, know that you need to simplify sentences.

Some words and phrases can be trimmed or shortened to make your writing more readable. This article outlines six ways to simplify your text and improve readability.

Why Should You Simplify a Sentence?

Simplifying your sentence means removing unnecessary words, phrases, or clauses. It helps make statements easier to understand, especially for people whose first language is not English. If you are writing a phrase that is difficult to follow, you should simplify it.

Simplifying a statement is a good idea if you’re writing a professional or formal document. It will make your writing more concise and clear. As a result, you won’t get lost on the page. Simplifications reduce the time, energy, and cognitive load needed to understand your text.

KEEP THINGS SIMPLE brown wooden blocks placed on a white table.
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

6 Effective Ways to Simplify Sentences

Simpler statements will give you a clean and clear tone. It will reduce wordy writing and keep your document concise. Here are 7 effective ways to simplify sentences and make your writing more accessible to the audience.

1. Keep It Short

Aim for 15 to 20 words in a line because that’s generally long enough to convey your message without losing your reader’s attention. Even the most seasoned reader will find it difficult to comprehend sentences longer than 30 words.

However, too many short statements will make your writing sound choppy. Varying the length of your text will keep your writing lively, and your reader engaged.

2. Divide Long Statements

You must keep your writing structure simple enough for the readers to follow and not be distracted by too many words. Make your writing simpler by having your main point in a single statement.

If you have a long sentence that is too complex to read, divide it into shorter segments to make it easier to grasp. This also helps the reader understand the text better.

3. Use Short Everyday Words

The shorter and simpler everyday English words have fewer syllables and are easier to comprehend. These terms are less likely to be misinterpreted and take less time to read. Simplifying your text reduces the chance of confusion, which helps you achieve your purposes more effectively.

4. Write in an Active Voice

Writing in an active voice is a great way to reduce the word count. Moreover, it creates the statement in control of the reader, rather than passive.

Passive voice adds unnecessary terms to your writing and makes it feel uninteresting and lifeless. Using an active voice will instantly make whatever you’re saying sound more engaging. Look at the examples below:

Active: Laura bought a chocolate cake for the party.

Passive: A chocolate cake was bought by Laura for the party.

5. Reduce Adjectives and Adverbs

Although adjectives and adverbs tend to give the feeling of more genuine writing, they can also be redundant.

Reducing adjectives and adverbs to a considerable amount can drastically improve readability and simplify your text. When using adverbs to modify verbs, try using stronger adverbs to convey the meaning in fewer words.

6. Cut Out Unnecessary Words

Nobody likes long-winded text. The readers want clarity in writing and to-the-point answers. Cutting out unnecessary words makes your meaning more clear and concise. An example will make things clear.

Original: The students worked all day from 7 am in the morning to 5 pm in the evening to set up the new stage and prepare for the event for the Cultural Festival at the university.

Revised: University students worked all day from 7 am to 5 pm to set up the stage and prepare for the Cultural Festival.

To Wrap Up

Overly complicated phrases are difficult to understand and can strain the reader’s experience rather than enhance it. That is why simplified statements are often more efficient and concise. This article outlines some effective strategies to learn to simplify sentences and make your writing more clear and concise. Moreover, there are numerous free text simplifiers online that you can use to simplify your text in seconds!

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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