Encyclopedia > Wikipedia:Use short sentences and lists

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Wikipedia:Use short sentences and lists

Use short sentences and lists is a Wikipedia rule to consider:
Use short sentences does not mean use fewer words. It means don't use unnecessary words. Consider the view of William Strunk, Jr.[?] in his 1918 Elements of Style (http://www.crockford.com/wrrrld/style):

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words [and] a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

Do your words "tell"? Are you reading this article on a "computer monitor CRT display" or on a "computer"? Both are clear, but the first term is too long. The words don't tell.


Grouping similar items together generally improves readability. Use several short paragraphs, not a few long ones. The same for sentences. Categorize to break long lists into shorter sublists.

Other opinions

To read differing opinions about this rule to consider, see wikipedia talk:Use short sentences and lists.

External Links

the Elements of Style (http://www.crockford.com/wrrrld/style)

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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