‘Short words are best, and old words when short are the best of all’
What do you notice about this passage, excerpted from an article in The Economist?
With the exception of “Winston” and “Churchill,” this 800-word story uses only one-syllable words. And, with an average word length of 3.7 characters, it scores a Flesch Reading Ease of 100.
Make 80% of your words one syllable long.
Take a tip from this passage: Use mostly one-syllable words.
Chances are, you won’t lose anything but reading difficulty. As Alden S. Wood, columnist on language and English usage, writes:
Use short words.
It is possible to write in mostly one-syllable words.
In fact, members of the “Club for One-Pulse Words” go so far as to speak exclusively in words of one syllable.
And you thought writing with short words was tough.
Sources: “In praise of short words,” The Economist, Oct. 7, 2004
Alden S. Wood, “Wood on Words: Keep it Simple,” IABC Communication World, December 1988
Ann Wylie, Cut Through the Clutter, Wylie Communications Inc., 2005
Dave Blum, “In Praise of Small Words,” The Wall Street Journal, “Some Month, One Nine Eight Two”