For rapid reading the prime requisite of a good sentence is that its grammatical structure shall be evident; in other words, that the reader shall be able at a glance to see the relation of its parts. Involved sentences that require a second perusal before they yield their meaning, are clearly not adapted to the newspaper or magazine. Short sentences and those of medium length are, as a rule, more easily grasped than long ones, but for rapid reading the structure of the sentence, rather than its length, is the chief consideration. Absolute clearness is of paramount importance.
In hurried reading the eye is caught by the first group of words at the beginning of a sentence. These words make more of an impression on the reader's mind than do those in the middle or at the end of the sentence. In all journalistic writing, therefore, the position of greatest emphasis is the beginning. It is there that the most significant idea should be placed. Such an arrangement does not mean that the sentence need trail off loosely in a series of phrases and clauses.
Firmness of structure can and should be maintained even though the strongest emphasis is at the beginning. In revising his article a writer often finds that he may greatly increase the effectiveness of his sentences by so rearranging the parts as to bring the important ideas close to the beginning.
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