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How to Make Your E-mails Clearer

When writing an e-mail, it is very important to be as clear as possible.

Remember that, when you send an e-mail, you don't have all the body language and voice tone that helps people to understand what you mean. The chances of someone misunderstanding your requests or instructions is much higher.

There is a very simple way to be more clear in your writing. Just shorten the length of words, sentences and paragraphs.

 

Firstly, avoid using too many long words. The English language is constructed in a way that the more often we use a particular word, the shorter it tends to be. For example, words such as "the", "a", "in" and so on are very short, but words that are rarely used, like "misappropriation", are very long.

Think about someone reading your e-mail that learned English as a second language. They are far more likely to know the shorter, more common, words.

So, try to replace longer words with shorter equivalents. For example, change the word "approximately" to "about." You should aim for about 10-20% the words you use to be over 8 letters in length.

 

The length of sentences is also important. People tend to lose concentration the longer a sentence goes on. If you were reading a sentence out loud, the period sign is where you take a breath. The longer the sentence, the less you stop to breathe. So break them up if they go past 20 words.

 

Finally, keep paragraphs short - ideally containing 3 sentences per paragraph. This breaks up your text into manageable chunks.

In summary, the targets should be as follows:

Words

No more than 15% of your words should be longer than 8 letters
Sentences Aim for 10-20 words per sentences
Paragraphs Aim for 2-4 sentences per paragraph

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