Why Difficult Sentences Scare Readers Away (and Why You Should Write For Easy Reading)

13 Things Expert Copywriters Taught Me About Writing Persuasive Copy

Let me ask you a question…

Do you enjoy reading difficult sentences?

How about complicated words that you can barely grasp the meaning of?

I’m guessing your answer is no. Nobody is blaming you. We understand because we secretly all feel the same way.

As a matter of fact, even the most educated people like to write and read simple words (even when they claim they don’t).

Still not convinced? Let me explain by taking a closer look at the reasons to write your copy to the sixth-grade level…

Simple language means clear communication

If my primary language was Chinese, you wouldn’t understand this post. If you’d try, you’d get very frustrated because I can’t communicate with you properly.

Well, your customers feel the same way when you use words and phrases that they can’t understand. It’s like a foreign language to them. And if your potential customer does not grasp the meaning of your copy, how can they possibly be persuaded? That’s right, they can’t be.

Now tell me, how would you feel if you’d visit a website and this is how they explain what they do?

“We innovatively maximize business potential through sophisticated logistical processes”Β 

Most likely, you don’t feel any emotion. If anything, you are just more confused than before you visited their site.

Do not try to impress your website visitors with difficult words. It does not work. Put clarity first. It’s a lot more persuasive than trying to confuse people into buying from you.

Simple Words Are Easy To Read

Let me tell you something: it’s hard to write in simple language.

For most people, this is hard work. They’re tempted to use words that don’t belong on a website. Why?The answer is simple: it’s the exact opposite of what they’ve learned in school.

Copywriting is simply salesmanship in print. You are the friendly salesman helping them to make a choice. And a salesman doesn’t use difficult words to impress you into a sale, doesn’t he?

He answers every question, counters your objections, gives you all the information you need to know and tells you about the benefits…all in a way you can easily make sense of it. Are you beginning to see how this works?

Easy Reading Saves Your Visitors Time

Necessity has caused us to be lazy readers and scanning geniuses. We can’t afford to plow through long, complex sentences and paragraphs.

How do you enjoy reading this?

“Because of our time complications and the expeditiously increasing speed at which our society is moving, it has become essential to avoid complex and long sentences that cause hindrances in our lives.”

It takes you longer to read and I’m beating around the bush while saying the exact same thing. Bottom line, it sucks. Wouldn’t you agree?

We’re already being overloaded by text all the time. By making your writing easy to read, you’re doing your readers a big favor.

Over To You

So how about you? What’s your personal opinion about hard, complex sentences? Do they make you feel like you are smart when you grasp the meaning of them or do you think they are just a big ‘ole pain in the ass?

I’d love to take the discussion further in the comment section below. πŸ™‚

Jasper Oldersom

Hey, I am Jasper and I am an authentic freelance (copy)writer and marketer. If you need time to focus on other parts of your business, while I write a quality article for your website - I'm your guy.

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Donna Merrill - July 7, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper,

I love this topic! I like to write simply and use words that are not complicated. I remember when I wrote a book back in the 1980’s and was told to write like a tenth grader. It sells better lol.

Being online, we need to write simply and always keep in mind that English is a second or third language for many of our readers. I find that when I’m reading something complicated with three dollar words….I immediately feel like the writer is trying to show me how smart he or she is. That’s not what we are about ….

I do get many compliments when I write because i can get something and make it simple to understand and to read. The reason being is that I want to write for others. If they can get one idea or one action to be taken from a blog post I write, I’ve done my job.

-Donna
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Lorraine Reguly - July 9, 2016 Reply

You forgot to mention that a lot of people know English as a second (or even a third or fourth) language!

For this reason alone, it is a good idea to to write in a simple manner.

Many of my Facebook friends are bloggers from India. They are very smart people (and very techie… unlike me!) but have some trouble with mastering the English language.

At times, I am surprised we can communicate at all!

So this post really caught my eye. It is true, too, what you said about how complex sentences lack emotion. It is hard to connect with people if this absence of feeling is there.

I loved this post, Jasper! Off to share it now!
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ARUNKUMAR - July 11, 2016 Reply

Glad that i found useful content on your blog πŸ™‚

Christine C Renee - July 15, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

You make an excellent point, I love this post!

And you’re right, it really is hard to write in simple phrases. I have leftover habits from college and writing business papers that I need extra time for editing my blog posts to make sure I don’t sound too technical.

Thanks for sharing this! πŸ™‚
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dhanunjai - July 17, 2016 Reply

i always prefer writing in simple grammar only because most of the people are not good at English because their primary language is not English and hence its always better to write in a simple english grammar so that those who are not so good at English also can understand.
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Ajay - July 21, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,
I totally agree with you
Simple writing helps the reader to understand clearly.
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Steve - July 22, 2016 Reply

I’ve come across some sites that have awesome article titles, but when I read their posts, I get fed up of strong and difficult sentences that are kind of difficult to comprehend. this alone makes me leave those sites and never come back.
Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.
Thanks and do have a wonderful day ahead.

vinayakprabu10 - July 26, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

I love this post. It explains the language technique which is to be used in blogs to attract the readers.

as you mentioned the simple and clear content will attract the readers most.

Thanks jasper.
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Ravi Roshan Jaiswal - August 1, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper, So glad to see this post.

You have written very well and it’s a great message for every blogger who prefer to write difficult sentences. You are definitely right that simple language helps to communicate very easily. Simple word on particular topic, easy to read and understand too and user likes reading such article forever.

Also, easy reading saves lot of time that often waste in reading and finding meaning of difficult sentence. I often try to keep my writing language easy and simple. I have seen many popular blogger who try to represent their views in simple way that makes me happy and I do visit their site to read and gain knowledge easily.

Their is no benefit of reading the complicated article that doesn’t come in our mind. Anyway, you are right and like your easy and simple writing style. Keep writing and sharing. This post is the best example and must for blogger, who write article in complicated sentences.

Thanks.
– Ravi.

    Jasper Oldersom - August 1, 2016 Reply

    Hi Ravi,

    And I am glad you stopped by to read and leave a comment! When you write in a simple way, you can make them feel like they aren’t reading at all. That’s the ultimate goal. πŸ™‚

    Yes, it also serves the purpose of efficiΓ«ncy. We do NOT want to figure the meaning of every sentence ourselves. I see those bloggers too, Ravi. Henneke Duistermaat is one of my favorites.

    I will have more to share soon, so stay updated! πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful week.

    – Jasper
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Sid - August 1, 2016 Reply

I always prefer simple words which are effective and when am reading other blogs, i use chrome extension for that purpose. It irritates but habituated to it.

Saurav Kumar Nayak - August 3, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,
Wonderful and catchy title!
Your title brings me to your blog.
You made it quite simple to understand that why a simple and short sentences are always preferable?
Definitely aim of creating any blog is to drive regular readers to that blog. The readers also visit the blog to satisfy their hunger of information.
Whenever a readers search for a query he wants quickest and best result for his query. If the website contains content that is harder to understand then he will surely bounce back, which any Blog owner doesn’t want.
Thanks again for wonderful guide for making content more productive.
With regards,
Saurav
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Alex mercer - August 8, 2016 Reply

Hey buddy,
Nice piece of content ! That post was really helpful it made my day thanks a lot keep sharing much more cool stuff πŸ™‚ such a well crafted & useful post it is πŸ™‚ I will be glad to check them out πŸ™‚

Regards,
Alex
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Aravinth - August 17, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

I agree with this post.

Yes, simple way of communication will lead to getting more readers.

I made the mistakes that you mentioned in this post. I used to have difficult sentences to impress the readers, but its makes the traffic less then I have undergone the tactics in content marketing.

Now I have increased in reasonable readers because of the simple words and sentences.

Thank you and Have a great day.
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Mathew - September 20, 2016 Reply

Hello Jasper,

You nailed the topic, I enjoyed reading your blog post.

Crafting the content with good readability is an art. And yes, it would grab huge eyeballs and make them loyal readers.

I agree with your viewpoints about the straightforward writing and I never use the complex words as it would nudge the readers to skip our content forever.

Thanks for presenting this helpful piece of content for the online publishers to make simple content and get massive reader base.

Keep your good work, you are just awesome.
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    Jasper Oldersom - October 11, 2016 Reply

    Mathew,

    Nice to meet you here on my blog! I appreciate you for stopping by.

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s an art. Most people that write or wrote amazing copy spend a lot of time to craft something that is most likely to convert high. Especially in the direct marketing days. We have easier and much cheaper ways to get people to read our copy now.

    Sounds like you’re writing in a way that your readers can easily relate to, Mathew. You are most welcome, I’m glad you like it. I appreciate the encouraging words. πŸ™‚

    Have a great day,

    – Jasper
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alex mercer - September 20, 2016 Reply

hey buddy,
Its just awesome no other ways to say its a mind blowing beautiful quality piece of well crafted content I loved the way you wrote up really cool. Glad to read your content keep posting much more cool content i will be glad to check them out.
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Amar kumar - September 23, 2016 Reply

Hey Jasper,

When running a business, it is important to be aware of how we communicate with our customers, staff, investors, and suppliers. Our written materials, from our business plan to our marketing, are often the first encounter a person has with company. It is therefore important to make sure that our writing is clear, and that it is relatable.

Our message should always be presented in a sequential, logical, step-by-step manner to make it is easy to follow.The presentation of our message is just as important as the words you use. Effective use of white space, headlines, subheadings, colour, font, images – are all elements that can either support your message, or distract from it. For information that is complex or data that needs to be analyzed, remember to include helpful visual aids or examples.

With best regards,

Amar kumar

siddaiah Thirupati - September 29, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Copywriting is a skill, we have to learn and practice it to avoid difficult sentences, when I started blogging I used to write long paragraphs which are difficult to read and understand, fortunately, one of the readers advised to learn to copywriting skills because he is finding difficulty in reading my articles.

Later on, I started focusing on improving my writing skills, as mentioned in this article we need write simple words which are understandable to even laymen.

Thanks for sharing the valuable advice in this post, see you soon with another article.
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Brent Jones - September 29, 2016 Reply

Jasper…

“Do you enjoy reading difficult sentences?”

^ You had me hooked from this first line.

My writing was littered for the longest time with run-on sentences… it was guys like you and Andrew M. Warner who I studied carefully.

Your writing was always so easy to follow. I just couldn’t grasp why…

Then it hit me — your sentences are short, simple and easy to follow!

Now I do everything I can to make my writing easier to read. Shorter sentences. Smaller paragraphs. Bullet points. Formatting.

Long story short?

A lot of people make their sentences far too difficult. And learning to fix it isn’t easy.

Good stuff,

Brent
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    Jasper Oldersom - October 12, 2016 Reply

    Hey Brent,

    Glad to hear you enjoyed this post man!

    Andrew M. Warner is a great writer, I have to admit I really enjoy studying his work as well. πŸ˜‰

    I would call your writing straightforward and relatable –– no doubt. It’s an incredibly important skill to have. You know how to get a point across and do it powerfully.

    I agree, Brent. It’s hard to unlearn old habits, especially if people praised people for it during your education.

    Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you.

    – Jasper
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Ron Killian - October 1, 2016 Reply

Yet another fine post Jasper. I couldn’t agree more, simple is better, SO much better. Not only do the big words and difficult sentences make it hard to read, I think it’s even some times a sub-conscious thing, your brain is thinking.. “This looks like work argh”.

Heard the same thing you said for years, write a 6th grade level. Just to make sure it’s readable by most every one.

I’ve always tried to write simple, lots of short sentences. Probably helps that I am no wordsmith πŸ˜‰

Enjoyed the read.
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Chris Robert - October 4, 2016 Reply

Hi there!

Awesome Post. i absolutely agree with you!
Writing content in simple words keeps audience focused on our blog. i also write in simple words so that kids out there can also understand what i am saying.

Thanks for this post.
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vinayakprabu10 - November 21, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Your article is too good. Feel very happy to read. Your idea of avoiding difficult sentence to gain reader time,good communication all are nice. Am accepting your concept.

Thank You,
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vinayakprabu10 - November 23, 2016 Reply

Hi Jasper,

Fantastic idea. Great to read about using simple language of sentence, understandable communication. saving our visitors time all are neat and clean.

Thanks for your information,
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