Here’s a useful guideline when you’re writing a report: One idea per sentence.
Long, complicated sentences slow down the writing (and reading) process, and they open the door to grammatical errors. It’s more efficient to write simpler sentences that focus on only one idea.
Here’s a sentence with too much information:
The four boys, who had jeering at Schmidt’s car and house for several days, according to Schmidt, decided to step up their harassment a notch by throwing uncooked eggs at the car, a blue 1988 Chevy with a rusted green hood, when Schmidt drove down Parker Lane Friday at about 10:45 a.m. on his way to Walmart. TOO COMPLICATED
This version is more efficient – and easier to read:
Schmidt told me that for several days the four boys had been jeering at his house and car. His car is a blue 1988 Chevy with a rusted green hood. Tuesday morning, Schmidt was driving the Chevy down Parker Lane on his way to Walmart. At about 10:45 a.m., Schmidt saw the boys throw uncooked eggs at his car. EFFECTIVE
If you were preparing for a court hearing six months later, which version would you rather read?
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