The full stop is such an important and powerful punctuation mark that it has been incorporated into spoken English. When dumping a lover, you might say, “I never want to see you again. Full stop.” That means never, ever. The spoken full stop adds emphasis.
The written full stop can do this too. On social media, splitting phrases into one-word sentences is a popular way of making a point.
“Short sentences are clear, compelling and authoritative”
If you end relationships by Tweet (and we’re told some people do), you might Tweet your ex, “I. Never. Want. To. See. You. Again.”
In business writing, people typically do not use the full stop enough. It’s almost as if they think that short sentences are unprofessional.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Short sentences are clear, compelling and authoritative.
If you are writing about a technical topic, long sentences make it harder for your readers to follow what you are saying. That’s one of the reasons why they are so popular; they provide cover for you, the writer.
In short sentences, there is nowhere to hide. You must command your material.
“A good piece of writing usually contains a mix of very short, short and longer sentences”
Of course, you don’t want all your sentences to be very short. That can feel like machine-gun fire.
But a good piece of writing usually contains a mix of very short, short and longer sentences. So, the next time you find yourself writing a string of long, rambling sentences, stop.
Then reach for one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s toolkit. The full stop.