Monday, 9 November 2009

Three is still a magic number

'The key to good writing is simple thoughts simply expressed. Use short sentences and short words.Anything which is confused, complicated, poorly written or capable of being misunderstood risks losing the listener or viewer, and once you have done that, you might just as well not have come to work. '

This is from the BBC style guide and it goes on to say:

'In broadcasting, the basic sentence structure (1) Subject-(2) Verb-(3) Object works every time.The audience grasps what you are saying straight away. Anything more flamboyant, such as a subordinate clause, is a potential barrier to understanding:

With what his political opponents called a leap in the dark, the Prime Minister today committed Britain to a European daylight saving regime.

Whose political opponents? Who are the political opponents? What leap in the dark? Decide what you want to say and get on with saying it. Aim to be simple (not simplistic), fluent and easy on the ear. Your first duty is to your audience, not to your own idea of arresting prose.' (Source BBC style guide)

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