Bundling Information: Short to Long


A sentence consists of more than its subjects and verbs, more than its characters and actions. At a "higher" level of analysis, a sentence also consists of bundles of information. Some bundles are small and easily unpacked for their information; others are long and complex, and readers have to work harder to unpack them.


In the example below, the writer has arranged his bundles of information so that a reader has to unpack the largest and most complex bundle first, and the smaller bundles last (subjects are underlined, verbs are boldfaced):
 
At Hunter LAN Technologies,
provision to customers in a timely
fashion of technically accurate,
readable information about products
is our goal.
 
Toward that end, the procedures
detailed below for the creation
and updating of printed documentation
have been developed.
 
Most readers find that pattern hard to follow: it's better to start with smaller, less complex bundles. Readers process complex units of information most easily when they appear toward the end of the sentence:
 
At Hunter LAN Technologies,
our goal is to provide technically accurate, readable information about our products to our customers in a timely fashion.
 
Toward that end, we have developed the procedures outlined below for creating and updating our printed documentation.
 
 
Put short bundles of information before long bundles of information.