First and Second Principles of a Clear and Direct Style


Effective sentences tell a story. Readable sentences match the two essential elements of a story, character and action, with the two essential elements of a sentence, subject and verb.
 
---> Express central characters as the subjects of verbs.
 
---> Express their crucial actions not as nouns, but as verbs.
 
---> Between those two, the first takes precedence.

 

a. Smith proved that Jones had failed to improve the property, but the Court held that Jones had not breached their agreement.
 
b. Smith offered proof of Jones' failure in regard to improvement of the property, but the Court issued a holding that Jones had not committed any breach of their agreement.
 
c. Smith's proof of Jones' failure in improving the property resulted in the Court's holding that there was no breach of the agreement on the part of Jones.
 
d. The holding was that there was an absence of proof of a failure in the improvement of the property and so there was no breach of the agreement.