When we run training courses, we often say that sentences should be short and simple. As a rule, short, simple sentences are easier to read and understand than long, complicated ones. But sometimes simplifying can make a sentence less clear.
Here’s an example:
“People are eating more fruit and vegetables.”
It sounds simple enough, but it could mean several things:
- People are eating proportionally more fruit and veg – i.e. fruit and veg make up more of our food intake than they used to.
- People are eating a larger total volume of fruit and veg than in the past – possibly because there are more people on the planet or because people are eating more foods of all kinds than they used to.
- People are eating more kinds of fruit and veg – possibly because of better logistics, cross-cultural pollination or a desire to try new things.
I think this example shows it’s important to be clear when making a comparison. The reader must be able to answer the question “more than what?” If they can’t, you should add more information or rephrase the sentence.