The Insecure Writer’s Support Group ~ No#30

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a platform for all writers where we get a chance to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. The group posts the first Wednesday of every month. You are encouraged to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.                

 There are 4 awesome co-hosts for the June posting of the IWSG. They are C. Lee McKenzie, Tracy Jo, Melanie Schulz, and LG Keltner! Don't forget to pay them a visit and thank them for co-hosting!

This sentence has five words… 

 

Did you know that the average shrinkage of sentences in English prose from Elizabethan times to 1900 was from one-half to about roughly one-third? Sentences, like paragraphs, are getting shorter because of changes over time in technology and ways in which we communicate. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that in today's society,  people have shorter attention spans, are under the mistaken belief  that “I can multi-task”, and, as a result, have gotten too stupid/lazy to process complex thoughts…

Are shorter sentences the way to go? It goes without saying that sentences should vary in structure, size, and shape; that's hard to do if you don't write some long ones.

I do prefer short sentences. They work well. Especially with micro-fiction.

However, I also love the pacing of a well-constructed long sentence, which can be elegant and really effective, without necessarily being too heavy or "flowery"…

Quote: "In general, shorter is better. If you can encapsulate your idea into a single captivating sentence, you're halfway home."—Len Wein

With regards to readable sentences, did you know:

  • The easiest sentence to read? 8 words.
  • 1-20 words: easy to read.
  • 21-25 words: easy to understand.
  • 26-29: difficult to follow.
  • 30+ words: confusing.

On the scale of 1to 30+ words per sentence, where do you fall more-or-less…? Are you more inclined towards short and snappy sentences? Or long and drawn out ones? What are your thoughts?

110 Comments

  1. Deanie Humphrys-Dunne on June 4, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Very good post and good suggestions! Thansk for sharing them. Best wishes for continued success.

  2. Crystal Collier on June 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    It depends on what genre I'm writing. 😉 I tend to lean toward the short end–since I write for young adults and their attention spans are shrinking. Still, variety really is the spice of life. I tend to believe short sentences place emphasis better than long ones, but that's just me. =)

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      I wonder if/when the shrinking attention span phenomenon will stop? This will have serious implications for the future of the lengthy sentence. Imagine a world where people communicate via short, snappy sentences only? Scary…  🙂

  3. ChemistKen on June 4, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I prefer a mixture of lengths.  Short sentences when the action gets going, longer ones when you need to slow things down and give the reader a rest.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      I think that's the way to go. A mixture makes for interesting rhythms…

  4. Krystal Jane on June 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I actually didn't find the example monotonous. Lol! They had different syllables. Now, it was boring, bit that was because he wasn't talking about anything. I like my short sentences, but I think when you're writing, it just naturally varies. This is just one of those things that we just don't need to be thinking about when we're writing. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Technically, you are correct! Syllables also dictate the rhythm of sentences. Good observation, Krystal!

      You're so right, we need to flow when we write. Not think about whether the sentences are short/long/medium. That can come later.

  5. C. Lee McKenzie on June 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    You've hit on a subject close to my heart. I've been meaning to tackle the "music" of English for a while, but haven't gotten to it. I'm referring to this post when/if I ever do write it.

    I've found myself gravitating to shorter sentences because I thought it was easier and more readable, but I love those languid, lengthy, mellifulous sentences. 

     

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      When I read The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, I discovered some of those wonderful lengthy, mellifluous sentences you are talking about, in the chunks of long prose passages. I look forward to reading your reflections on the "music" of English. That will be an interesting subject.

  6. Donna K. Weaver on June 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I love variety in word length. If we keep our sentences too short, the pacing can be really off because we're reading it too fast.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

      When you come to think of it, that makes perfect sense.

  7. Esther Jones on June 4, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    I'm a fan of long sentences. I love semicolons and long dashes, joining two related sentences into one even longer one. But I agree that variety is important.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Then you probably love Jane Austen's writing? We have to include long sentences. They add variety.

  8. S. Katherine Anthony on June 4, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    That Gary Provost is really cool! I think variety in length is great, but also enjoy shorter sentences. Great post! 😀

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      A little bit of this. A little bit of that. You can't lose. 🙂

  9. Cathrina Constantine on June 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    I've read and written both. For a faster pace, sometimes short and snappy is best. But you're right the short sentences can get tedious. I've read a book where a somewhat famous author actually has many paragraphs that are comprised of one sentence with comma's. I like her writing, but sometimes I want to break it down for her.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      It takes a highly skilled author to write those lengthy sentences, and get away with it. I suppose that when you're famous, you can use your creative license in all sorts of ways!

  10. Alex J. Cavanaugh on June 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    Mine used to be longer, but I learned to vary the length. I even have a couple in my current manuscript that are just one word.

    It's the way writing flows now, but it is a sign of the times – Twitter, the Internet, texts, etc.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      One word sentences can be very effective in creating/sustaining tension. It depends how they are used, of course.

  11. Melissa Maygrove on June 4, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Great post!

    Imho, if you're talking fiction, it depends on the scene. If it's a character introspection at a transition or slower part, then longer sentences (to a point–and still varied!) works well. In a fast, 'action' or tense scene, shorter is better.

    I love the example you gave. That illustrates cadence perfectly.

    IWSG #215 until Alex culls the list again.

     

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Cadence is such an important part of the "musicality" of writing.

  12. Annalisa Crawford on June 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    I don't consciously think about the length of my sentences, but I am aware of the music they make. This is a really interesting post, especially the stats. I love numbers 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      When we write, I don't think that sentence length is a conscious thing, especially when you're "in the zone". It would detract from the 'writing flow', if we had to think about it.

  13. Toi Thomas on June 4, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Great idea for a post. 

    I find that a healty mixture of long, medium, and short works best for me. Long sentences can be good for when something needs to be dragged out make it more intense or clarified. Short sentences seem to be good or expressing emotion and speed; as if something is happing fast or happening while someone is in a hurry. I think is all about how the sentences are used. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      I think it forms part of an individual's writing style/voice.

  14. Elise Fallson on June 4, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Oh I like this post and a great reminder to vary sentence length to make it sing. (; It also reminds me of a post I wrote a while back about one of my old Whinny the Pooh books printed in the late 1970s. It has a 73 word opening! Things have certainly changed.   

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      I'm sure the 73-word Winnie-The-Pooh opening is filled with fun. But things have certainly changed.  🙂

  15. L. Diane Wolfe on June 4, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    The verying sentence lengths really work for YA. Adds to the voice of the writer.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      I think sentence length goes hand-in-hand with voice.

  16. Murees Dupé on June 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I favor the short sentences, but whether mine is snappy I'm not really sure. I guess it is because I am a lazy reader, so I tend to be a lazy writer too. This is a great post. I had never thought about sentence length before. Great info. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      We learn something new every day. That's another great thing about this writerly journey. I love learning new things.

  17. Cherie Colyer on June 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I like to vary my sentences. Interesting post. =)

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Variety is the spice of life. "Spicy" writing is far more appealing.

  18. Anne on June 4, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    True confessions: I tend to write these huge monster sentences. Then, I go back and revise. Like, right now I have to consciously force myself to start out with a few small sentences before earning a bigger one. It's funny to realize I'm doing this. =D Great reflection. Thanks!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      I like the idea of "earning" the bigger sentences. It's almost like a progression from one level to another.

  19. Hart Johnson on June 4, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I tend to write relatively short sentences in my book. My belief on the matter is you can either have a complex story OR complex writing, but not both or you bog down the reader, so the sentence length and complexity has lost out to my love of a twisty plot. I DO vary them within that short range to play with pace–short sentences pick it up, longer ones slow it down.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Ah, I love your thinking. Either a complex story OR complex writing. Not both. And it makes sense. Thanks for sharing this, Hart!

  20. EE Giorgi on June 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    interesting! I do prefer short sentences too, but that's probably because I'm a scientist 😉

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      A scientist? Wow! So tell me, is there a scientific explanation that underpins your short sentence preference? 🙂

  21. Diane Burton on June 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    It depends on what's happening in the story. If the action is fast, short sentences. For a more emotional scene, longer sentences seem to work better.

  22. Samantha Dunaway Bryant on June 5, 2014 at 12:04 am

    I tend to be a bit florid if I don't rein myself in. My critique recently called me on a paragraph long sentence that would have made William Faulkner proud. 🙂 But, I do feel that I am learning the value of sentence length in pacing for storytelling. Good post!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      I suppose the trick is to create a long sentence without it sounding too fussy, and it shouldn't affect the fluidity of the reading pace either. How does one accomplish that? Lots of practise, I'm sure…  🙂

  23. Shelly on June 5, 2014 at 1:14 am

    I like a good mix.

     

    Hi, Michelle. Good post today.

    Hugs and chocolate!

  24. Doreen on June 5, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Mine tend to be long and flowery until my editor gets a hold of them. I like the suggestion to stagger the lengths, never occured to me.

    Thank you for sharing these great tips.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      When we are doing the actual writing, we cannot think consciously about sentence length variation. That will hamper the free flow.

  25. Shell Flower on June 5, 2014 at 1:59 am

    This is excellent writing advice. One of the guys in my writing group is really good at pointing out when people overuse the same sentence structure. I try to vary it up, but have really had to work on writing shorter sentences. By nature, I'm verbose.

     

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      So you are probably one of those who has to "trim excess fat" from an "overly-wordy" document? I'm the opposite. I always have to add information.

  26. J.L. Campbell on June 5, 2014 at 2:36 am

    Hi, Michelle,

    Very interesting post. Based on the stuff I used to read in high school, I love long, convoluted sentences and my writing used to reflect that. These days, I'm writing much shorter sentences. I find that a fair amount of people want very simple reading. Anything else and there are complaints about slow pacing. For me, as long as the story is intersting and the writer is good, I'll take a mixture of sentence lengths.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      You're so right about many people wanting simple reading. Life is fast-paced and hectic, so lots of readers look for a story with simple sentence structures, as a form of relaxation.

  27. AJ Lauer (@ayjaylauer) on June 5, 2014 at 2:44 am

    I think I have a Goldilocks thing going on with sentences. I don't like the really short ones, especially when they're used with frequency. I also find super-long sentences to be tiresome. Medium-length sentences are juuuuuust right! Of course they all should be combined to have the best effect 🙂

    I have become more enamored of the short paragraph though. Especially when writing action scenes, short paragraphs keep things moving.

    Happy IWSG Wednesday!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      The Goldilocks Syndrome? A nice way to think about varying sentence lengths…   🙂

  28. Leslie S. Rose on June 5, 2014 at 3:58 am

    I am a sucker for a well crafted long sentence, but love the percussive beats of the super short ones too.

  29. Lexa Cain on June 5, 2014 at 5:06 am

    I never write long lines as I hope people are reading quickly. But I vary line length from very short (fragments) to short to medium. Like para length, variation is important. Great post, Michelle!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Line length, sentence length and paragraph length should be looked at as a whole, because they are intertwined. There is the overall picture to consider. Good point!

  30. Holli on June 5, 2014 at 5:10 am

    I really vary the length, but it depends on what I'm writing. Action sequences and high drama call for short, quick sentences. Otherwise, I go with what feels natural and don't think about it too much.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      I suppose the natural and spontaneous sentences that emerge whilst writing are normally the ones that "feel" right most of the time?

  31. Shannon Lawrence on June 5, 2014 at 5:47 am

    That's interesting. I'm not sure. I think I switch them up, but tend toward the long, with shorter sentences when I want punch or emphasis. Now I need to pay attention.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      You can always check during your edits… don't concentrate on it too much while you're writing the first draft.

  32. Hilary on June 5, 2014 at 8:32 am

    HI Michelle .. interesting – I know I write more easily if I'm writing for myself and it's personal to a degree; however my blog posts are long, but I break the paragraphs up and add in photos to engage readers' attention.

    I did write one normal article recently and it wasn't very good and thankfully someone amended it for me .. I've got used to my blogging voice!

    But I too will bear this post in mind .. cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Your blogging voice is very distinct, Hilary! If I read an article of yours in a publication (without a name credit), I'd know it was you right away.

      • Hilary on June 10, 2014 at 7:05 am

        Crumbs! is it that distinct … well I guess that's a good thing in the scheme of blogging life and I hope book life … thanks .. H

  33. tara tyler on June 5, 2014 at 10:18 am

    shorter sentences have periods, longer ones have commas… as long as they're good, the length shouldn't matter. love the quote! and your examples =) and writers have to keep up with the times – or set the times! good is good!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Writers are trendsetters! More and more it seems like they're taking charge…. 🙂

  34. SittieCates on June 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Hi, Michelle! Interesting post.

    A good mix of short and long sentences works for me.

  35. melanie schulz on June 5, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I tend to vary from the very short one to two word sentences to the mind-lenght. I've never been a fan of, or a writer of, long flowery sentences; except for Jane Austen. She can get away with it.

  36. Lori L MacLaughlin on June 5, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Very interesting post. I like sentences of all lengths and vary them depending on what is going on in the scene when I write — shorter for bursts of action and longer for description and slower moments. Gary Provost's paragraphs are great examples of the music and rhythm of the written word. Thanks for sharing them!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      A variation of short/medium/long is a good way to go, also bearing in mind the details of the actual scene. Yep.

  37. Susan Gourley on June 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I always pay attention to varying sentence length but I found the stats about sentence length and a reader's ability to understand very interesting. Now I'll pay more attention.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      The stats are interesting. If I have time, I'd like to delve into them a little more…

  38. Mary Aalgaard on June 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    I love that quote so much! I have been told that my writing can be lyrcial. I hope that is because of my word choice and sentence length. Yes, there is a cadence to language. I do prefer the short and snappy. I'm thinking with the use of criptic text messages, today's youth get lost after three characters. 

  39. Michelle Wallace on June 5, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Frightening thought, Mary. As language evolves, I wonder what the future holds for the sentence. If we're already down to sms style, then what next? Maybe a reversal? Back to the days of Jane-Austen-styled sentences?

  40. VR Barkowski on June 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I use sentences of all lengths. Targeted scenes, action scenes for example, may demand shorter sentences, but straight narrative calls for variation to create an appealing rhythm. As a reader, I don't want to be told a story but to be drawn into the tale. That requires that prose flow. Flow can only be achieved by varying sentence length and structure.

    <a href="http://vrbarkowski.wordpress.com">VR Barkowski</a>

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

      Yes, I agree that the way to suck a reader into a story so that he's "in the moment", is via rhythm/pacing, which is dictated to by sentence length/structure.

  41. joylene on June 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Excellent points. Another reason I'm a huge advocate for reading aloud. If the ears bark, then the sentence needs turning. Haha, Barking Ears, Joylene, really?

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      I love your "barking ears" concept! 🙂 Makes perfect sense! Yes, REALLY.

  42. Patricia Lynne on June 5, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    I think I go for short and snappy, and am more apt to use incomplete sentences than run ons.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Incomplete sentences are wonderful for building atmosphere. I'm also guilty of using them (maybe a bit too much…) 🙂

  43. LuAnn Braley on June 5, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    When I wrote for classes, I made long sentences filled with as much, well, you know, as I could. It worked.  Now that I am in the 'real world', I try to keep things varied.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      When I free write, then I tend to write long sentences, so as not to break the continuity…

  44. Damyanti on June 6, 2014 at 1:25 am

    I never pay much attention to sentence lengths, only to the sound of what I write. I think is a very good thing for telling me when to cut sentences short, when to lengthen them. Good advice here, Michelle.

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      The "music in fiction" is very real. Your writing is beautiful, so what you're doing works well for you. Thanks Damyanti!

  45. Tyrean on June 6, 2014 at 2:37 am

    In revision, I try for different lengths. However, this sentence structure right here right now: this is what I get stuck in while blogging, drafting, etc. I like little sections with a short break. I don't know why. I feel conversational with commas. This leads to some ill-placed commas and bad habits. Sigh. Oh well. I like learning and growing and I have lots of room to grow, right?

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Yes, we all have room to grow. I love learning new things. And we all have our "bad habits" too. You're in good company. LOL

  46. Julie K Pick on June 6, 2014 at 7:29 am

    It's all about the rhythm, baby! That's why I also enjoy poetry. It's also why you are the Queen of Five Sentence Fiction. I'm sure it's second nature to you as a performer. You've really struck a chord here with so many great comments!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      All about the rhythm. Yeah, baby, yeah! *humming a tune*

      Now you've got me thinking of Gloria Estefan's catchy, Latino beats in the 80's song "Rhythm is Gonna Get You!"

      … struck a chord… ha! love the play on words, Julie!

  47. Misha on June 6, 2014 at 7:30 am

    I try to keep my sentences between one and twenty words in length. Longer than that and I find it's difficult to keep track of what's being said. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      … and you wouldn't want to confuse the reader now, would you? 🙂

  48. Michael Di Gesu on June 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Hi, Michelle…

     

    How are you? I like this post… I find with my writing I try for a balance. When I want the story to move quickly and add tension, I'll use a shorter sentence. If I want emotion or atmosphere I'll beef it up. As for word count, somewhere from fifteen to twenty.

    Have a nice weekend!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Hey Michael! I'm good thank you!

      Your writing flows, so I think you're close to mastering the short/medium/long sentence variation technique. I don't think it's something that can be learned, in the sense that it can't be a conscious decision while you are writing. It comes with practise, from somewhere deep inside, when a write "get's into the zone". But I could be wrong.

  49. Chrys Fey on June 6, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    That's very interesting! I use short to medium length sentences more in my writing because I write a lot of action, and short sentences is better for action scenes. But every now and then longer ones do make it in there. I always make sure they are easy to follow and understand, though. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      I think most writers tend to use the short sentences for action scenes. It moves the story along at the correct pace.

  50. Gary on June 6, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    Are you into irony?  Wonder why it has taken me so long to get to your blog?  Okay, so many are doing that clique thing "I Was Seeking Gary", that it has taken me two days to get here 🙂

    That Gary writes like me.  Yay to that.  I'm a huge fan of grammar anarchy.  Bet that surprises you to the point of shocked wonder and speaking of wonder and no commas you might notice that I now overuse the conjunction word "and" and with that and for no obvious reason this sentence without commas will abruptly end!

    Thank you for being part of that amazing "I Was Seeking Gary" dedication post.

    Have a lovely weekend, Michelle.

    Gary 🙂 

     

     

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks for the laughs! 🙂 You need a new title: Sir Grammar Anarchy! LOL

  51. Mel Kinnel (@TizMellyMel) on June 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    What an insighful post! I tend to mix it up a bit. If I find that a sentence is too long, I'll find a way to rewrite/edit it. I do delight in the shorter and snappier though. 

  52. Al Diaz on June 7, 2014 at 3:59 am

    I used to write very long sentences. I actually wrote in English the same way I wrote in Spanish but eventually I learned this is not the best way to go. Now I think it depends on my mood, haha. Not the best way to go either. 

    • Michelle Wallace on June 7, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      As long as you're writing, and you're content with what you're writing, Al. That's the most important part. Whether it's dictated to by mood or sentence length… you still created something! The creativity is the main thing, right?

  53. Beverly (@Bevimus) on June 9, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    I do tend to be way to verbose, as a general rule.  So I try really hard to create shorter sentences- especially with the mico-fiction.  Because even with my best efforts my sentences tend to be very long, so if I can get short I do.  That Len Wein quote should be pasted across the top of my computer screen.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post, and for your support!!!

    • Michelle Wallace on June 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      I'm looking forward to reading about your butt-kicking black-belted heroine… one day… all in good time… 🙂

  54. Anna Nordeman of Adornments for Dreams on June 11, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Good question, about the number of words that I use in my writing; the lengths of sentences. Sometimes I write very long and complicated sentences with many dependent clauses and adverbial phrases and much digression. Other times, short fragments. Sentences without verbs.

    But at the moment, I need to get a paper written for school, and all my creative writing is on hold.

    Thanks for asking.

    Best wishes,

    Anna

  55. J.Q. Rose on June 12, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    We just had this discussion about sentence length at the Writers Chatroom last night. While we felt a mix keeps the writing more interesting,  I think we all agreed different genres demand different lengths of sentences. .Most writers thought romance allows longer, fluid sentences. Thrillers are enhanced by short sentences to generate the suspense and action. Really enjoyed the discussion here. I was btought up short when you mentioned people have shorter attention spans now. I've heard that before. Why? Because we have such busy lives, no time to sit and think? Are we dumbing down? Guess I'll have to google that! 

  56. Michelle Wallace on June 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    I think the short attention span is influenced by the instant gratification lifestyle that we live. Instant gratification has permeated all layers of society. It's now the primary way of life. We now gratify many of our needs with just an internet enabled device, e.g. one-click ordering via Amazon. It's become a world that's moving quickly, a world of rapid change and quick fixes – so it demands an ability to be able to switch focus from this to that… on and off… hence the shorter attention span. It's almost as if technology has "taken away" the luxury of the long attention span. And yes, I suspect we are "dumbing down"…

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