7 Ways to Screw Up a Sentence

I am the last person who should be offering advice on spelling and grammar.

So I won’t.

Instead I want to share a principle with you from Ann Handley. Ann is an old school digital marketer who’s written a couple of best selling books.

In her book “Everybody Writes” she points out one of the cardinal sins most writers make. They front load their sentences with stuff that doesn’t move the reader forward.

Take these two sentences for example:


Both sentences relayed the exact same information. But the second sentence got to the point faster. It presented the most important information first rather than front loading the reader with extraneous information that isn’t valuable without context.

Ann lists 7 phrases to avoid when starting a sentence.

  1. According to…
  2. There is a…
  3. It is [important, critical, advised, suggested, etc.]…
  4. In my opinion…
  5. The purpose of this [email, letter, post, article]…
  6. In 2020 [or any year]…
  7. I think [believe] that…

Each of these sentence starters distracts the reader and elongates the time it takes to get to the meat of your communication.

I check for these kinds of mistakes after I’m done writing so I can stay in creativity mode while I write.

Give it a shot. I think you’ll like the way your voice sounds on paper.

Talk soon,


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