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SAVE YOUR "WAKE-UP" WORDS FOR LAST

Simple and direct is the reliable go-to sentence structure of English, but if you edit closely and notice that certain words in a sentence create important emphasis, rearrange the order to position those words at the end. The technique is consistent with the “final position theory” in linguistics, which says you gain greater emphasis by placing significant words at the end of sentences or paragraphs. 

You can’t do it with every sentence, only with those that contain words or details that have power or imagery and will focus the reader’s attention. Those words, in essence, deliver a “wake up” jolt to the brain, a natural reaction that stems from Neanderthal days when the brain learned to respond to signs of danger. See it in this example, from an opening sentence in a Wall Street Journal story: “With little time remaining on their vacation, Marley and Tom Burrows decided to take their grandson Zack to America’s newest tourist attraction: an enormous pile of radioactive waste!” Surely, the last two words would raise the reader’s eyebrows and will most probably pull them into the next paragraph, because the words have an impact. They are unusual, and they stir curiosity.

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