Make Your Last Words Count

No, I’m not talking about your dying words, I’m talking about the last words in a sentence, paragraph, or piece of writing. Your last (and first) words carry the most weight, but they so often trail off into “etc.,” “and so on,” or “for customers.” Here’s an example from a randomly chosen digital ad company’s About page:

It’s the one thing that every advertiser, publisher, and agency in our industry is seeking: Audiences. They want to know where they are. How they think. What they buy. And most of all, how to reach them.

Read it aloud to yourself, and you’ll hear that “them” is pretty anticlimactic ending.

To demonstrate this further, I looked at the most popular Bible verse on BibleGateway.com:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

“Life” is a pretty powerful word to linger there at the end. The next four most popular verses end in: Future, Purpose, Strength, and Earth — all great, emphatic words. By contrast, here’s the last sentence of the popular Book of Jonah:

And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

That’s it. That’s how that exciting sentence, and the whole exciting book, ends—with “also much cattle.” No wonder you don’t hear that Bible quote very often.

Using great last words is one of the easiest and most powerful ways to improve your writing. It’s most important in marketing-type materials, but it will help you seem more eloquent and competent in your business writing too.

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