“Place the emphatic word in a sentence at the end, period.”

Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute says this to Mignon Fogerty aka Grammar Girl about emphatic word order. He explains with examples from Shakespeare to Michelle Obama how this one trick dramatically increases the impact of a sentence. 

Shakespeare didn’t write in Macbeth, “The Queen is dead, my Lord.” He wrote, “The Queen, my lord, is dead.” 

As a writer, who is obsessed with the act of writing, I’ve heard all kinds of advice. But this one was new. Revelatory. I find myself tempted to read everything I’ve ever written and re-write them all. 

For an excellent way to spend 34 minutes, listen to this episode on the Grammar Girl podcast. It has more tips on writing well, writing short, writing clearly and writing for social media. If you’re not the podcast type, the transcript is here.

For a regular dose of interesting stuff about the English language, I strongly recommend the Grammar Girl podcast