Denny’s Daily Zinger: Skip a Line Between Paragraphs

The five most important words in “Write Everything Right!” are:
“Avoid gray walls of type.” —David Ogilvy.

This hits me in the snoot every time I read The New York Times.

See Illustration No. 1 in the media player at right—301 words in a long column of solid type—gray wall—with no break in the monotony of words, words, words.

This tough slog for the reader is made all the more nasty by the 8.7- point Imperial type.

“Type smaller than 9-point is difficult for most people to read.” —David Ogilvy

In short, The New York Times’ most successful business is turning off readers.

Communications coins of the realm today are 140-character tweets and 160-character texts—bite-sized chunks of prose pretty much everybody can get their brains around.

All writing should reflect that.

Takeaways to Consider

  • “Short words. Short sentences. Short paragraphs.” —Andrew J. Byrne
  • Skip a line between paragraphs in everything you write, except books.
  • Check out Illustration No. 2 in the media player—the most successful advertisement in the history of the world. You’ll find a space between every paragraph.
  • Check out “The Greatest Sales Letters of All Time
  • Every letter has skipped lines between paragraphs.
  • Why read sales letters? Any time you put words on paper (or a digital screen) for somebody else to read, you, too, are selling. You are selling the reader on continuing on to the next word, next sentence, next paragraph and next page, all the way to the end.

Denny Hatch’s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Pat Friesen writes, “This book is guaranteed to help you fine-tune your writing skills, whatever you write. Denny’s wit and craftsmanship as an experienced writer/author shine through on every page.” Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

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  • Michele

    Denny – I have downloaded Adobe Flash Player 3 or 4 times over the last several months in thwarted attempts to actually see the graphics that accompany your excellent articles. I give up. It NEVER works. Call me a Luddite, but can’t you just post a dang picture or something? Love your articles but the graphic interface through Adobe sucks.