Does Word Length Affect Word Count?

The length, by definition, refers to the measurement of a thing from one end to other. Thus, word length refers to the number of characters making a word. A word may be of a few characters to a more sophisticated word made up of many characters. Let us look at the difference between long and short words.

Short Word versus Long Word

Winston Churchill said that short words are the best, and old words, when short are the best of all. This saying could lead to the following conclusions that:

  • Short words are easier to read and able to understand the message communicated. Although long words are exact and specific, understanding their meaning may not be clear. The clarity in short words attracts more readers or audiences of different education levels.

  • Writing fewer character words than a long word takes time and extra effort to create a good article. Articles written in long, complex expressions may take less time to generate content if characters are considered. But may not communicate the intended message.

  • Reading long, complicated words leads the reader to read slowly, and more so if unfamiliar, the reader pauses to think about the meaning of the word used.

  • Writing speed is usually measured by the number of words written per minute. These words are of different lengths. Writing using long words may affect typing speed; thus, typing should consider the number of characters written per minute.

Use of Shorter Words

As stated above use of shorter words may in article writing be beneficial to the writer in several ways:

  • When writing, there is a target number of words to be met. The word count counts the number of words in the article irrespective of their word length. By using few character words, the target number of the word is met more quickly.

  • Short precise words communicate the intended message; thus, the article meets the audience's level of understanding. For example, the reader may get the details and usage of a particular product more easily.

  • Typing speed may be a tall order task for word length is not defined while counting. By using the word count and writing in short words, the writer's typing speed improves instead of the use of long words.


Word length sometimes determines the sentence length for meaningful communication. Word length and sentence length are some of the indicators to measure readability. The more characters a word has, the longer the time it takes to read the word and, consequently, the sentence length.

On the other hand, the word count target may be met in an article without communicating the intended message. This could result from using more words to pass a message that could have used few long words to communicate. After meeting the strict word count target, the remaining information is not put into writing. Thus, there are gaps left unfilled by the article, and the reader does not reap the benefits of the article.

When thinking of writing, we can conclude that word length is needed to balance between meeting the word count and relaying the intended message.