How to write a good sentence

Some years ago, I sent off a manuscript to an editor. After the usual period of review, the editor sent back a note saying that he liked the work, but suggested that I should make it “less
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Some years ago, I sent off a manuscript to an editor. After the usual period of review, the editor sent back a note saying that he liked the work, but suggested that I should make it “less academic.” I reworked a number of things and sent back a revised version with more examples and a lighter tone. A week later, I got a short email back saying “No really, make it less academic.” I asked for some advice and he explained that I should have no paragraphs longer than a page, and no sentences longer than a paragraph. That helped me a lot, and it also got me to thinking more about what it takes to write a good, sometimes even a great, sentence. How concise should it be? How should you introduce a topic? When is it okay to use the passive voice? I decide to look at some actual prose to see how other writers manage their sentences. Here’s a nice 41-word sentence from the introduction to Jeanne Fahnestock’s Rhetorical Style: The Uses of Language in Persuasion. In 1984, an archivist for the. . .

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News source: Linguistics – OUPblog

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